It has been said that basketball is a non-contact sport. It would follow that any form of contact is a foul. Obviously, referees don't call a foul evertime there is contact, creating the impression that there may be favoritism in the selection of incidents which are called as fouls. Every foul, called or not called has some bearing on the outcome of the contest either by creating an unfair advantage or even by interrupting the pace of the game. The attempt to gain competitive advantage through favorable foul calls has led to a very important skill now by employed by players at every level of the game - the "Flop".
The flop is a pejorative term that refers to a defensive player intentionally falling backward to the floor upon physical contact with an offensive player. Who hasn't witnessed a game recently where the flop hashasn't been employed? Two well executed flops can take the oppositions star player off the floor and put him on the bench. Late in the game a well-timed flop can erase a score and give possesion of the ball to the floppers team, and occaisionally disqualify an opposing team's key player.
The NCAA has instructed officials to "crack down" on contact involving elbows this year. Moving the elbows faster than the reat of your body is a foul. If there is contact, it becomes a flagrant foul the severity of which is determined by watching replays to determine if the contact is intentional.
Hold an imaginary ball chest high. Note the loction of your elbows. Imagine someone grabbing at your ball....you naturally move it to the side defensively. Note the path of your elbow.
Somewhere there are players practicing the place ment of the side of their head in the logical path of the elbow and the "ultimate flop".
Sometime soon an important contest is going to be decided not by passing, rebounding or by shooting, but by the well timed execution of the "ultimate flop".