The (Shot Clock) Times, They Are A Changin’

I did something that was new for me this winter, sale everyone. It was a little painful and I don’t really like to talk about it…I watched quite a few NIT Tournament games.

I put myself through that for a few reasons — I love college basketball, buy viagra so why not watch more of it, cheap my Illini were involved, and I wanted to see how, if at all, the rule changes the NCAA was testing out would affect game play.

The 2015 NIT Tournament tested out some potential rule changes for college basketball. Namely, the post-season tournament used a 30-second shot clock (as opposed to 35 seconds) and a larger arc under the basket (3 feet as opposed to 4).

I wasn’t pleased with the NIT in general this year (the Illini lost in embarrassing fashion in the first round to Alabama), but NCAA officials must have liked what they saw overall, as those rules, along with a few other changes, will become a reality for all men’s basketball games this season.

According to the NCAA, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved the following changes for the 2015-16 Division I season:

  • Shortening shot clock from 35 seconds to 30
  • Expanding restricted-area arc from 3 feet to 4 feet
  • Reducing time to replace a disqualified player from 20 to 15 seconds
  • Eliminating one timeout in the second half
  • Instituting penalties for players faking fouls
  • Removing ability for coaches to call a timeout during a live ball
  • Changing media timeout rules so any timeout called by a team within 30 seconds of a scheduled timeout becomes the media timeout
  • Allowing referees to review on the monitor for shot clock violations throughout the game
  • Changing shots for Class B technical fouls from two to one
  • Eliminating the five-seconded closely guarded rule
  • Allowing dunks during warmups

So how will all these changes affect the game? It will speed it up, for one, as several of the rule changes (shot clock, timeout changes) were made to improve the pace of play.

The shorter shot clock is most intriguing, as stats from the 2015 NIT tournament (broken down by Ken Pomeroy) suggest that it will lead to more scoring. Mr. Pomeroy also suggests that we may also see more three-point attempts, since the shorter clock may lead players to throw up desperate shots to avoid a violation.

We might also see more zone defense thanks to the shorter shot clock, according to Brian Mull at NCAA.com.

I can get on board with most of these rule changes, even though the prospect of shorter games is kind of sad (I personally would like to spend as much time as possible watching college basketball), but one rule I’m a little sad to see go is the no-dunking-20-minutes-before-tipoff rule. Pregame dunking used to be a Class B technical foul, meaning the other team would get two free shots before the clock even starts.

This weird rule (which SB Nation explains thoroughly) has actually been a game-changer. For instance, last season, a player on North Florida dunked during warmups, resulting in Tennessee Tech getting two free throws. North Florida went on to lose that game — by two points (see the story from Deadspin).

Even though we will miss out on sagas like that of North Florida vs. Tennessee Tech, maybe we can look forward to entertaining dunk fests before the real action starts. And that, in itself, could be make the change worthwhile.

About the author: Heather Punke. NCAA Basketball Correspondent. Heather is a Chicago transplant by way of Minnesota and Champaign, Ill. Even though she now resides in Wrigleyville, she still cheers for the Twins and the MN Wild, as well as her beloved Fighting Illini and whoever is on her fantasy football team that week. Heather earned a broadcast journalism degree from the University of Illinois and reported on Big Ten athletics during her time there. Now managing editor for a healthcare magazine, she is also a hedgehog owner and a competitive euchre player. You can follow her on Twitter at @hpunke

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