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NIT will use 30-second shot clock next month, a rule change Bill Self favors

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Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) delivers a dunk before Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue (22) during the first half on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) delivers a dunk before Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue (22) during the first half on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

College basketball fans unaware that the NIT still exists might have reason to tune in next month to the tournament that steadily has faded from prominence.

The shot clock for the 32-team men's tournament that features the best teams that come away empty on Selection Sunday will be reduced from 35 seconds to 30 in order to see what impact it has on scoring and pace of play, the NCAA announced Friday. Also, the restricted arc area under the basket will be extended from 3 feet from the center of the basket to 4 feet.

Kansas coach Bill Self consistently has spoken in favor of shaving the shot clock to 30 seconds.

“A lot of coaches are not in favor of shot-clock reduction,” Self said last month when the discuss the down-ward scoring trend in college basketball. “They think that if you have trouble scoring now try getting a shot earlier in the clock where you don’t give the defense a chance to break down. I’m not one who feels that way. I think the shot clock should be reduced because coaches will adjust and try to score earlier in the clock than if there was a 35-second clock, as opposed to 30, but a lot of coaches across America do not feel strongly about that at all.”

In announcing the NIT's participation in serving as guinea pigs for the two potential rules changes, the NCAA defined the restricted-arc, which became a rule in the 2011-12 season, thusly: "A secondary defender cannot establish initial legal guarding position in the restricted area for the purpose of drawing a charge while defending a player who is in control of the ball - either dribbling or shooting - or who has released a pass or shot. When contact occurs in the restricted area under these circumstances, a blocking foul should be called unless the contact is a flagrant foul."

I like the idea of expanding the restricted area a foot because it subtly promotes offense and should make a player less tentative when driving to the hoop and rewarded more often for blowing past his man.

The NIT holds an important place in college basketball's tradition, so it's cool that the NCAA has kept it alive and has found another reason for keeping it relevant by making it a laboratory for potential rules changes.

The NCAA Men's Basketball Rules Committee meets May 13-15 in Indianapolis and discussing the data from the NIT games is on the agenda.

“The committee discussed both of these potential rule changes during its May 2014 meeting, knowing that the May 2015 meeting would be the committee’s next opportunity to make a change to either of these rules,” said Belmont coach Rick Byrd, who chairs the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee. “Although the committee will discuss a number of potential rules changes at the meeting, having specific data on these two rules should help the committee make a decision about whether such potential rule changes might further improve the flow and competitiveness of college basketball.”

Promoting offense is the way to go, especially if done with subtle rules changes, which isn't to say low scoring can be blamed on the rules.

"I think a lot of that is bad offense," Self said. "I think it’s easier to coach defense than offense a lot of times and it’s easier to stop people than exploit people. I think a lot of coaches feel that way. But our players’ skill set I don’t think is quite as good. I think it’s just generally going down in large part because we don’t have as many great players playing in the college game as what we’ve had in the past because none of them stay past their sophomore year.”

The biggest influence on the decline in skill is one nobody ever discusses: Video games. Leisure time once spent shooting hoops now is spent slaying dragons or putting up jumpers as LeBron James.

Comments

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 11 months ago

I don't think video games are that high up on the list for why the skill level is declining. My personal take is AAU and ESPN are much bigger culprits than video games. ESPN's emphasis of highlights and singling out players has created a culture of players out to get theirs instead of developing their ability to function within a team atmosphere. AAU should be what the youth soccer academies are in Europe to develop the skill set of kids while playing against elite competition at the same level. The second half of that happens, but not the first and that's the issue.

The NBA could has also been hurt by AAU and ESPN because there are just too many kids who think they're NBA ready out of HS when that's just not reality. LeBron is the only person who was truly NBA ready out of HS. Kobe, KG, Jermaine O'Neal, and others who eventually had success out of HS. The NBA really needs to move their age limit to 21 and three years removed from HS because there are just too many kids not ready for the NBA going early and hurting their careers by doing so. LeBron James was going to be great no matter if he had to go to Ohio St. or not. Kwame Brown on the other hand is someone who would've benefited greatly from going to Florida and spending a year or two learning from Billy Donovan. There are many more Kwame Brown's than LeBron's and the NBA needs to make the rules to protect the Kwame Brown's of the world because the LeBron's will be great in the NBA no matter when they get there unlike the Kwame Brown's who needed development from the college level that they never received.

Joe Joseph 3 years, 11 months ago

"The biggest influence on the decline in skill is one nobody ever discusses: Video games. Leisure time once spent shooting hoops now is spent slaying dragons or putting up jumpers as LeBron James."

GET OFF MY LAWN!!!

Joe Joseph 3 years, 11 months ago

Both rule changes should be adopted immediately!!! College basketball is brutal to watch at times! Also, institute a defensive 3-second call!!

Michael Lorraine 3 years, 11 months ago

I'd rather be the last team to make the big dance and first team to exit than win the NIT.

Dave Miller 3 years, 11 months ago

I'm not in favor of shortening the clock. I am in favor of shortening the amount of silly fouls called by officials during games. The really 'brutal' games I've watched were games where an inordinate number of fouls were called, seemingly stopping the clock every 20 seconds or so... I know I exaggerate some, but the only brutal games were ones that the flow of the game was disrupted so often by the seemingly endless whistles during the game.

David Steward 3 years, 11 months ago

I remember the days of Moe Iba at Nebraska and how frustrating it was when the Cornhuskers would get a four point lead and that was the end of the game for the Hawks. Nebraska controlled the ball, didn't turn it over, and made free throws. It was a brutal pace.

I remember the infamous UNC game when Smith held the ball for the entire second half. I believe they scored only four points in that half to defeat Virginia and Ralph Sampson. I watched it live. It was brutal. It was also the final straw to bring about the college shot clock.

I remember the inconsistent pace of college ball across the country prior to the shot clock. There were games in the 30's. There were also the UNLV's, Oklahoma's, and Marymount's where 100 points was not unusual.

But the bottom line was the variety. Teams had flavors and personalities. Princeton ran back cuts over and over until they got a layup. Big, powerful teams worked the ball to take advantage of their inside presence. And you had every kind of style in between.

Today there are fewer styles because the shot clock reduces the validity of slow-paced offense. Is it better this way? My opinion is not at all. We had bad games without a shot clock. We have bad games with a shot clock. But we have more bad possessions with the clock. It is inevitable. Teams get down to the end of the clock and have to throw up a bad shot.

And do you know the dirty little secret about the college shot clock? Scoring has gone down in the shot clock era, not up. More possessions and more empty trips. Keep in mind that the scoring reduction happened right as the three point shot came into the game.

We have the NBA. When did the college game become so broke that we have to fix it? Why does college ball have to become more like the NBA? Can't we have a choice? Last time I looked the NBA wasn't exactly dominating ratings.

The shot clock creates a more singular style of play. I would like to see it go back to 45 seconds rather than shorten it. If a team is strong enough to force its style of play at a fast tempo it will result in a high scoring game. If the deliberate team is able to dictate tempo the score will be lower. But at least we let it be decided on the court, not by some committee that decides for everyone. And it is more inclusive of a variety of styles, and a variety of athletes.

I am sure I will get flamed and insulted. Some will call me old-fashioned. You know, I'm 55. I have followed college ball since the early 70's. I have seen all kinds of play for decades. Having the experience, I can say that I choose diversity over an arbitrary limitation of playing styles. I respect Bill Self but I believe he is making the wrong call on this play.

Jerry Walker 3 years, 11 months ago

Video games? Effin video games? jajaja.

I thought that I'd seen every episode of "The Twilight Zone"...but I surely must have missed the one about "Double Chin Music".

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call "Double Chin Music".

Greg Lux 3 years, 11 months ago

Does anyone pay attention to the number of shots per game that are taken with 5 seconds or less on the shot clock? I would bet there are very very few. I believe its more of a mental thing then an actual change.

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