The Hand Check Rule: The future of the NCAA

The game of basketball is no stranger to change.

From the introduction of the three-point line to the 24-second shot clock, basketball has continually transformed through the years. The Hand Check rule is no different.

Last season, UTSA averaged 64 points per game en route to a 10-22 overall record. This season, the Roadrunners have spiked their average to 69.2 points per game, while simultaneously switching to a harder conference, albeit for an 8-20 overall record.

Common sense says that the Roadrunners should score less. UTSA has switched from the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) last season to Conference USA (C-USA) this season. With such a switch, the Roadrunners have bucked the trend and scored more.

This is because of the Hand Check rule.

The Hand Check rule first came into fruition in the 2004-2005 NBA season. The rule states that putting a hand on the dribbler is a foul. The result of the rule is a flashier, higher scoring game. The run-n-gun offense has become a standard, with the “Seven Seconds or Less” Phoenix Suns the goal that every time strives to reach.

This season, the NCAA followed suit and finally adopted its own version of the Hand Check rule. College basketball has traditionally been a low scoring affair, with the average points per game at 67.5 for the 2012-2013 season.

Now that college basketball has begun to embrace the rule, the scoring has been higher. So far this season the average points per game per team has spiked to 71, the highest since the 2001-2002 season.

UTSA has averaged 69.2 points per game this season, higher than last season’s NCAA average and higher than their previous season’s 64-point average. The Roadrunners have gone over 85 points this season five separate times, each time resulting in a win.

Although UTSA opponents are averaging 77.3 points per game, the Roadrunners still manage to hang around at home. Their home record is 7-8, but not much can be expected from a team undergoing a difficult conference transition.

UTSA fans can expect higher scoring games as the Roadrunners continue to familiarize with the rule and the style of play.

Roadrunner fans take notice — high-scoring games at the Convocation Center will soon become a regular occurrence.