ISU adapting more quickly to new “hands off” defensive posture for college hoops

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When college basketball season started a month ago, there were criticisms about the way the game was being refereed.

 Off-season rule changes had been made to improve the game and allow for better freedom of movement. But, many said there were too many fouls and too many free throws.

 Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg liked the idea that offenses would be better able to execute. Recent statistics from the NCAA comparing this season to last year show some interesting trends.

 The data confirms that scoring is up (+5.43 points per game), FG percentage is up (+1.41 percent), turnover average is down (-0.55 per game), fouls are up (+2.0 per game) and FT attempts are up (+5.0 per game).

 Those things add up to better offense and, in the long term, a better game to play and watch.

 How do those same stats look for Iowa State’s team – comparing this year to last – after 8 games? The Cyclone trends are even more dramatic than the national numbers.

 Scoring is up (+.8.4 ppg), FG percentage is up (+3.6 percent), turnover average is down (-5.1 per game), fouls are up (+2.13 per game) and FT attempts are up (+8.63 per game).

 The Cyclones are scoring nearly 8½ more points per game than a year ago and their opposition is also scoring more (4.6 ppg). The net gain, however, is that Iowa State’s scoring margin is 3.8 points better than last season.

 The most interesting stat is that free throw attempts by Cyclone opponents are up only marginally. ISU foes shot 152 free throws through 8 games a year ago and they’ve attempted 153 after 8 games in 2013-14.

 Hoiberg’s offense this year – with less hand checking allowed – has been even better. But, he’s also worked hard to make sure his team isn’t fouling significantly more in the new rules environment.

 The Cyclones have adapted pretty quickly to the way games are being call, especially compared to their peers across college basketball.