Zona's Lloyd wants tight Delta Center nets 'fixed'

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SALT LAKE CITY — Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd thinks there’s an easy solution to fix the issues with the tight nets at the Delta Center: Just swap them out with broken-in nets.

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

The nets at the Delta Center were an issue throughout all four first-round games on Thursday. They were too tight, causing the ball to either get stuck in them or be delayed going through them.

It got to a point where a crew from the arena tried to stretch the nets on at least three occasions: After Arizona beat Long Beach State in the first game Thursday, at halftime of the McNeese-Gonzaga game and before the final game of the day, Samford-Kansas.

“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.”

Where the tight nets affected teams most was when they wanted to get into a transition game off makes. It caused teams to slow down.

“We’re built to play lots of different styles, 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,” Lloyd said. “Just stays in there. Talk about stopping a fast break. Jeesh. Hopefully they have that fixed by [Saturday].”

But Lloyd wasn’t done.

He also had multiple issues with the basketballs — made by Wilson — used in the NCAA tournament, but said it’s something college basketball has been dealing with “forever.” Lloyd called for there to be a universal ball throughout college basketball.

“These are brand-new basketballs,” he 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. The basketball is brand-new, inflated a little different, different than what the guys are comfortable with every day.

“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, Nike ball the next game, the Rock in the next tournament, a Spalding in the next 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.”

A fired-up Lloyd said he also understands the other factors in play: money. Schools play with the ball of the company that sponsors. For example, Arizona is a Nike school and plays with a Nike ball at home.

“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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