In the final minutes of Michigan’s Sweet Sixteen matchup against Tennessee, the Volunteers cut a once-sizeable Michigan lead into single digits and then finally to a single point. With 10 seconds left in the game, Tennessee inbounded the ball to big man Jarnell Stokes, who faced up Jordan Morgan on the baseline.
Stokes lowered his shoulder, Morgan went down. Charge called. Michigan won the game.
While that was an example of a charge call going Michigan’s way, John Beilein said on Wednesday that he didn’t see enough of those calls this past season. During both his press conference and his appearance on the Michigan Insider Wednesday morning, Beilein expressed a desire for the NCAA rules committee to re-examine the changes it made to the block/charge call during the 2013 offseason.
“My hope is that we’ll re-evaluate this entire thing,” Beilein said. “In retrospect now, that was difficult for everybody to add the hand-check foul, which I’m in support of, and the new block/charge rule, which I did not think worked out as well as they had hoped. I expect people to really take a good look at this and decide where they go in the future.”
It’s no secret that charge calls are especially important to Michigan’s defense. Without a shot-blocker protecting the rim and with shaky perimeter defense, often the only way for Michigan to stop an opposing player slashing through the lane was to anticipate where he would be, establish position and take the charge.
The new rules this season made doing that more difficult. They called for a referee to decide whether or not the defensive player had established position before the offensive player had begun his “upward motion” on his shot. This required defenders to be at spots earlier — and it also made officials far more hesitant to call charges. Beilein said he would like to have shot-blockers underneath — and very well might with this new recruiting class.
“It certainly is good if you have a shot-blocker back there instead of a charge-taker. We did not have a shot-blocker back there,” Beilein said. “It’s a thing we’ll continue to work on, but I don’t plan on changing at all. It would be nice to have a huge shot-blocker who can change games, but that will come through either in guys we have now or guys who are coming in, like a DJ Wilson will be able to block some shots.”