The last few games have been absolutely brutal to watch because the refs are making it very hard for any kind of game rhythm or pace to get developed. Refs have a very hard job. Anybody who thinks that is an easy job is a moron. But because rule changes or more highly emphasized rules have changed the college game over the last few years, I think refs who have been in the game for 25+ years are still struggling to adjust. So in some games you see players allowed to battle in the post and in some you see every touch causing a whistle.
Now, with that said, UK is fouling a lot. In fact, Cal’s last 3 teams have been his highest fouling teams. This team is going along those same lines, averaging over 19 fouls per game.
But here is the weird thing: FOULING A LOT DOESN’T MEAN A BAD THING. Look at the UK teams who have committed over 750 fouls in a season, with those in bold making the Final 4.
1991-92: 837 fouls (36 games) *Elite 8
1996-97: 802 fouls (40 games) *Runner-Up
1992-93: 776 fouls (34 games) *Final Four
1974-75: 767 fouls (31 games) *Runner-Up
1993-94: 762 fouls (34 games) *2nd Round
1947-48: 764 fouls (39 games) *National Champion
1979-80: 755 fouls (35 games) *Sweet 16
4 of the top 7 fouling teams in UK history made the Final Four. And some might argue that is simply because they played more games, but that is in fact false. Only 2 of these teams played 39 or 40 games, and the 4 of the 7 played 35 or less. Every Calipari team except the NIT team has played 36 or more games and none of them made the list. But this team might be the exception. Here is where they stand now:
CURRENT: 348 fouls in 18 games (19.33 fouls per game)
At that current pace, UK would commit this many fouls depending on the total games played:
36 games: 696 fouls
37 games: 715 fouls
38 games: 734 fouls
39 games: 754 fouls
40 games: 773 fouls
So, here is the question: do the fouls worry you? There have been instances, especially in SEC play, where fouls have put the Cats in some tough spots. But it also hasn’t cost them any games. But the SEC opponents stink and in an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 game it could be a rough spot for a Fox, Monk, or Bam to go out early. It will be interesting to see as the season goes on if the Cats cut down on the fouls a little or if it ends up costing them any conference games.