ATHENS — Tune into any college basketball game over the opening weekend and one thing was clear: there were plenty of whistles.
The NCAA made a major push in the offseason to have officials enforce rules more tightly this year. The goal is to improve scoring by increasing the freedom of movement and reducing physical play. It's working so far as points are up — and so are fouls.
"I think the officials are doing what they're supposed to do," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said after his fourth-ranked Blue Devils lost to No. 5 Kansas 94-83 Tuesday night. "Everyone just has to keep adjusting. Too much is being said about it. Start playing the way we're supposed to play. We had three great guys, guys who are big-time officials. I thought they reffed a terrific game and we have to adjust. That's the way it is."
Both men's and women's games averaged nearly an identical 42 fouls a game in the first few days according to STATS. That's seven more than last season for the men and 10 for the women.
"When they're going to call fouls, you've got to be able to play without fouling," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "They're going to call fouls. It's going to be that way. Every game I watched today and last night they're calling these fouls. We have to adjust to it."
The ninth-ranked Orange and Fordham combined for 55 fouls and 72 free throws on Tuesday night.
"The way they're calling the game, if you get to the basket with the ball there's a 90 percent chance there's going to be a foul called," Boeheim said. "I think they're overreacting a little bit. Now, almost virtually any contact is a foul. I think it'll take awhile for everybody to get used to the rules and the calls — the referees as well as the players."