ICC Assistant Coach Mike Cyprien (left) and head coach Tony Turner try to figure out if they can be called for hand-checking too.
ICC Assistant Coach Mike Cyprien (left) and head coach Tony Turner try to figure out if they can be called for hand-checking too.

Whatever happened last night in the second half of ICC' s match-up with CCC at Nellis Hall was not basketball.

I'm not saying that the teams on the court didn't play well or even that they simply were playing a bad style or anything like that, what I am saying is that there were so many fouls called on the court players were not allowed to play the game.

Now 52 fouls is a lot, that is how many were called in last night's game, but at the same time it's really not that outlandish of a number.

However, it wasn't the 52 fouls that really jumps off of the page, it was the fact both teams were in the double bonus for the final 10 minutes of the second half and the two teams attempted 60 free throws in the game.

What's worse is that this wasn't an out of control game. There were no technical fouls, there were no flagrant fouls, I'm not even sure there were any warnings about the two teams talking.

And yet, there were some 30 fouls called in the second half. In a sport where the average game takes about an hour and a half, this match-up lasted two hours.

In the middle of the game ICC assistant coach Mike Cyprien noted that there was absolutely no flow to the game and he was right. 

There was a span of about three minutes where 15 free throws were taken and neither team ever got into a rhythm.

But nowadays, that's just how basketball is, at every single level. These officials have put the dreaded 'point of emphasis' on hand-checking and it is bringing games down to a crawl. And make no mistake, a good portion of all of the calls made are hand-checking calls, but what constitutes a hand-check always varies from official to official.

And because of the inconsistencies from one referee to another, even in the middle of games, players have no idea how to adjust. CCC head coach Jay Herkelman was sure to note that after the game Wednesday.

"You see that with the Division I games starting up now, they're really trying to get control of the game and you try to teach your kids the right things, but you know it just becomes really frustrating because your kids feel like they're doing the right thing and yet they're still being called for fouls," he said. "You've got to be able to play basketball, you've still got to be able to play, but I'm watching these games on tv and all these coaches are complaining about the same thing that we're complaining about.

"It's frustrating, but you've got to figure out how they're going to call it and play within those rules."

The one thing that has been consistent through two conference games so far this year with the men has been the fact that a lot of fouls have been called.

In ICC's match-up with Pratt on Saturday there were some 45 fouls called. In CCC's match-up with Allen County on Saturday there were 66 free throws taken.

Refs are certainly calling fouls at a high rate, but are making the game better in no way shape or form.

This is an epidemic across every single level of play right now. I remember last season's opener for IHS when they were taking on Osawatomie there were 57 fouls called. That game lasted until after 10 p.m. on a Thursday night. A school night no less.

How is that better for anyone?

And that's not even taking into account that with these foul calls the refs are changing games. In that game versus Osawatomie, now CCC Red Raven Jalynn Lawrie scored 27 of IHS 49 points. But he fouled out with three minutes left to play. Indy was up by 10 when he went out. IHS lost by two. Those fouls changed the game.

Jaelin Grant, a starter for ICC got to play 8:30 Wednesday. Damion Taylor and Cedric Roland, two posts for CCC got to play about 16:30 apiece before they fouled out.

If those three players play don't you think the end result could have been different? At the least wouldn't you expect better basketball with fresher players? This hand-checking epidemic has to be stopped.

I don't want to write any more stories about refs when it comes to hand-checking. I'm tired of it. And if I'm not even playing in these games, how do you think the coaches and players feel about it?

"I just wish they were a little more consistent on the calls," ICC head coach Tony Turner said. "I thought that one official basically took over the game, was making calls that were out of his area and it made a big difference, it made a big difference in the game."

People don't go to basketball games to watch officials. They go to basketball games to watch players and basketball. Not free throws and inbounds plays.

And since everyone here loves their Kansas basketball, tell me that Tuesday's match-up between KU and Duke wouldn't have been different without all of the ticky-tack foul calls every official was calling on Josh Jackson that night.

You can't and you won't. It's that simple. The current officiating that has now been going on for three years is a joke. I am sick and tired of it. Officials everywhere, please stop it with this junk that you call officiating.

Everyone is tired of it and you're ruining the game of basketball.