ARIZONA BASKETBALL

Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd wants nets and basketballs fixed in NCAA Tournament

Mar 22, 2024, 4:03 PM

Head coach Tommy Lloyd of the Arizona Wildcats speaks during a press conference ahead of the NCAA M...

Head coach Tommy Lloyd of the Arizona Wildcats speaks during a press conference ahead of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Delta Center on March 20, 2024 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd criticized the nets at the Delta Center and the basketballs being used ahead of the Wildcats’ second-round clash with Dayton on Saturday.

The nets being too tight caused the ball to get stuck in the net at times after made baskets during Thursday’s games in Salt Lake City.

“I don’t think it’s hard to find nets where the ball goes through,” Lloyd said Friday. “So, go up to the University of Utah, take the nets off the basket, because they’re probably not stopping there, and bring them down here. It’s not complicated.

“I hope they have the wherewithal to make that change,” Lloyd said. “I mean, I don’t know. If they stretch them and can stretch them good enough and prove to themselves they’re not going to stick, that’s fine.”

Lloyd emphasized the tight nets make it more difficult for teams that want to play fast and in transition. When the ball gets stuck in the net, it causes delays and slows the tempo for teams that want to run.

“We’re built to play lots of different styles,” Lloyd said. “And, generally, if you want to be a team that’s playing in transition, you better be a good defensive team so you’re not taking the ball out of the net, especially these nets, because the ball doesn’t come out of them. Just stays in there. Talk about stopping a fast break. Jeesh. Hopefully they have that fixed by (Saturday).”

The number of turnovers was another talking point after Thursday’s games. Long Beach State had 13 turnovers and Arizona had nine of its own. Dayton and Nevada also turned the ball over 12 times each.

Lloyd blamed the turnovers on the basketballs being used. The NCAA Tournament uses a Wilson basketball, but Arizona, as a Nike school, uses a Nike ball when it plays at home and on the road against the other Nike-endorsed schools.

“These are brand new basketballs,” Lloyd said. “And I know they’ll probably throw, ‘Well, the shooting percentages don’t change.’ There were more mishandles for both teams in our game yesterday. Because that basketball is brand new, it’s just inflated a little different, just different than what the guys are comfortable with every day.

“I think it begs the question in college basketball: How do we not have a standardized basketball? How can you play with an Adidas ball one game, a Nike ball the next game, the Rock in the next tournament, a Spalding in this tournament? If you’re (in the) Hall of Fame Classic, you’re playing with a Spalding. If you’re in the NCAA Tournament, you’re playing with Wilson. Come on. I think we can standardize the game a little bit. I think it’s common sense.

“But, hey, I know it’s also a business,” Lloyd said. “I’m just a coach, so I’m going to get back in my lane.”

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