For the first time in a decade, the NCAA has approved extending the 3-point line in Men’s College Basketball. The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel (NCAA and Oversight don’t belong in the same sentence but okay) announced their decision to use the international distance, citing the following reasons:
- Making the lane more available for dribble/drive plays from the perimeter.
- Slowing the trend of the 3-point shot becoming too prevalent in men’s college basketball by making the shot a bit more challenging, while at the same time keeping the shot an integral part of the game.
- Assisting in offensive spacing by requiring the defense to cover more of the court.
Since its inception and use in the March 1987 NCAA Tournament, the distance was 19 feet, 9 inches. Prior to the 2008-09 season, the distance was moved to 20 feet, 9 inches, where it has been for the past decade. The new distance will be 22 feet, 1 3⁄4 inches, and will go into effect for the 2019-20 season for Division I. Division II and III will see their distance moved for the 2020-21 season. Conjecture is that schools in these tiers might have more of a financial impact in placing new lines on courts. For your reference and to save you the Bing search, the NBA 3-point line is 23 feet, 9 inches. The gap will now be 19.25 inches, as opposed to the 36 inches it has been for the last decade.
Do you remember the NIT? Trying to forget? Well, in case you don’t recall those other games that happened after the ACC tournament, the NIT has used the FIBA 3-point line in its last two years. The NCAA received positive feedback from coaches, and also noted that 3-point percentages decreased in the NIT, attributing this to the increased distance. Not a great sample size, and the teams participating in the NIT may not be the best 3-point shooter to begin with, but one can see the logic.
The last line increase was 12 inches, which wasn’t a big impact in retrospect. It seems like this 16.75 inch increase should produce the intended result. Whether that result was needed in the first place is up for some debate, I reckon. Teams that are stellar shooters will be able to take a big step back and keep shooting. Guys like Markell Johnson will still be able to make threes. The first people impacted will likely be the “stretch 4” types, who are being used more prevalently to open up defenses.
Other Rule Changes
One of the low key major rule changes will be the change to the shot clock. If the offensive team secures the offensive rebound, they will now not get a full 30 second shot clock reset. Instead, the clock resets to 20 seconds. This should improve the pace of the game, and likely increase possessions. It should also help teams who are behind late in games. This rule change was also used in the NIT this year.
Additionally, coaches will be allowed to call live-ball timeouts in the last two minutes of the second half and the last two minutes of any overtime periods. Players on the floor had to previously call all live-ball timeouts. Get ready to see coaches sprinting across the floor to get a referee’s attention to issue a timeout.
Another rule change is to issue a technical foul if they use derogatory language towards an opponent. Hard to believe this wasn’t already a thing, but it’s good that it’s there now.