The NCAA approved a series of rules changes on Monday that will in theory help improve the flow of men's college basketball games and increase scoring. Beginning next season, the shot clock will be 30 seconds, down from 35, and the restricted area under the basket will be expanded from three feet to four feet.
Those are both welcome changes, and I hope the larger no-charge zone helps clean the game up a bit, but most of the onus there is going to fall on the officials, like it always has. There are other significant changes as well: teams will get only four timeouts for the entire game, and they can only carry three over into the second half. Previously teams got five and could carry over four. That should cut into the end-of-game timeout parade a bit.
And there are no more backcourt-violation bailouts: if you call a timeout while you're stuck in the backcourt, it does not reset the 10-second violation clock. Coaches are no longer allowed to call live-ball timeouts.
The women's game is also getting a significant overhaul, with a move to a four-quarter format and a resultant change to the bonus/double-bonus foul structure. Additionally, timeouts called in the final 60 seconds of regulation will advance the ball beyond midcourt, so that will create some extra late-game drama, NBA-style.