On Friday, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee proposed a handful of rule changes with one of them having the potential to alter the game in a pretty big way.
If approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel on June 5, the college basketball 3-point line will be moving back nearly a foot and a half to 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches, the same distance used in international play.
Now, there are several different reasons for this rule. One reason, and probably the most obvious one, is that players are generally getting better at shooting 3-pointers every year.
This move will add slightly more challenge to the shot and it has already proven to make the shot more difficult during the 2018 and 2019 NIT’s when the international line has been used. In the 2019 NIT, teams shot the ball at a 33 percent clip from deep compared to a regular season average of higher than 35 percent.
So, while it makes the shot harder, it does not make so much of an impact that it will drastically change the game in that sense. Great shooters will still be great shooters but reaching that level will require a little more range than previously.
Also, the move would be expected to further make the lane more available for driving and passing lanes than in previous years. The defense will be required to cover more of the court as teams initiate their offenses further away from the basket.
I am of the belief that spreading and spacing the floor to attack the rim or create open shots off the dribble drive is the most fun brand of basketball to watch. In theory, expanding the 3-point line would make it even easier to play that way.
The other noteworthy proposed rule change was to reset the shot clock to 20 seconds rather than a full 30 seconds after an offensive rebound.
The NBA made a similar change this season with the shot clock resetting to 14 seconds after offensive rebounds and the league promptly averaged its highest points per game average since 1970-71 (which is weirdly the only time the Milwaukee Bucks won a title and it is starting to seem like they’re going to do it again this year but that has nothing to do with what we’re doing here).
The majority of teams in college basketball aren’t exactly racing the shot clock on every possession anyway, but this would certainly speed up the pace of games ever so slightly and continue to push the game to as fast as its ever been. Sign me up for that.
All in all, I think both of these proposed rules would be good for the game and I’ll be interested to see whether or not they’ll pass officially on June 5. In the meantime, you can read more about the other rule changes proposed on Friday right here.