Kentucky Basketball: Are Charging Calls Up This Year?

According to this article in the Herald-Leader, Kentucky has been called 39 times for charging so far this year:

So far this season, Kentucky has drawn only nine charging calls while being whistled for 39 charges. At Tennessee last weekend, UK charged five times (three by point guard Marquis Teague).


Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/01/16/2031282/uk-notes-calipari-bemoans-referees.html#storylink=cpy

Most of us have lamented that it seems like the officials are calling more questionable charging calls with the new "restricted arc" in place. Some have even suggested that the officials are using that arc as a crutch to judge a call -- outside the arc, charge, inside, block.

I don't know about all that, but that number above indicates that Kentucky is being called for over two charges per game. That seems like a lot to me. I'm not suggesting that Kentucky is being victimized here, necessarily, but more wondering if the charge/block call is going disproportionately toward the charge this year, and if so, is the new line the reason?

Look, I totally get that officiating is an impossibly difficult and thankless job, and I have been very easy on the officials for most of the year (the last game notwithstanding). What I am really doing is wondering if this tendency can be evaluated across all of college basketball. I'd like to be able to sit and review every single play, but given the nature of the game and number of teams, that's beyond my ability.

But if somebody knows where I can find a ready-made charging statistic per team per game, I'd love to know where. i don't mind massaging data, but creating a dataset out of game play-by-plays is just too daunting a task. You can do that to some degree, though. Since charges are also scored as turnovers, the play-by-play listing has a personal foul and a turnover listed back-to-back with the same timestamp. Of course, it doesn't differentiate between a charge, and, say, a hook. It also doesn't tell you where the charge took place, i.e. out on the floor or in transition at the hoop.

All I know is, I have seen a lot of charges called this year that did not contain two characteristics I always understood to be necessary:

  1. Feet set at the time of contact, and;
  2. Feet set before the offensive player leaves the ground, i.e. the defensive player must leave the offensive player room to come down.

These two principles would seem to be established in the rules, section 35: Guarding:

Art. 4. To establish an initial legal guarding position on the player with the ball:
a. The guard shall have both feet touching the playing court. When the guard jumps into position initially, both feet must return to the playing court after the jump, for the guard to attain a guarding position.
b. The guard’s torso shall face the opponent.
c. No time and distance shall be required.
d. When the opponent with the ball is airborne, the guard shall have attained legal position before the opponent left the playing court. Exception: (Men) Rule 4-35.7

The exception is the "under the basket" rule, and doesn't really impact the offensive player, but forbids the establishment of initial guarding position under the basket.

Back when I played, you had to satisfy both conditions. These days, the game has either become too fast for proper officiating, or they simply ignore the part about a defender being airborne, or having both feet set.

Anyway, it's easy to get these calls substantially right with the benefit of instant replay and much harder during live action, so perhaps this is all due to the speed of the game. I don't know.

All I know is that there seem to be a lot of charges these days. What do you think?

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