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Basketball players put to test with rule change

November 6, 2013
	<p>Senior guard Keith Appling guards Grand Valley State guard Rob Woodson on Oct. 29, 2013, at Breslin Center. <span class="caps">MSU</span> defeated the Lakers, 101-52. Julia Nagy/The State News</p>

Senior guard Keith Appling guards Grand Valley State guard Rob Woodson on Oct. 29, 2013, at Breslin Center. MSU defeated the Lakers, 101-52. Julia Nagy/The State News

Photo by Julia Nagy | The State News

The regular season has yet to start, but recent rule changes by the NCAA for basketball already have been affecting both men’s and women’s teams at MSU and across the country.

For both the men and women, the NCAA implemented rules which prohibits the following: keeping a hand or forearm on an opponent, putting two hands on an opponent, continually jabbing by placing a hand or forearm on an opponent or using an arm bar to impede the progress of the dribbler.

These changes have made it tougher for defenders guarding the ballcarrier and has forced players and coaches to change their strategies during games as it eliminates hand-checking.

“(I) use my body a little bit, use my hands, but now with the rules, I gotta play a little smarter and beat guys to the spot,” senior point guard Keith Appling said. “It’s something you have to keep in the back of your mind each and every possession, or you’ll foul out faster than you would’ve last year. I don’t think I’m used to it, but I feel like I’m adjusting pretty well.”

Both head coaches of the men and women’s teams, Tom Izzo and Suzy Merchant, have said with the new rules they have talked to coaches across the country about their problems, as well as brought college referees into the teams’ practices to help with the transition.

Merchant said after the women’s final preseason game against Grand Valley State, she talked to Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp recently about the rule change. Purdue had a closed scrimmage against Indiana State with referees present, and Versyp told Merchant 30 fouls were called on each team during the scrimmage.

Merchant said every day in practice, her team does warm-up drills to help decrease the fouls.

“(The referees are) doing their job, that’s what the rule is, you touch the driver, somebody with the ball more than one time especially with a forearm once they put (the ball) on the floor, it’s going to be a foul,” Merchant said. “We gotta do a better job with moving with our feet a little bit.”

For the men’s side, the NCAA also adapted another rule for the upcoming season Izzo is a little more happier about.

According to the NCAA website regarding block and charge plays, “Defenders moving forward at the time of contact (even though the contact may occur in the defender’s torso) and the time frame when the defender must be in legal guarding position during airborne shooter situations. Now, when a player begins his upward motion to pass or shoot, the defender must be in legal guarding position.”

“I’m really in favor of the block charge (rule) because I felt people were just running under guys and falling down like bowling pins. And I didn’t like that,” Izzo said at the Big Ten media day in Rosemont, Ill., last week. “But if we want to make this into a complete non?physical game, you know I worry that is that going to be longer games, boring-er games; is it going to up scoring, are people going to play more zone? There’s always different things that go with each rule change.”

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