March (And Other Months') Madness
Basketball is a weird sport in that essentially nothing matters until the final quarter. The score bounces up an down, but it's usually close enough that it's decided near the end. A goal in hockey, a run in baseball, a touchdown or even field goal in football makes a different early on, but 50 or 60 or 80 points scored early in basketball--who cares?
Unfortunately, this leads to the worst thing in basketball--the final two minutes. Now both coaches have a good idea of what's needed, and the fun of the game is lost. The coach that's ahead wants to waste time, while the coach that's behind needs to score fast and then get the ball from the other team.
What this leads to are lots of fouls and endless (they seem endless) timeouts so the coach can discuss the latest strategy, while the game practically grinds to a halt. And usually it's pointless. If you're behind by 15 points with 1:40 left it's over, stop playing like it matters. Even if you're behind 8 points with 30 seconds left it's over. But the fans have to wait forever for the game to finish.
I'd like to change the rules to get things moving. How about this:
First, only one timeout allowed in the last five minutes of the game. (And maybe none in the last two mintues.)
Then, a different foul structure in the last two minutes. First foul, you keep whatever situation you're in. But then future fouls--if they're intentional--give the team that's been fouled an option (or maybe not even an option, since that might slow up the game)--they can have the normal foul shooting situation, or they can take one foul shot and retain possession. The other team, as far as I'm concerned, is just gaming the rules to get the ball back, so let's deny them what they want most and play this game all the way through like it's normal.