Some more rule changes might be coming to the NCAA game

Jeff Gross

The men's basketball rules committee has been trying to speed up the game a bit and make it more fan friendly.

The overlords of college basketball's rules want the game to flow better. They got the process going by eliminating hand checks and reducing the number of charges, and it looks like some more rule tweaks are on the way this offseason, Yahoo! Sport's Pat Forde reported on Thursday.

Scoring hit an all time low in the 2012-2013 season and it looks like the rule changes (more rule enforcement than anything else) helped rectify the situation. As Ford reported, in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, scoring was up 4.2 percent and offensive metrics pretty much increased across the board.

Of course, this change came with a bit of a learning curve for both the players and the referees. Some games would be called like complete free-for-alls, and other games were called beyond tight. Gonzaga's NCAA Tournament game against Oklahoma State was an example of the latter where a total of 60 personal fouls were called.

The proposed rule changes don't have anything to do with fouls this time around, and taking a quick look at them, it definitely looks like they would help speed up the pace of the game.

Here is a quick rundown of some of the more important ones.

  • Reduce the number of timeouts
  • Widening the lane
  • Reducing the shot clock to either 30 or 24 seconds
  • Elimination of live-ball timeouts, moving towards the FIBA international rules

I for one am completely in favor of less timeouts. Currently, coaches have five each, and this doesn't include the media timeouts and potential review situations. A two point difference in the college game with a minute left can easily take close to 15 minutes and it turns what can be a very exciting finish to a game into an absolute crawl of a race between a slug and a snail.

I'd be surprised if the shot clock was reduced to 24 seconds for a lot of reasons, but mainly that I don't think college teams are good enough to get a good shot off consistently in 24 seconds. Not only that, lowering the shot clock from 35 to 24 is reducing the possession time by 32 percent, and there is bound to be some blow back from the coaches on that. Lowering the clock to 30 should give each team quite a few more possessions. More possessions means more points, and generally speaking, more points means happier fans.

Again, these are just ideas being thrown around, so nothing is necessarily in the works yet. The intention is pretty clear though -- the NCAA recognizes that higher scoring games are more exciting games, and as an organization is slowly working to that goal. I wouldn't be surprised to see one or more of these changes introduced next year.

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