30-second shot clock

NCAA adopts college basketball rule changes for 2015-16 season

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The NCAA announced important rule changes for the 2015-16 on Monday.

Men’s basketball will go from 35 to 30 seconds for the shot clock, a three-foot restricted-area arc is now four feet and five timeouts per team per game has been changed to four (with no more than three timeouts carrying over to the second half from the first).

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is chaired by Belmont head coach Rick Byrd, also decided the 10-second backcourt clock will not reset when a timeout is called and they eliminated a coaches’ ability to call live-ball timeouts.

The shot clock moving to 30 seconds is obviously the biggest change to the game for fans and it’s meant to give each team’s offense more possessions and scoring opportunities. The reduction of timeouts also makes the game more watchable towards the end since it will mean more game action instead of a ton of stoppages and commercial breaks.

With the move to the four-foot restricted-area arc the hope is that it will reduce the number of collisions under the hoop that can at-times frequently stop play.

Also of note, women’s college basketball on Monday elected to go to four 10-minute quarters. Could that be the next movement that starts to hit men’s college basketball?

Like Postseason NIT, CBI to feature 30-second shot clock

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Earlier this month the NCAA announced that the Postseason NIT would be used to evaluate a couple rules changes, with the block/charge arc in the paint being increased to four feet from the current measurement of three feet and the shot clock being lowered to 30 seconds being the two alterations. Wednesday afternoon the CBI, another postseason event, announced that it will also use the 30-second shot clock.

According to the CBI, the data gathered will be sent to the Division I men’s basketball rules committee. The committee, which is chaired by Belmont head coach Rick Byrd, will use the data to see whether or not a lower shot clock impacts scoring and pace of play.

“The NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee is very appreciative that the College Basketball Invitational has chosen to experiment with the 30-second shot clock this March,” Byrd said in the release. “The additional data we will receive from these games will be very meaningful to us as we meet this coming May.”

At this point in the season possessions are averaging just over 18 seconds, per Ken Pomeroy’s numbers. Will that average change in postseason play? And how will that translate to the regular season should the rules committee shorten the shot clock? Those are questions they’ll look to answer in May, and more data can’t hurt in that regard.

Surveyed coaches want shorter shot clock, but is that guaranteed to improve offensive production?

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With the NCAA announcing last week that it will experiment with a 30-second shot clock throughout the Postseason NIT, many have wondered if this will lead to a permanent change in the near future. In a poll conducted by Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com, nearly 60 percent of college basketball coaches surveyed would like to see the 30-second shot clock become the standard.

Amongst the others polled, approximately 30 percent would prefer the clock remain at 35 percent and ten percent want the shot clock lowered to 24 seconds. The NBA and FIBA use a 24-second shot clock, and this is one reason why some coaches support a move to 24 seconds.

“I think we should all have a 24-second shot,” Villanova coach Jay Wright told ESPN. “Consistent. It’s NBA and international. We should all learn to play the game the same way. The game is still the game. Everything you do to the game, everyone’s adjusted.”

“We are only country that doesn’t have 24 seconds,” Central Florida assistant Tim Thomas added. “There are [15-year-olds] in FIBA competition all over the world that are able to play with a 24-second shot clock. But we can’t?”

But the question needs to be asked: would shortening the shot clock truly speed up the game?

According to kenpom.com the average possession in Division I basketball has taken just over 18 seconds (18.3 to be exact) this season. And that’s with more than half of the 351 teams currently having an adjusted tempo of 65.1 (the national average) or lower.

Shooting percentages and scoring averages have decreased in recent years, but I don’t believe changing the shot clock is the remedy. There were initiatives to increase freedom of movement but that didn’t have the desired effect, nor was there the level of consistency needed to ensure that the changes would take hold and impact the game for the better.

With games turning into whistle-laden contests that left many complaining about the resulting parade to the foul line and lack of flow to games, the physicality slowly creeped back to where it was before the changes were made.

If there are any words that stick out in the quest to improve offensive production in college basketball, it was what Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said following his team’s 90-74 win at Duke in mid-January.

“We don’t run offense, we play offense.”

That simple comment was one that grabbed people’s attention, as the Hurricanes let their guards go to work in ball-screen situations as opposed to running structured sets that can (in some cases) be easier to disrupt.

With the resources available to college programs being what they are today, with analytics websites and video programs such as Synergy being far more detailed than what was accessible in the past, there are fewer “secrets” in games. Add in the freedom of movement issue, and offensive production tends to drop even if possession length hasn’t changed a whole lot.

If college basketball looks to change the shot clock to be more in line with other leagues (the women use a 30-second clock), that’s one thing. But maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to assume that shortening the clock automatically means that games will speed up and points will become more plentiful.

SEC coaches in favor of using experimental 30-second shot clock

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Two weeks ago at its conference meetings, the ACC announced that it would experiment with a 30-second shot clock for exhibition games during the 2014-15 season. Some coaches have already expressed their approval of the move, and their feedback following those exhibition games will be key as the conference (and maybe college basketball as a whole) considers changing a clock that has been set to 35 seconds since 1993.

And if the coaches in the SEC have their way, they’ll also be able to experiment with the 30-second shot clock in 2014-15. At the SEC’s annual league meetings this week, men’s basketball coaches have approved the use of a 30-second shot clock during exhibition games.

All that’s left now is the stamp of approval from the conference’s athletic directors, who will discuss the matter in their own meetings this week.

For some a quicker shot clock would surely mean an increase in scoring, while detractors have opined that defenses are at an advantage due to the fact that they have to defend for five fewer seconds. As for South Carolina head coach Frank Martin, he sees another issue at play when it comes to increasing the amount of offense in college basketball games.

“I think the shot clock is the last concern why it doesn’t flow. The NBA has a 24-second shot clock and I just watched an NBA team score 36 points in a half the other day,” Martin said. “We’re talking playoffs, not a boring game at the end of January.

“Our problem is not with shot clock or defensive styles. Our problem is we’re under-teaching the game at the grassroots level.”

In an attempt to increase scoring in recent years the NCAA allowed its officials to crack down on contact on and off the basketball, and there was also the adjustment to the block/charge call that certainly agitated some participants (and fans, as well). It will be interesting to see what the findings in these exhibition games are with regards to the effectiveness of the 30-second shot clock, since those results will likely impact what other conferences across the country choose to do.