NCAA lowers shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds

Other key rules changes will make the games flow quicker

As I reported on a previous blog nearly three weeks back, the NABC came up with several proposed rule changes.

Chief among them, the third revision of the shot clock used in men’s college basketball was made official on Monday by the NCAA.

As one might recall–it was 45 seconds in 1985-86, then it was lowered again in 1992-93 to 35 seconds.

For the first time in 23 seasons, the shot clock will be lowered once more.

The men will join the women in using a 30 second shot clock.

Other rule changes for coaches, let alone fans and media members to keep in mind include:

  • The number of timeouts that coaches are given is reduced from five to four per game.  No more than three timeouts can be carried over into the second half.
  • If a coach calls time out within 30 seconds of any media time out (typically on the first dead ball after four minutes of play), we will automatically go to that said media time out once, not twice.  The only time it will not go against a team will be before the first media time out with less than 16 minutes to go in the second half.
  • What the NCAA March Madness Twitter page said as, “Stricter enforcement of resumption of play coming out of time outs and after a player has fouled out.”  That will be very interesting to see how analysts like Dick Vitale will comment on that throughout the season.
  • The arc underneath the basket will be widened to four feet to help allow for more freedom of movement.  There will also be a greater emphasis on what will be called as a foul and what isn’t.

My initial thoughts on the rule changes:

The NCAA wants to be like Major League Baseball.  Remember this past December, when all baseball game half-inning commercial breaks were to be only 2 minutes in length (increases slightly to 2:25 for national FOX and ESPN games)?

So far, most baseball games are averaging close to three hours.  By comparison, college basketball games average around 2 hours and 20 minutes.  That number usually goes up during Tournament play–depending on how many fouls are called and all of those frequent time outs in the remaining seconds.

Second, I guess last season’s foul calls will hopefully be cleaned up a bit.  There was too much emphasis on cleaning up the inside lanes, and yet many players tried but few got the calls in their favor.

Hopefully that should help speed up the game, IMHO.

Coaches are going to have start thinking twice about using one of their timeouts early in a game, say if they get blown out by a 19-4 margin before the first media time out.  Because otherwise, if they don’t–they might have to go to the foul every possession game just to stop the clock (team foul situation stays the same as it has been since 1991-92–with seven team fouls incurring a one-and-one bonus situation and every foul starting with the tenth team foul per half resulting in a player from the opposition shooting two free throws).

At the very least, most deliberate teams will have 20 seconds minimum to operate in the half court as opposed to 25 when a guard crosses the 10-second line.

Not counting free throws and obvious foul calls, the number of possessions should go up just a bit:

1985-86, 45 second shot clock–average of 53.33 possessions.

1992-93, 35 second shot clock–average of 68.57 possessions

2015-2016 onward, 30 second shot clock–average could be 80 possessions.

We will see come November how these new rule changes play out.

Should be interesting.


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