Every year, the NCAA Rules Committee takes a look at college basketball to determine if there are things that need to be changed for the upcoming season. The last couple of years were pretty benign, only changing some rules about what could be worn, extending the coaches box (much to the chagrin of UNC play-by-play man Jones Angell), and so forth. When the Playing Rules Oversight Panel meets on June 5th, they are reportedly going to go a little further this year.
The Rules Committee has recommended the following that rule changes be implemented in time for the 2019-20 season:
- Moving the three point line to the International distance of 22 feet 1 3⁄4 inches.
- Resetting the shot clock to 20 seconds instead of 30 on an offensive rebound.
- Allowing coaches to call a live-ball time out in the final two minutes of the second half and overtime.
- Adding goaltending to the items that can be reviewed in the final two minutes of the second half and overtime
- Calling a Flagrant 2 foul and ejecting any player who insults a player’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.
The change in the three point line is the headliner, as it moves the three point line back nearly two and a half feet. The idea, as explained in the article above, is that the NCAA is trying to at least slow the progression teams have been making to become three-centric, mimicking the trend in the NBA. At the same time, it should help shooters hoping to make a mark in the league as the line will only be about a foot and a half closer in than the NBA distance, and in the analytically beloved corners it’ll be almost the exact same.
The idea of slowing the reliance on the three was backed up by a rule change the committee didn’t approve: the widening of the lane to the NBA distance. The combination of the new line distance plus the current thinner lane, ideally, should encourage more teams to try to play closer to the basket.
How does this affect Carolina, you may be wondering? Well, considering they have their best inside recruit in years coming in, added to an already deep group down low, it should put the Tar Heels in the position to get closer to Roy Williams’ preferred style of play: inside out. Presumably, it’ll take time for shooters across college basketball to adjust to the new line, and Carolina should be in a good position to take advantage just by not changing too much from who they are.
Also, here’s an interesting factoid: the last time the NCAA extended the three point line? The 2008-09 season. Not a bad season for the Tar Heels, if you recall.
The shot clock change also shouldn’t be discounted. The rationale for the move was that since a rebounding team already has the ball on their side of the court, they don’t need the extra ten seconds to set up. For a team like Carolina, a rebound usually is followed by a quick second shot and rarely a full reset, so they shouldn’t be affected. The change, though, should at least push teams that are known more for milking said clock. Not that there’s a team like that in the ACC or anything.
The live-ball timeout rule change mostly seems to be about eliminating the needless act of a player bringing the ball up to the bench just to turn around and call the time out. Note it being live-ball timeouts, meaning when a player is trying to inbound the ball, it’s still on the player to call the timeout. It’s a small change, and mostly seems to cut out some unnecessary actions.
As far as the goaltending change, well, anyone who saw LSU beat Kentucky back in February knows why this change was made. It’s one of those “well, if we are doing reviews, anyway, why can't we look at this?” This, of course, means more time with refs looking at monitors which is great for the game, right?
The combination of new rules is the most substantial for college basketball in a while. They still have to be approved, but frankly that’s a foregone conclusion. So get ready for the court to have a new look when the Tar Heels appear for Late Night with Roy in October for the second straight year. It might not be as emotionally meaningful as the naming of Roy Williams Court, but it’s almost definitely going to make an impact on the games we watch.