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With scoring up, only tweaks proposed to college basketball

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Pleased with recent changes that have boosted offense, the NCAA basketball rules committee chose not to propose any drastic moves for next season such as breaking the men’s game into four quarters, pushing back the 3-point line or widening the lane.

The committee did encourage conferences and tournaments to experiment with some of those alterations as a way to get a handle on the possible effects they would have on a game they feel is trending in the right direction.

“Officiating continues to emphasize freedom of movement, physicality and free flow of the game,” Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot, the committee chairman, said Friday. “Adjustments for next season are going to be relatively minor which shows that I think most of the key stakeholders in the game feel like things are going well.”

Two years ago, the shot clock was dropped from 35 to 30 seconds. The rules committee also recommended officials crack down on what many coaches felt was overly physical play that restricted movement. Division I teams averaged 73.4 points per game last season, up from 67.5 in the 2012-13. Points per game and field-goal percentage (44.4 percent) last season were the highest since 1994-95. Possessions per game have gone up as well.

The proposals the committee announced Friday were more modest and included, increasing the size of the coach’s box from 28 to 38 feet; expanding the use of replay in the last two minutes to aid officials with some block-charge calls near the baskets and tweaking how the shot clock is reset.

The committee also proposed making throw-in spots in the front court more consistent, a mandatory minimum of 0.3 seconds be taken off the clock when the ball is legally touched and redefining a legal screen.

The committee also proposed allowing the Southeastern Conference to use a centralized replay system that would give on-court officials some help reviewing calls by officials not at game sites.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel will consider the proposals in June.

As for the potentially big changes involving quarters, the 3-point line and the lane, Art Hyland, the committee’s secretary and rules’ editor, said all three are “still in play.”

In the NIT this year, team fouls were reset at the beginning of each half and 10 minutes into each half, mimicking four quarters. Hyland said similar experiments could be used this season with the 3-point line. He said collecting data on the playing with a wider lane is more difficult.

Hyland said potential issues with media partners over commercial breaks needed to be worked out before the men’s game could make the move from two 20-minutes halves to four 10-minute quarters. Women’s college basketball games are timed by quarters as NBA games and almost all high school games.

“In the meantime we’re trying some experimental rules that kind of creating quarters without really creating quarters, but you get some of the same benefits such as a reset of the one-and-one and other things coaches are in favor of,” Hyland said.

Follow Ralph D. Russo on Twitter @ralphDrussoAP

Virginia, Seton Hall, Rhode Island, Vandy in NIT Tip-Off

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NEW YORK (AP) — Virginia and Vanderbilt will meet in one semifinal of the NIT Preseason Tip-Off on Thanksgiving Day at Barclays Center.

Rhode Island and Seton Hall face off in the other semifinal with the winners meeting on Friday, Nov. 24.

This is the third straight year the Tip-Off has been held at Barclays Center. Eventual NCAA champion Villanova won the event in 2015. All games will be televised on ESPNU.

Non-bracketed teams in the NIT Season Tip-Off who will play games at campus sites are: Austin Peay, Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, Oakland City and UNC Asheville.

Miles Bridges explain why he returned to Michigan State

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Miles Bridges changed the landscape of the 2017-18 college basketball season on April 13.

The Michigan State forward spurned the NBA for another year in East Lansing. The decision not only meant that Bridges was a frontrunner for national player of the year, but solidified the Spartans as a national title contender.

But Bridges’ choice to return was still puzzling to many. The 6-foot-7 forward was projected as a lottery pick. Bridges explained his decision to Mike Decourcy of Sporting News in a story published on Thursday.

“He says, ‘You know what, Coach? I want to get better. I don’t want to be in the D-League. I’ve got buddies that are, and I just want to make sure when I go, I’m ready,’ ” Izzo recalled to Sporting News. “I looked at him and I said, ‘Done deal.’ For me, that was a done deal. It was a reasonable, sensible argument.”

Agents, friends, reporters, scouts, acquaintances, fans, strangers and family members — oh and, as we said, coaches — all had one opinion about how Bridges should spend the next year of his life. Miles had another, opposing, viewpoint.

Bridges told Decourcy that support came from his teammates, many of whom were returning to the team as well. Assuming the backcourt of Cassius Winston and Josh Langford make a leap forward, as well as incoming freshman Jaren Jackson providing an immediate impact, the Spartans’ title hopes could become a reality.

Bridges averaged 16.9 points, 8.3 boards, 2.1 assists and 1.5 blocks as a freshman at Michigan State. He’s rated as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.

Four conferences sign on to basketball officiating alliance

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Four more Division I conferences will join a men’s basketball officiating alliance formed last year by the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, the Atlantic 10 and Colonial Athletic Association.

The Big South, the Ivy League, the Northeast and the Patriot League are joining ahead of the 2017-18 season, according to announcements from the leagues Thursday. The alliance launched last summer for conferences to work together on officiating matters and enhance training, development, recruitment, retention and feedback for officials.

John Cahill, the Big East’s supervisor of officials, and Bryan Kersey, the ACC’s coordinator of men’s basketball officiating, will continue to lead the alliance operations.

ACC commissioner John Swofford says the new additions to the alliance “provide an even greater opportunity to build chemistry and quality” across the officiating ranks.

North Carolina to unveil national championship banner in October

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The latest addition to the rafters of the Dean Dome will be unveiled this fall.

North Carolina will raise the banner for its 2017 national championship on Oct. 13, according to a report from Inside Carolina.

The event will coincide with the Tar Heels’ “Late Night With Roy” event that marks the public start to the season for the program and also serves, like many other top programs, as a recruiting tool.

North Carolina won its sixth NCAA national championship in April by defeating Gonzaga, 71-65, in Phoenix to avenge its last-second loss in the title game to Villanova the year prior. It was the Tar Heels’ first championship since 2009.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

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It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.