CRAWFORD | With 30-second clock likely on the way, six additional steps college hoops should take
Reports say that men's college basketball is about to adopt a 30-second shot clock. Eric Crawford says that's a good start, but not enough if they really want to jump-start offense in the college game.
Wednesday, April 29th 2015, 12:42 am EDT by
Wednesday, April 29th 2015, 12:45 am EDT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Men's college basketball appears as if it will follow women's basketball and the international game with the adoption of a 30-second shot clock. The rules committee meets May 12-15 and chairman Rick Byrd told ESPN he expects the subject will be addressed.
If you want a faster-paced, higher-scoring men's game, the shot clock move was a necessary step. But it's only a first step.
As pointed out
, shortening the shot clock alone isn't likely to improve the offense in college basketball by itself. Other changes are needed to pick up the pace of men's basketball games.
Here are my five suggestions for changes that should come along with the shortened shot clock:
1. PLAY THE GAMES IN QUARTERS.
High school basketball games are four eight-minute quarters. International games are four 10-minute quarters. NBA games are four 12-minute quarters.
College basketball is the lone holdout. Though college halves are broken up into segments by TV timeouts every four minutes, the halves have no natural breaks.
It's time for the college game to adopt the international timing. Play the games in four 10-minute quarters. Make the break between quarters five minutes, to absorb one of the TV timeouts lost. Grant another TV timeout five minutes through each quarter. This model would eliminate one TV timeout per half — and TV would have to find a way to make this work. Somehow, the Premier League finds a way to generate massive TV revenue without a single timeout in a 45-minute half. It can be done.
2. REDUCE THE NUMBER OF TEAM TIMEOUTS.
As you might've gathered from my discussion above, one of my biggest problems with the pace of college basketball games lies in the number of timeouts each team may burn.
One use-it-or-lose-it 30 second timeout each quarter, plus two full timeouts for the rest of the game ought to do it. The point of reducing timeouts is this — to put the game more into the hands of players and remove it from micromanagement by coaches.
3. BACK UP THE THREE-POINT LINE.
Teams are taking too many threes, and shooting them too poorly. NCAA Division I college basketball teams took just over 36 percent of their shots from three-point range last season. That's too many, given how most college teams shoot the three.
Right now, here's what we have in college basketball. Teams are either looking to get to the rim, or to spot up outside the three-point arc. There are some who work well in the mid-range, but most offenses are not trying to create mid-range jumpers at all.
Move the line from 20 feet, 9 inches to the international distance of 22 feet, and it will help create more spacing for the mid-range game. It may also reduce the number of three-pointers taken and lead teams to shoot a higher percentage.
4. WIDEN THE LANE.
Want to create movement? Widen the lane and create more open space. The NBA free-throw lane is 16 feet. So is the international lane. In college, it's 12 feet. College basketball should split the difference and expand the lanes to 14 feet. Want to really get things moving? Adopt the NBA's defensive three-second rule, wherein a defensive player can't stay in the lane for more than three seconds unless he's guarding someone directly. I'm not for this rule. I don't think introducing another thing for game officials to watch does much good for the game. I'd hold this option in reserve until I saw how the other changes worked.
5. GIVE PLAYERS SIX FOULS, BUT CALL ALL THE FOULS.
The new officiating initiatives announced before the 2013 season were working, but they fizzled out without any real explanation and one of their most important facet — the new interpretation of the block-charge call that mandated referees call everything a block unless the defensive player was set at the beginning of an offensive players move. That interpretation needs to be restored, and fouls again need to be called accurately. Coaches like to say that it was outcry from the media and fans that led to the initiative being rolled back, but I think coaches being angry at losing star players was at least as big a part. A sixth foul means you can stay aggressive on defense. If refs call fouls accurately, offense will open up.
6. ADOPT A REPLAY OFFICIAL
. When you say “replay,” everyone thinks “delay.” But that's only the case if you have game officials wandering over to the scorer's table, finding a monitor, getting the video rewound, etc. If football can employ replay officials at a central location, there's no reason basketball can't do it. Not only would this lead to better officiating, but would cut down on replay review time, which in college basketball games is beginning to get excessive.
There are more things that could be done. But these are a good start, and would undeniably encourage more offensive movement and reward more offensive minded teams. It's not that defense needs to go away, but the physical, logjam kind of defense that has come into fashion needs to go.
These steps would dislodge some of that, and bring movement back to the game. Are there others? I'm open to suggestions in the comments section.
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