No team illustrated that better this season than Southern California.
The Trojans went from around 77 points per game in 2002-03 to about 53 this year, the biggest drop of any BCS program in that span according to STATS LLC.
The Trojans — on their fourth coach during that time — shot 39 percent this season and didn't score more than 58 points in a game after January. They closed a six-win season with a 43-38 loss to Washington State in the regular-season finale followed by a 40-point showing against UCLA in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament.
As USC coach Kevin O'Neill said, "Nobody is enjoying this."
"I have no answer for it," he said of his team's shooting woes. "It's frustrating. Bob Knight said: When you make shots you look pretty and when you miss, you don't get invited to the prom."
And of course the Trojans aren't in the NCAA tournament.
At Louisville, coach Rick Pitino has long been known for leading strong offenses. But this year's Cardinals scored 56, 57, 51 and 49 points in their final four regular-season games before clinching an automatic NCAA bid with just 50 points in the Big East final.
"Definitely it seems like a lot of teams we've been playing ... have been trying to slow the pace down," Cardinals forward Kyle Kuric said. "Work the ball a lot, not take quick shots and kind of play within themselves, try to keep the score real low and just try to prevent us from getting on the break as much as possible.
"We've kind of got to get that reversed and try to get teams to speed up and play the style we want to."
Bilas puts significant emphasis on officiating and limiting overly physical play. One example came late in Kansas' overtime home win against Missouri, when KU's Thomas Robinson blocked a layup from Phil Pressey — Robinson got the ball cleanly but knocked Pressey to the floor with his body — on a no-call at the end of regulation.
Bilas said calling fouls on physical play would lead to more free throws and deter defenders from the bumping and holding that impedes offensive movement. It wouldn't just make it easier to score — it could make the game a better product.
"It just doesn't serve the game's interest the way we're doing it," Bilas said. "How would the game suffer if Tyler Zeller weren't held? If you're a really good big guy — I mean, really good — why would you want to stay in college? So you can have guys hang all over you and you can't execute a play and they don't call it? And you can go to the NBA and get to execute in a 1-on-1 environment, they call fouls and you get paid for it."
AP Sports Writers Colin Fly in Lexington, Ky., and Beth Harris in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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