View Full Version : Billy Tubbs on low scores

02-16-2008, 09:03 AM
"Coaches are so interested in running plays that they pass up better shots in the first 25 seconds of the possession than they take in the last 10 seconds of the possession.

From The Oklahoman
Tubbs says today's low-scoring games are a real yawner

By Scott Wright
Staff Writer
If scoring gets much lower in college basketball, Billy Tubbs believes the Food and Drug Administration will have to get involved.

"They're going to have to put warnings on these games,” the former Oklahoma coach said. "Warning: Watching this game could make you drowsy.”

The days of Billy Ball — which regularly produced 100-point games — are mostly a thing of the past. And not just at Oklahoma but all across the country.

Scoring jumped immediately after the addition of the 3-point line in 1986, but it has been in a downward trend over the last 17 years, falling nearly seven points per game since 1991.

When Texas Tech hosts Oklahoma at 3 p.m. today in Lubbock, Texas, the game will feature two teams that, on average, score fewer than 71 points per game and allow fewer than 66. Their last meeting was a 63-61 OU victory in Norman.

And similar scores are being posted nightly throughout college basketball. Games like that are becoming hard to watch for the old run-n-gun coaches of the 1980s and ‘90s.

"If you can't score 60 points in a basketball game, you ought to quit,” Tubbs said. "Who wants to see it? There are games that get down to the last three minutes, and they're exciting, but they're boring as hell for the first 47 minutes.”

Even the teams that try to run the floor today don't produce points the way Tubbs did at Oklahoma — or Jerry Tarkanian at UNLV or Nolan Richardson at Arkansas. The biggest difference is that the current teams are using defense to get the ball back and set up their offense, where the teams of the past used defense to get easy points.

It's the difference between scoring with jump shots and scoring with layups.

"It looks like there are teams trying to play faster, but playing faster doesn't necessarily equate into points,” Richardson said. "The reason our game was different was that a lot of our points came off defense. I don't see teams playing in that fashion.”

In the Big 12 Conference, only three teams average more than 80 points per game, and two are allowing more than 70.

"The biggest fallacy of all is that a team that scores 50 points is playing great defense,” Tarkanian said. "They just don't shoot the ball. That doesn't mean they play defense.

"Nobody played better defense than we played. We played the best defense in the country.”

Teams that play the up-tempo style are still around, but they're not putting up the gaudy numbers from game to game that OU, UNLV and Arkansas did.

"Duke plays closer to the way we played than any team in the country,” Tarkanian said. "(Coach Mike) Krzyzewski has always done that a little bit, but he's doing it a little more now.”

Memphis, Tennessee, North Carolina and Kansas are a few others.

"But those are teams that think they can win, and they don't have to hold the ball to win,” Tubbs said. "Everybody else thinks they have to hold the ball to win.”

And that's the biggest cause for falling scores.

"The majority of coaches right now are defensive-minded in the fact that they're holding the ball longer for shots,” said Tubbs, whose 1989 team was held below 80 points just three times in 36 games and averaged 102.2 points.

"Coaches are so interested in running plays that they pass up better shots in the first 25 seconds of the possession than they take in the last 10 seconds of the possession.

"You credit it to defense, but you're just seeing a lot more teams use clock.”

Today's game is built more around physical play inside, ball screens on the perimeter and set plays that can be slow in developing.

"I wanted the game to be a controlled riot,” Richardson said. "I had a friend who always said, ‘a raggedy ride is better than a smooth walk.'

"I want that raggedy ride.”

Billy Tubbs' three ways to fix college basketball
1. "Call fouls. Go back to what the game was all about. And I'm not blaming referees. The referees are calling the game the way most coaches want it to be called, which is a wrestling match. Start calling the rules of the game.”

2. "Why do we have the 35-second shot clock? Do we really need it? I don't think so. We have the longest shot clock in the game. The 35-second shot clock shows how conservative men's basketball is. Before long we'll be back to shooting the two-handed jump shot.”

3. "Bring in a lot of new coaches. Coaches don't want to play pure basketball anymore.”

Former Tulsa coach Nolan Richardson said he wanted the game to be a "controlled riot” in reference to college basketball's now troublesome low-scoring games. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Jerry Tarkanian says Mike Krzyzewski and Duke's style is the closest to his old UNLV teams. Associated Press