Huggins talks NCAA rule changes

During Monday's Big 12 coaches teleconference, West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins voiced his concerns over the new rule changes instituted by the NCAA over the course of the last few weeks.

The one rule, in particular, that Huggins zeroed in on was the new rule moving the shot clock back to 30 seconds from 35, where it has been since the 1993-94 season. The change to 30 seconds will focus more on speeding the game up, but is something that West Virginia's head coach believes could hurt the quality of play on college basketball offenses.

"We have a great game. I don't know why we're doing what we're doing," Huggins said Monday. "The greatest coaches in the world really controlled the game with great offense. The more and more we reduce the shot clock, the more the best players are going to win.

"You can't run a real offense. It's going to come down to a quick hitter off a ball screen or spread everybody out. Everybody is tired of watching 40 free throws per game, but that's where it's going to end up at."

The switch to the new shot clock is something several coaches around college basketball have been vocal about - with some even wanting to time to drop down to 24 seconds to be consistent with the NBA and other levels of professional basketball. While that may be the case, Huggins does not agree with making the switch if the reason is simply to be closer to what the NBA, which also regularly gets better television ratings than the college game does, runs as its style of play.

"I'm puzzled with the infatuation with the NBA," Huggins said. "We continue to go in that direction and I think we have a better game. We have a game that is a lot more pleasing to the eyes. I don't understand why we continue to go in that direction. I thought our game was pretty good."

Huggins, whose West Virginia team is known for its physical defense that tries to force opponents to grind it out in order to find a good opportunity to score on the offensive end of the floor, doesn't believe the rule change will do much to help his team or force them to do things any differently than they did a year ago. While many teams will likely be switching to more zone defenses, Huggins still sees the Mountaineers continue to pressure the ball the way they do, and because that style was meant to speed themselves and their opponents up more in the first place, it likely won't have a huge impact.

"We needed to speed the game up and we needed to be able to score with numbers because we weren't a very good halfcourt team," he said. "If we did what we did a year ago, (the change) won't help us at all."

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