Three weeks after announcing that they were considering changes to the rules, the NCAA has adopted those changes across the board.
The change which will generate the most interest is the move to a 30-second shot clock. I've long argued for a shorter clock, though my position has nothing to do with scoring (which is why the NCAA is changing it). Instead, I'm concerned about strategy. A 35-second clock gave slow tempo teams the ability to completely control the overall tempo of the game. All but two of Virginia's 34 games last season, for example, featured fewer than the NCAA average of 65 possessions. Their max was 67. They haven't played a 70-possession game in more than two years.
Reducing the shot clock will help teams that want to play fast.
Other great changes are coming to timeouts. There will be four now, instead of five. Play will be resumed more quickly following timeouts. And if called too closely to a set tv timeout, that whistle becomes the tv timeout.
These are all good things. They address the main problem - as I see it - which is stoppage of play. Forty minutes of action can now rarely be crammed into a 2-hour window. Basketball needs more basketball and less standing around.
Now, if they'll knock the top item off of my "saving basketball to-do list" and just get rid of all replay. [ducks]
So, to recap, the NCAA is doing the right thing. (What?!). They are speeding up the action and making more of it.
The rest of the rules changes must be great as well, right?
Two years ago the NCAA started calling chippy fouls on the perimeter in order to enforce a more free flowing game. What they got instead was a parade to the foul line. If you don't remember what that looked like, here is my recap of FSU's loss to Minnesota in 2013.
Refs - seeing that players were never adjusting to the new rules - did the right thing and simply stopped calling those meaningless fouls.
Now the NCAA is bent on enforcing those rules again. It's not really a rules change, per se, it's just a renewal of existing rules, and the NCAA felt the need to publicly commit to enforcing them again.
What would possibly make the NCAA think that enforcing chippy rules will cause the defense to stop committing them is beyond me. With ten giant, athletic, human beings running around on a small playing surface, potential rules violations will occur at a remarkable rate. All the NCAA is doing is saying," hey, we're gonna whistle those more often."
Basketball is a contact sport. Next year, more of that contact will result in free throws. Yay.
But we'll have fewer timeout breaks during which to complain about the officials.