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NCAA Basketball: Rule Changes to Remember in 2014-2015

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If you know these, you're a better ref than Karl Hess. (If you don't know these, you're still a better ref than Karl Hess.)

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the 2013-2014 season, the NCAA enacted two changes that had major effects on gameplay. First, they noted a new point of emphasis on cutting down on hand-checking by increasing enforcement of the foul.  The other change modified the charge rule - defenders required to be in legal guarding position when the shooter "began his upwards motion."  The net of these changes was to benefit the offense, as more defensive fouls were called and scoring increased.

Though this is designated a "non-rule change year," as last year's adjustments were to last two years, the Rules Committee has announced changes that will affect the 2014-2015 season:

Block/Charge Rule:

The first thing they did, just as we got used to the new block/charge rule, is reverse last year's block/charge rule change. Once again, the defender has until the shooter leave the floor to gain legal guarding position.

Though last year's change was generally well-received , the committee felt that the law introduced too much uncertainty into officiating. "Begins his shooting motion" is a someone subjective term, while determining when a player leaves the ground is an easier task.  Look out for Duke to take advantage and return to their even more free-flopping ways.

Shot Clock Monitor Review Clarification:

The officials can go to the monitor during the last two minutes of regulation and overtime only to determine whether a shooter released the ball before the shot clock expired. Reviews can be initiated after a made basket or after a missed basket when the offense maintains possession, but not after a missed basket if the defense rebounds the ball anyways.

Point of emphasis: Post defense

There's no rule change here, but just as last season's hand-checking "point of emphasis" impacted how defenses play, there could be effects on gameplay because of the increased officiating focus. Refs will note that:

  • A defensive player pushing a leg or knee into the rear of the offensive player shall be a personal foul on the defender;
  • An offensive player dislodging a defensive player from an established position by pushing or backing in shall be a personal foul on the offensive player;
  • A player using the "swim stroke" arm movement to lower the arm of an opponent shall be charged with a personal foul;
  • Post players using hands, forearms or elbows to prevent an opponent from maintaining a legal position shall be charged with a personal foul.

The net effect on UVA from these rule tweaks should be small.  Conventional wisdom dictates that points of emphasis that limit aggressive defense would hurt teams like Virginia; however, Tony Bennett's teams have shown the ability to adjust, as last year's squad did not appear to be negatively affected by the hand-checking law.