The furor over the changes in the way college basketball officials call games has died down as this season has progressed. It’s hard to forget the UD fan needling the officiating crew for calling 70 fouls in an exhibition game against Findlay on Nov. 2. Fortunately, no game since has turned into quite such a free-throw parade.
The Flyers are shooting 23.7 free throws per game and making 16.2. A year ago, before the NCAA told officials to call more hand-check fouls and adjusted the way the charge-block call is made, the Flyers shot 21.2 free throws per game and made 15.2. The Flyers average 20 personal fouls per game. Last year, they averaged 19.
Before the season, coaches were torn on the new rule, and some teams struggled to adjust. Time has lessened the impact of the changes.
“It’s pretty normal,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said Monday. “If anything, there’s a bit more free-throw attempts that go on. I think the calls are pretty obvious to players and coaches on the hand-check. With the body contact in the paint, in the restricted area, with the charge-block call, I don’t think anyone has any idea what they’re going to call.
“I would say the thing that’s been the most disappointing is the inconsistency. It’s difficult game to game to understand what’s the same, what’s not. It’s probably impossible for the referees as well.”
Unbeaten Billikens: No team has gone 16-0 in Atlantic 10 play since George Washington in 2006. Saint Louis (23-2 overall) has a chance to do it this season. It’s 10-0 in the conference after beating Virginia Commonwealth 64-62 Saturday for its 17th straight win. The Billikens climbed to 10th in the Associated Press poll Monday.
Saint Louis plays four of the top seven teams in the standings in the final six games, including the Flyers on March 5 in Saint Louis.
“I’m in awe of how (Saint Louis) has done it because they do it the same way every night,” Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli said. “They just build on their defense and just incredible toughness. I’ve been interested to see some of these national blogs all of a sudden saying they’re the most under-appreciated team in the country. Not to pat myself on the back, but I think I said that three weeks ago.”
Explorers visit: Dayton (17-8, 5-5) hosts La Salle (12-12, 4-6) at 9 p.m. Wednesday. Explorers coach John Giannini said he didn’t see enough film on Dayton during its four-game losing streak in January to explain why the Flyers are playing so much better now.
“They were good before that streak,” he said. “There were good after that streak. People always wonder what was different in this stretch or even during the course of the game. Why did they go on a 10-point run? What happened in the second half when we took the lead? Seasons and games are variable. Very few people are consistent throughout.”
RPI update: Despite a victory last week over Rhode Island, the Flyers dropped one spot in the RPI this week to 59th. There are six A-10 teams ahead of UD in the RPI, and the Flyers play four of them in the weeks ahead: Saint Louis (11), Massachusetts (19), Richmond (39) and Saint Joseph’s (43).
The other A-10 teams in the top 100 are: Virginia Commonwealth (23), Saint Bonaventure (73) and La Salle (96).
La Salle at Dayton, 9 p.m. Wednesday, CBS Sports Network, 1290, 95.7