Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is not a fan of college basketball.
Cuban told ESPN’s Tim McMahon that the college game is too slow, poorly managed by referees, and “uglier than ugly.”
One of Cuban’s biggest gripes was the style of play. The 35-second college shot clock is 11 seconds longer than the NBA’s, and while pace has increased each year in the NBA, the college game focuses more on defence and a half-court offence.
“If they want to keep kids in school and keep them from being pro players, they’re doing it the exact right way by having the 35-second shot clock and having the game look and officiated the way it is. Just because kids don’t know how to play a full game of basketball.
“You’ve got three kids passing on the perimeter. With 10 seconds on the shot clock, they try to make something happen and two other kids stand around. They don’t look for anything and then run back on defence, so there’s no transition game because two out of five or three out of five or in some cases four out of five kids aren’t involved in the play.”
Cuban also said the product on the court is clearly hurt, noting that scoring was down during the 2014-15 season.
Eddie Pells of the Associated Press noted that college teams averaged 67.6 points per game, the second lowest mark since the pre-shot-clock era in the early 1950s. Pells also reported that attendance at Division 1 college games has fallen for seven straight years, with ESPN seeing a decrease in telecast ratings.
Cuban also ripped college referees, saying they “couldn’t manage a White Castle.”
He told McMahon, “Seriously, the college game is more physical than the NBA game, and the variation in how it’s called from game to game [is a problem].”
In the NCAA Tournament title game, the head of officiating said the referees never got to see a replay angle on a critical call late in the game.
Cuban’s thoughts are part of a growing chorus saying similar things about the college game. In January college basketball announcer Jay Bilas said, “I will fight for college basketball until the death. But sitting by and watching this ship sink is not good enough. Who could defend what we’re seeing right now?”
Cuban added, “It’s horrible. It’s ridiculous. It’s worse than high school. You’ve got 20 to 25 seconds of passing on the perimeter and then somebody goes and tries to make a play and do something stupid, and scoring’s gone down.”
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