News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News

Sports Columns

January 3, 2014

From the Press Box: I’ve seen the enemy … and it’s the double bonus

TERRE HAUTE — I’ve seen the enemy.

I’ve seen it turn the game of basketball from one of exciting flow into a nonstop parade of tedium. I’ve seen it morph hundreds of what would-be thrilling, last-minute, end-to-end conclusions into foul shooting exhibitions that suck the life out of a gym or arena near you.

It’s the double bonus. It’s a scourge, one that is often overlooked when ideas on how to make the game more entertaining or to speed the game up are put forth.

The double bonus is about as entertaining as a punch in the gut and it grinds the gears of basketball to a complete halt. When fans make fun of hoops and say the last minute of a game takes 10 minutes? You can thank the double bonus for that.

For those who aren’t familiar with the double bonus, it comes into play when a team amasses 10 team fouls. At that point, the other team gets to shoot two free throws for the remainder of the game on any additional team fouls.

Eliminated in the double bonus is the one-and-one free throw scenario that exists with the regular bonus, which is triggered at seven team fouls. In that case, if a team misses its first free throw, it’s a live ball.

With new guidelines this season for officials to call the games tighter — the idea being to give players freedom from contact to increase scoring — the bonus and double bonus are coming into play much earlier in the game than intended. It’s not unheard of for a team to be in the double bonus by the 10-minute mark of a college game.

That’s not what rule-makers had in mind, but the smart voices in college basketball knew this would happen. They warned that scoring might very well go up, but that the new guidelines wouldn’t quite work as intended, because teams would make more trips to the line.

To wit, every team in the Missouri Valley Conference has met or exceeded its average free throw attempts per game. In some cases, dramatically so. Evansville has shot nine more free throws per game. Wichita State has attempted eight more.

The double bonus is not sacrosanct. James Naismith didn’t invent it. In fact, it’s a relatively new addition to the college and high school game.

The double bonus was implemented at the college level during the 1990-91 season and high schools adapted it shortly after. The idea at the time was to create a deterrent that would keep coaches from green-lighting the seemingly limitless fouls that morph basketball games into a molasses-like yawnfest.

Fat chance.

Let’s make one thing clear about coaches — and this goes for coaches in almost any sport — they are inveterate control freaks.

Any rule that attempts to limit a coach and save them — and the game they coach — from themselves is destined for failure. It’s a naive exercise in futility. It’s a half-measure.

We’ve seen the folly of the thought process that went into the double bonus in the last two decades. Basketball coaches can’t and won’t help themselves.

They likely tell teams to foul in their dreams. Coaches speed through and exceed that 10-foul limit like it’s another “Fast And The Furious” sequel.

Add on to that the silly misplaced pride that’s attached itself to late-game fouling. Some coaches refuse to quit fouling well beyond the point of any benefit to it because they think it sends the message to their team that it’s OK to quit.

It’s completely batty, but who said sanity had anything to do with coaching? Last week at the Pizza Hut Classic, for example, I saw a team foul in the double bonus while down double-digits with barely 10 seconds left. Are you kidding me?

To be fair, coaches are paid to do whatever it takes to win. They get paid to master game theory. But game theory isn’t the same as the game. The game is a spectacle. Game theory, while intelligent and often the path to victory, often plays out with all of the fun of a migraine headache.

Paying customers want a game. It’s so easy to lose sight of the fact that basketball is a spectator sport and is entertainment first and foremost. No one jumps out of their seat during endless marches to the free throw line.

So let’s save the coaches from themselves. Let’s not let the well-intended new rules be choked by the fumes of double bonus madness. The best way is to change the threshold for the double bonus, and perhaps, the regular bonus too.

If I were the god of hoops, I’d put the bonus threshold at eight fouls. It doesn’t take long to hit seven team fouls in the current climate. On the other hand, you don’t want to make the bonus threshold too high. Eight seems about right.

The double bonus? If it’s kept at all, it should be a high threshold.

Failed one-and-one’s are underrated. Failed one-and-one’s make the game exciting. A missed free throw is a golden opportunity for the trailing team to make a comeback. We need more excitement, more tension, and more flow in the game.

Make the double bonus threshold 16 team fouls. The double bonus should be rare not routine.

If a team can’t shoot free throws? Too bad, it’s part of the game. Poor free throw shooting teams shouldn’t get an out for their weakness via a low double bonus threshold.

Frankly, I’d be all in favor of eliminating the double bonus entirely.

Why keep something that turns the game into endless slog? Basketball is supposed to wide open and fun.

The double bonus is a killjoy. Let’s take it out of the game.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports Columns
  • SPT072114sprints crowd.jpg TRACKSIDE: Clauson's run to Indiana Sprint Week title witnessed by many Hoosiers

    The checkered flag has fallen on yet another highly successful Indiana SprintWeek series for the USAC sprint cars.
    Bryan Clauson emerged as the series champ edging out Robert Ballou for the coveted title, his second ISW crown in as many years.

    July 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • Tom Reck: Brickyard 400 highlights big sports week

    It’s another busy week in sports. Two of the events on the schedule are the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the windup of the Show-Me’s/THGA men’s city golf tournament.

    July 21, 2014

  • Todd Golden: Bigelow part of Action Track’s lifeblood

    Many things have changed since the Terre Haute Action Track opened in 1952, but the one constant is dirt.

    July 18, 2014

  • schrader.jpg Joe Buckles: New alliance features powerful figures trying to lower costs

    Possibly no off track developments involving NASCAR racing  over the past 20 to 30 years has generated as much interest and speculation as last week’s announcement regarding the formation of the new Race Team Alliance organization.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tom Reck: At break, A’s own baseball’s top record

    The all-stars will be out tonight in Major League Baseball, meaning there’s a little break in the regular schedules. At this point, the team with the best record in either league … is Oakland which is 59-36 for a .621 percentage.

    July 14, 2014

  • minors.jpg From Terre Haute to the majors: Eitel, Phegley recognized as Triple-A All-Stars

    Phegley is a third-time All-Star in the International League, while Marshall, Ill., native Derek Eitel was named to his first Triple-A All-Star game. The Rose-Hulman graduate and right-handed relief pitcher for the Reno Aces has put up impressive numbers in the Pacific Coast League. Eitel has a 2.70 earned-run average with 60 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings for the Diamondbacks’ top minor-league team.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Andy Amey: Just a small trip to talk about this time

    To paraphrase Carl Spackler, the heavy stuff’s not going to come for quite awhile. So while it’s true that I’m back from a week’s vacation, it’s not time — yet — for the big vacation column. Trips to Noblesville, Brunswick and Reelsville, while providing some nice family time, don’t really have the cachet to fill newspaper space.

    July 11, 2014

  • From the Press Box: Simple sports pleasures are best

    Andy Amey is the undisputed king of vacation columns in the Tribune-Star’s annals. I just returned from vacation, and while there were certainly tales to tell, I’m left with fond memories of simple sports pleasures.
    My family and I spent an extended weekend in Kansas City? Why? Why not? Truthfully, it was close, there’s a lot to do there, and we didn’t want the headache and expense of a long-haul vacation. We had a great time.

    July 8, 2014

  • Trackside: Valley race fans should be happy

    Whether your preference is non-wing sprint cars or late-model stock cars, this is the week that Wabash Valley race fans look forward to all summer.
    The best of the best is the only way to describe what will unfold this week at Valley ovals. First comes the continuation of the popular UMP Summer National “Hell Week” tour for late models and its annual stop at Terre Haute Action Track tonight. USAC’s Indiana Sprint Week opens later this weekend with stops at Gas City on Friday night, Kokomo on Saturday and Lawrenceburg on Sunday evening.

    July 8, 2014

  • Tom Reck: All-Stars get chance to shine

    It’s July and that means all-star baseball time.

    July 7, 2014

  • Redneck Quaker: Yes, you can get paid to go fishing

    Get that boat out and let’s go fish’n! We may make some money while having fun!
    The Indiana DNR is tagging 500 legal-sized black bass on the three rivers in central and northern Indiana as part of a new research project. “Black Bass” includes largemouth, small-mouth and spotted bass.

    July 5, 2014

  • photo3.JPG Hughes, News & Views: Shouses facing tough decisions about Dexter Jr.’s future

    Those of us who have followed Vigo County basketball for more than a decade remember how the families of Greg Oden, Reicina Russell and Chaz Spicer moved to the Indianapolis area before the athletes had a chance to complete high school in Terre Haute.
    Will 6-foot-3, 180-pound Dexter Shouse Jr., who turned 14 in May and recently finished seventh grade at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, pack up his belongings and make a similar trip east with his family?

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tom Reck: July a big month for local sports

    It’s the first day of July, a month full of golf tournaments and racing — all types of racing — and youth baseball tournaments.

    June 30, 2014

  • SPT 030914 ODUM FILE.jpg Steady success: ISU continued to climb ladder with one of its best overall seasons ever

    First of all, if you’re an Indiana State fan, stand up and applaud. The Sycamores collectively went where only one Sycamore athletic department went before in 2013-14. ISU finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference All-Sports Trophy standings. ISU recorded a score of 3.538, its highest in school history.

    June 25, 2014 6 Photos

  • Trackside: Rising costs make Valley racing more difficult than ever

    The life and times of your weekly short-track racer has long lived up to the colorful and exciting ways coveted by those in the stands who gather each weekend to watch their favorite team or driver compete.
    While the weekly trek to the race track has always presented its challenges, the task in recent times has made those trips to the many dirt ovals across the country a little more difficult to make.

    June 24, 2014

  • Tom Reck: Could ISU’s Odum get drafted?

    The National Basketball Association draft is coming up this week. Jake Odum of Indiana State has had several tryouts and looked good in a draft event. It would be nice to see him drafted.

    June 23, 2014 1 Story

  • College report: Wabash College relay team earns All-America honors

    Some summertime notes from here and there:

    June 23, 2014

  • FROM THE PRESS BOX: Appeal of World Cup is communal

    Columnist explains appeal of World Cup.

    June 21, 2014

  • Tom Lindley column mug.jpg TOM LINDLEY: NCAA could become casualty of paid athletes

    The time has come in Ed O’Bannon’s class action, antitrust case against the NCAA when lawyers start nibbling their fingernails, those in charge of athletic departments feel their heartbeats climb, and athletes try to get a grip on how things will change if their side prevails.

    June 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Trackside: Likable Dave Darland still chalking up victories at 48

    One of short-track racing’s all-time open-wheel greats continues to add to his growing legacy.
    When veteran racer Dave Darland rolled into victory lane at Lincoln Park Speedway last week, he notched his 94th USAC career win. Add the countless number of open-competition wins over the years and it’s easy to surmise the popular driver is approaching the lofty 200-win plateau.
    His latest checkered flag came in the USAC Indiana Midget Week show at the same 5⁄16-mile dirt oval where he cut his teeth in an open-cockpit car more than 30 years ago.

    June 18, 2014

  • Tom Reck: Valley could be home of some champions

    And the beat goes on … for four teams and two individuals in the final week of Indiana high school sports action.

    June 16, 2014

  • Father, son team up to hunt a cape buff

    While hunting “Black Death” in Africa, your mind is racing with everything that can go wrong. The cape buffalo was starting his stalk on the hunters at 30 yards.
    Three days before, a father and son team decided a cape buff would be a challenge of a lifetime, so the hunt was on. Word came of an old bull running with a cow buffalo in the Limpopo providence and had been spotted. They knew the pair because the cow buff was even more dangerous than the bull for charging people for no reason.

    June 14, 2014

  • Todd Golden: Indy 500 book is intriguing look into an important era

    Doing the job I do, I get my share of books sent to me at the office. I hate to admit it, but a lot of them cross my eye for a moment, and like anyone else, if the subject matter doesn’t interest me, I don’t open it.

    June 13, 2014

  • Trackside: Thumbs up given for upcoming Indiana Midget Week

    In his many years of serving in the public relation department for the U.S. Auto Club, Dick Jordan has developed a keen sense for rating the overall health and future of dirt-track open-wheel racing.
    So when the veteran publicist voices a note of guarded optimism for the running of an upcoming series, one knows something special looms on the horizon.

    June 10, 2014

  • College Report: Brazil’s Baysinger navigates college tennis waters

    Garrett Baysinger of Brazil played his senior season of tennis at Rockville, one of the smallest high schools in the state to field a team in the sport.
    In a sport dominated by foreign players for teams in both genders at most levels, the competition for any college roster spot is extremely difficult. Baysinger did well at Rockville and on the summer circuit and earned a spot on the team at Kaskaskia Junior College in Illinois.

    June 10, 2014

  • Tom Reck: Seven teams, three golfers still have title shots

    Most high school sports teams in the Valley have concluded their seasons and are getting set for summer activity but four golf teams, three baseball teams and three golfers will be busy this week with more postseason play — all hoping to play another week in the state finals.

    June 9, 2014

  • Redneck Quaker: Lidster, Pickering try MacNab Challenge

    When a couple of adventurous, 67-year-old youngsters decided to try their hand at taking different species in Africa, they decided to do the MacNab Challenge.
    In one day, you have to harvest three species, one with feathers (bird), one with scales (fish), and one with a tail and legs (mammal).

    May 31, 2014

  • Todd Golden: Good times for ISU athletics

    I wish I had a time machine. Would I use it to correct some wrongs in my life or witness some important events in history? Sure, but that’s not what’s on my mind this instant. I’d love to go forward in time to see how the state of Indiana State’s athletic department from the present is perceived in the future.

    May 28, 2014

  • Ramblin’ Reck: Reflections plentiful from memorable Indianapolis 500

    The 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 is history and will go down as one of the best.
    Weather was perfect and the finish was second closest ever with Ryan Hunter-Reay nipping Helio Castroneves at the finish.
    There were few yellow caution periods with the first incident coming on the 150th lap and a race record was established with 6,105 laps completed by the drivers.

    May 28, 2014

  • Trackside: Crossroads drag strip taking big steps to keep racers

    The eyes of the racing world may have been focused on Indianapolis, Charlotte and Monte Carlo this past weekend. But for Terre Haute area fans and racers, the attention was directed at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds.
    That’s where activities at the Terre Haute Action Track and Crossroads Dragway took center stage. News and results surrounding shows at the two venues offered some encouraging news for the future of racing at the southside facilities.

    May 27, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball Israeli Aircraft Hits Dozens of Gaza Targets US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights
NDN Video
Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity