Men’s basketball rules committee recommends changes

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee approved a package of proposals which included enhancements to the pace of play, attempting to get a better handle on the block/charge call, and other suggestions to create better balance between offense and defense within the sport, especially focusing on defensive physicality.

Fans of every team will wonder what kind of effect these changes will have on the game and to their team’s chances of winning.  My guess is that there won’t be any major changes for anybody in the A-10 but there are some things to keep an eye on for the upcoming season.

Ron Hunter, president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches and men’s basketball coach at Georgia State University had an interesting quote today. “Although the reduction in the shot clock to help increase scoring seemed to be the most discussed topic, the increase in the physicality of play has been a major concern for coaches. The NCAA rules committee has addressed that this week with an emphasis on perimeter defense and post play,”

I think that fans will immediately look to the shot clock reduction as the most important change and understandably so when so many people want to talk about the lack of scoring in college basketball but it isn’t that simple.  The physicality of defenses and their ability to gain an advantage against the offense over the past few years has become a major point of contention between coaches and the NCAA.  When you take into account the incredible scouting and resources available to coaches at all levels, the lack of scoring goes well beyond an outdated shot clock.

Some key areas the committee has looked at include:

  • Physicality in post play.
  • Screening, particularly moving screens and requiring that the screener be stationary.
  • Block/charge plays.
  • Allowing greater freedom of movement for players without the ball.
  • Perimeter guarding and actually enforcing the directives put in the book before the 2013-14 season.

URI, GW, VCU, UR, La Salle, SLU, Dayton, and others have been very physical at various times throughout the past few years.  All of the teams listed can be very physical in the post and do a nice job making cutters run through traffic and contact to get open.  Everyone knows about VCU’s perimeter defense and how much hand-checking it uses.  These things could be more difficult to get away with for defenses next season if the refs are consistent in enforcing the changes.  Advantage goes to Davidson and Dayton.  Strong ball movement/sharing oriented offenses with sold point guards.

Arc (restricted area)

Moving the restricted area arc from 3 to 4 feet from the rim opens up the paint a little bit more and could reduce the number of  block/charge calls in the game.  I love this move mainly because the block/charge call has become a serious pain in the ass for college hoops over the past 5 years.  The refs will continue to miss this call but moving the arc out a foot has the potential to lower the number of collisions around the basket and give shot-blockers a real advantage.  Hassan Martin and Mo Alie-Cox are ready.

Play Fast

A 30 second shot clock will get things headed in the right direction.  I don’t understand why the NCAA doesn’t use a 24 second shot clock but beggars can’t be choosers.  30 seconds is a win.  Less time for teams to hold the ball and be unproductive on the offensive end of the floor.  Get the ball, get into your stuff, get some movement, and get up a shot (hopefully a good one.)

Davidson, VCU, UR, Duquesne, and Dayton all can score quickly and in bunches.  Rhody definitely has the players to put up points in a hurry.  St. Joe’s, Bona, and even GMU could benefit from a quicker game next season.  Lots of teams in the A-10 with an interesting transition to make.

Rhody, UR, VCU, GW, and Dayton have to be excited from a defensive perspective.  Less time to for offenses to get into a rhythm against a variety of defenses.

A couple of other changes to note:

  • Allowing only a total of 10 seconds to advance the ball to the front court (with a few exceptions).
  • Removing the ability for a coach to call timeout when the ball is live.
  • Eliminating the five-second closely guarded rule while dribbling the ball.
  • allowing officials to penalize faking fouls during the use of video to review a possible flagrant foul.

I have always thought the fact that the 10 second clock in the backcourt gets to restart after a timeout was a bit of a crock.  Now you get 10 seconds to get the ball across half court.  Good stuff.

Like I said earlier, this isn’t earth-shattering stuff.  What it is though is exciting and a sign of progress. The game is better when it is free-flowing with lots of movement and balanced scoring.  I’m not saying I want to see 100-98 scores and I seriously doubt we will.  I would just like to see the advantage taken away from the defenses or at least reduced a little bit.


Brian Keiper is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and has a M.Ed from University of Richmond. He teaches, coaches, and spends way too mu...