CHICAGO (AP) If Michigan State coach Tom Izzo had his way, college basketball would take a few more pages from the NBA rulebook.
“If I was the czar for the day, I’d try to get every rule like the NBA, personally,” he said Thursday. “I just think that we’d have a better working relationship.”
The NCAA is instituting several rules changes and issued a directive to officials in an effort to speed up the pace of play, create more movement, cut down on stoppages and strike a better balance between offense and defense.
One of the most notable rules changes is the reduction of the shot clock from 35 seconds to 30, a move Izzo applauds. He would not mind playing four quarters instead of two halves, although he is not advocating bumping the length of the game from 40 minutes to 48.
He just wants to see more similarities between the NCAA and NBA rules.
“You know, I get disappointed on the committees I’m on,” Izzo said. “I think you always hear, “Well, you don’t want to be like the NBA.” Why not? That’s what the kids want.”
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said he’s not sure that simply copying the NBA rule book is right for the college game, given the talent of the pros, the length of their season and the way rosters are constructed. But he does think there are things the NCAA can learn from the league. He also thinks the college game is better than the pros in some ways.
“What we have to do is find out a way to make the changes that are appropriate with 32 conferences, lots of different styles, lots of different talent level,” Delany said. “I don’t know that just en masse taking the NBA approach and dumping it on the colleges is necessarily the right answer. But I think it is the right answer to look at their game, see how they have made the changes. They have better, more plays at the rim. They have less block/charge. They have less congestion. They’ve taken their hands off the point guard, which I think was a good adjustment.”
TOURNAMENT TIME: Northwestern enters its third season under coach Chris Collins with some promising talent and that same old albatross. The school that hosted the first Final Four still has not played in the NCAA Tournament.
“For me, it’s a matter of when that happens, not if,” Collins said.
The Wildcats won five of their final eight games after dropping 10 in a row to finish 15-17 last season. Six losses during that slide were by single digits, including an overtime defeat at Michigan State.
If Bryant McIntosh builds on a promising freshman season (11.4 points per game) and seniors Tre Demps (12.5 points) and Alex Olah (11.7 points) provide a little more scoring, this just might be the year the Wildcats make it.
BANGED UP: With a long list of injured players, Illinois coach John Groce opted to make light of the situation rather than shed tears.
“I tried to make sure, when I got up out of bed this morning, that I didn’t trip over anything or, you know, tried to remain healthy between the walk from the hotel room down the elevator here to the press conference,” he said.
Illinois added starting guard Kendrick Nunn to the list this week after he injured his left thumb in practice. The junior was expected to see a hand specialist Thursday, and Groce wasn’t sure about the extent of the injury let alone how long he will be out.
Sophomore forward Leron Black had knee surgery earlier this month that is expected to keep him out up to six weeks. Freshman guard Jalen Coleman-Lands is out with a stress fracture but expected back by the Nov. 13 opener against North Florida. Guard Tracy Abrams will miss the season.
HEADING EAST: Media day next year will be held in Washington, as will the 2017 conference tournament.
HE SAID IT: Wisconsin guard Bronson Koenig, who figures to get more scoring opportunities this season: “Sometimes when I’m falling asleep, I kind of think of how many opportunities I’m going to have this year. Feeling the pressure a little bit here and there. But it’s going to be good for me. It’s going to be a feeling process of when to kind of take the shots, when to take over.”