Basketball purists find joy in watching teams like Virginia play stifling defense or Princeton run methodical half-court sets. Some however felt as though the college game was getting too bogged down over the past few seasons, so the NCAA has implemented a few rule changes for the 2015-16 season designed to increase scoring and speed up the overall pace of play.
The three most significant rule changes are; the shot clock being reduced from 35 seconds to 30, the restricted area underneath each basket being extended out from three feet to four feet and the number of time outs teams will have at their disposal in the second half has been reduced by one, to three.
Scoring in the college game has been on a downward trajectory of the past few seasons and the NCAA has taken steps to try and change that. Reducing the shot clock from 35 seconds to 30 will add a minimum of 14.5 possessions to each game, theoretically giving teams more opportunities to score points.
Aslo recently a big point of emphasis and contention has been the block/charge call officials have to make. This call is the most difficult and perhaps the most judgmental one a referee has to make. To help alleviate some of that pressure the NCAA adopted the NBA’s rule of a restricted arc under each basket. In order to draw a charge call the defender must establish position completely outside the arc. Last year saw a reduction in the number of collisions underneath the basket so the NCAA has decided to extend the arc out another foot to four feet from the basket, they hope resulting in even less collisions.
Even the most hardened college hoops fan gets annoyed with the number of stoppages that take place late in games from either unnecessary fouling or timeout after timeout being called. To that end, the number of timeouts a team is given will now be four instead of five and the most they are allowed to carry over into the second half of a game is three.
One more change that has been adopted involves the 10-second call when a team is trying to get the ball over half court. In the past if there was a stoppage from a timeout or the ball going out of bounds the 10-second count would reset. Beginning this year teams will have 10 seconds to get the ball over half court whether there is a stoppage or not.
What kind of consequence this has on the game remains to be seen but it’s clear the NCAA feels the game needs to be sped up and is trying to take steps to make sure that happens.