In the short term, of course, it could make the game almost torturous to watch. That's not because it is intended to, but because there will no doubt be a period of adjustment. The game has for years become more physical and to think that it will automatically become less so because of a rule change is naïve. Many players have spent a lifetime perfecting - and coaches coaching them - the very techniques that are now outlawed. When they revert to those techniques as a matter of habit, it will mean more fouls, perhaps a lot more.
"The games will be ugly early,'' said Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger. "Everyone will be unhappy about it. But hopefully they can sustain it and call it the way they're projecting. It will be a huge adjustment.
"We were talking about it coming up this morning. It's as big an adjustment for the game as we've seen, and that includes the [shot] clock, the 3-point line. It's going to have a huge impact on the game.''
It's already had a huge impact on the NBA.
"The NBA went through this cycle back in the year 1999-2000,'' Shaw said. "Their scoring had gone from the 120 points a game to 100 points a game to 80 points a game. That's when they realized they had let it get too physical.''
Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg knows all about that. He played in the NBA during that time.
"I went through it in the NBA as a player where you could hand check guys and then it went to an arm bar rule and you couldn't touch anybody,'' said Hoiberg, who played from 1996 to 2005 with Indiana, Chicago and Minnesota. "It was pretty ugly at first. I remember some of the games would take over three hours just because of all the fouls that were called.
"But eventually the players adjust to it and the officials will adjust to it.''
The idea is to make the game more ballet than brawl and to increase scoring. A scoring increase could be immediate, not because of more offensive freedom but because of more free throws. That's contrary to the motive, of course, but the hope is that it's a short-term issue until players adjust to the style.
"One of the unintended consequences early may be more fouls,'' Shaw said. "But we have the greatest athletes we've ever had in college basketball. We've got the smartest coaches we've ever had in college basketball. And they'll adjust.
"It's just a matter of getting used to what the new situations are and breaking some bad habits because our kids have played so long doing certain things."
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.