Obama Wants NCAA Rule Change That Would Hurt UVA’s Basketball Team

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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President Obama said Wednesday that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) should change its basketball rules, while speaking critically about the University of Virginia’s vaunted defense.

On the eve of the NCAA tournament, Obama offered his NCAA picks in an elaborate video — analyzing each game on the board with more intensity and depth than other presidents. Conveying an up-to-date knowledge of college basketball that most working people don’t have, Obama turned a stern eye toward UVA.


Virginia runs a slow-paced game, as detailed in the current issue of Sports Illustrated. The SI cover features UVA as the best bet to take down heavily favored front-runner Kentucky (Obama’s pick for champion).

Virginia’s low-scoring game is highlighted by a tenacious low-post defense called the “Pack-Line,” which Virginia coach Tony Benneth learned from his father, legendary Wisconsin coach Dick Bennett.

Asked about Virginia’s hypothetical early-round match-up with Michigan State, Obama seemed critical of UVA’s style of play, mentioning his support for speeding up the game.

“Well, I am an advocate by the way for the NCAA changing the rules in terms of shortening the shot clock, widening the lane, moving the three-point line back a little bit. It’s a fast game,” Obama said.

“30-second shot clock?” asked the ESPN interviewer Andy Katz.

“Let’s get it down to 30 seconds at minimum,” Obama said, assertively.

“Having said that, I think that Virginia, uh, gets through,” Obama conceded, “despite the fact that I’m still worried about Anderson and how he’s feeling.”

“I think Nova gets through” Obama said when asked about UVA’s eventual Elite Eight match-up with Villanova, denying UVA of a hypothetical Final Four bid.

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