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NCAA approves rules changes to 3-point line and shot clock

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The rules changes should improve the flow of the game and continue to provide an advantage offensively

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

College basketball is going to look a little different next season as the NCAA approved some changes to both the mens and women’s game. The most prominent of changes come to the 3-point line — which moved back to the international distance of 22 feet 1 34 inches — and the shot clock — which now resets to 20 seconds on an offensive rebound.

The rules changes were tested over the course of the NIT tournament which caused the overall pace of play to increase and only saw a minor dip in 3-point shooting. From the NCAA release:

The committee cited the following rationale for extending the line:

Making the lane more available for dribble/drive plays from the perimeter.

Slowing the trend of the 3-point shot becoming too prevalent in men’s college basketball by making the shot a bit more challenging, while at the same time keeping the shot an integral part of the game.

Assisting in offensive spacing by requiring the defense to cover more of the court.

Teams in the 2019 NIT averaged 23.1 field goal attempts in the tournament from behind the arc, compared with 22.8 3-point attempts in the 2018-19 regular season. The 3-point shooting percentage of teams in the 2019 NIT was 33%, compared with their regular season average of 35.2%.

So the second point is a little short-sighted. The “trend” of the 3-point shot isn’t going anywhere, and an emphasis on skill and shooting isn’t a bad thing for basketball. The NBA is as popular as it’s ever been and it’s been built around the three point shot. Of the 16 NBA playoff teams only San Antonio attempted less than 30% of their shots from behind the 3-point line. Meanwhile only 14 teams in the entire NCAA shot below that mark last year (and only two of those teams made the tournament — Kentucky and Minnesota).

In the same release the NCAA noted the last time the line moved back there was a dip in shooting of 0.8% which took a few seasons to recover. That move was from 19 feet 9 inches to 20 feet 9 inches. This move is slightly more drastic this time, moving back nearly a foot and a half.

I don’t foresee this affecting Mizzou Basketball much on the offensive end. Surely their percentages will dip like the rest of the country but overall they’ve welcomed the “trend” of basketball and worked the last two seasons on spreading the ball around the floor and getting guys into positions to make 3-point shots. I don’t think Mark Smith or Torrence Watson will see much change, as they’re talented shooters already and I think both could see their numbers finish above the 40% mark by the end of the season.

If you want to worry, I’d worry about Xavier Pinson, Dru Smith, Mario McKinney, and Javon Pickett. All guys who aren’t known for being great shooters, but the extension of the should help them get to the rim a lot easier.

The other changes

  • Shortening the shot clock upon an offensive rebound should quicken the pace a bit.
  • Allowing coaches to call a non-deadball timeout under 2 minutes just makes sense. I get what they were going for with the change before but this is a small change which needed to happen.
  • Technical fouls assessed when players use derogatory language about an opponents race, sexuality, etc... This wasn’t already in place?