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Jay Bilas Not Happy With The State Of College Basketball

Jay Bilas speaks at the espnW Women + Sports Summit.

NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 22: ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas speaks at the espnW Women + Sports Summit held at The Resort at Pelican Hill on October 22, 2019 in Newport Beach, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

If you watch the average college basketball game today and then compare it to the sport the NBA plays, you'd notice plenty of differences. ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas thinks that's a massive problem.

Today's college game has become a physical product. Defenders can get away with practically unlimited grabbing while opposing players cut and run out of screens. It's similar to how the NBA was played in the 90s, which of course is one of the more respected eras in basketball history.

The issue Bilas sees is inferior defenders are getting away with physical contact on better and more athletic offensive players. This has led to lower-scoring games, which Bilas thinks is a problem.

“Yeah it’s gotten difficult,” Bilas said on the Paul Finebaum Show about officiating in college basketball, via On3. “What I would say, and Paul, I’m on the competition committee which used to be called the men’s basketball officiating committee. Jim Delany, the former commissioner of the Big Ten, started it maybe ten years ago and I’ve been on the committee ever since. So I’ve studied this. And it’s not about the officials, because overall I think the officials do a really good job. They’re pros. But we’ve had – probably about five years ago, we got to a point where scoring got to an all-time low.

“The game has become kind of like the NBA in the 90s, where it was a clutch and grab game, grabbing of cutters, your hands all over a ball handler. And you didn’t have to play basketball anymore. Not every defender is good enough or entitled to guard every offensive player. So if I’m guarding you and you’re a superior athlete and you blow by me, I can’t put my hands on you to impede you illegally. What my team would have to do is bring another defender to help, maybe you pass out of it. We rotate, and then you pass out of that. Or you bring a double team. Or you trap the ball and they pass out of it and rotate. That’s basketball.”

What this has led to, in Bilas' eyes, is coaches teaching players how to foul and get away with it. If officials won't call fouls for physical defense then why not implement that style of play?

Officiating could ramp up when March Madness rolls around, however. Refs tend to pay a bit more attention during the high-stakes games.

Do you agree with Jay Bilas that college basketball is in a bad spot in relation to physical defense?