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During the MVC media day luncheon, the Valley brought in a panel of college basketball experts to discuss some hot topics in today’s game.

The panelists discussed some of today's hot topics in college basketball at Missouri Valley media day at Loyola on Wednesday

The panelists discussed some of today’s hot topics in college basketball at Missouri Valley media day at Loyola on Wednesday

CBS’ Jerry Palm, Big Ten Network’s Stephen Bardo, ESPN’s Debbie Antonelli, and Mark Adams joined MVC head coaches Gregg Marshall and Tanya Warren on the panel, discussing scheduling, the state of the Valley, and the new rules, among other topics.

On the new rules
Marshall: “We’ve tried to call fouls in practice with hand-checking and body checking, and bumping cutters and anytime you set an illegal screen. The emphasis is freedom of movement. I must say I’m not a very good referee, but I try to blow the whistle when I see it in practice. Other than that, I guess you live and learn. We had a scrimmage against Baylor and they shot 23 free throws in a 20-minute session. That’s a lot. … In the interim, we’re just trying to teach our guys to play good, solid, man-to-man defense, show their hands, and not be excessive with the body contact.”

Warren: “I am very concerned. We had a closed scrimmage on Saturday and each team shot over 30 free throws. We have to be able to adapt.”

Adams: “Why legislate common sense? When you legislate common sense, you turn into an idiocracy, and that’s what we have in college basketball right now. … I think we should give the game back to the referees and let them use their good judgment.”

On the great deal of conference realignment
Palm: “Conference realignment, in terms of headline-shaking conference realignment, is probably done. But if you go back in college basketball, every year somebody’s in a new conference. There are always changes. … Conferences are going to start adding more conference games, and that means fewer non-conference games, which makes it harder to compare teams from different leagues.”

Bardo: “At the larger level, I think we’re done with the movement, but not at other levels.”

On the state of the Missouri Valley 
Warren: “On the women’s side, we were consistently in the top-nine RPI out of 31 conferences, which would put us four or five against non-BCS conferences. We have great teachers of the game who are committed to developing the young people both on and off the floor, we have phenomenal facilities, we have great education and we’re consistently getting four to five teams in postseason play every year.”

Antonelli: “When I think of the MVC, I think of the branding that (commissioner) Doug Elgin and his staff have put on the league. … It’s going to be really important whatever branding and marketing strategies you put together, as long as the product remains good — and the product has always been good in the Missouri Valley — good things are ahead. … It’s a great league with good talent, with excellent teacher and coaches. Last year, getting multiple bids in the NCAA Tournament was absolutely huge.”

On the difficulty and unfairness of non-conference scheduling
Marshall: “We’ve tried — because of the RPI and because of where we are right now as a program — to schedule the absolute best teams that we can get o play us. We put the line out there to any BCS school that we can.”

Palm: “The Valley has done a good job of finding ways to schedule themselves opportunities to become an at-large team in the NCAA Tournament. Scheduling is as much art as it is science. You can schedule for the RPI, but you have to know your own team, you have to know the quality of your opponents — what they’re going to be like next year, not now — and that’s hard. … You’re better off playing the best teams that you can beat, whatever level your program is at, and let the chips fall as they may.”

Adams: “The system we use to evaluate teams is patently unfair. How do we fix it? We throw away all the records from November, December — they don’t count towards the computer rankings. We set up 16 sites, where we invite 20-plus teams to those 16 sites, they play between Christmas and New Years, they play it out, that way we get an opportunity to evaluate every program I the country and where they fit going into January. Those 16 winners, I think they deserve automatic bids.”

On the progression of the women’s game
Antonelli: “Basic economic theory. Four “p’s”: product, price, promotion, and place. On the women’s side, we spend too much time on the price, promotion, and place. We need to work on the product. That’s why the rules are in place, because we need a free-flowing offensive game to showcase the great skillset that we have. If the game can be more offensive-minded, all the other things will fall into place. If the product is good, it doesn’t matter the price, promotion, or place.”

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