Amidst the build-up to this year's NCAA Tournament, many in the college basketball blogosphere rehashed a decade-old conversation that a 35-second shot clock slowed the game to near-mortuary levels of sloth. Coaches themselves felt the possession ticker needed speeding up, and on Friday the NCAA Rules Committee proposed a number of measures -- including the introduction of a 30-second shot clock -- geared to pick up the college game's pace-of-play. This is very much a good thing.
(You can read all of Rules Committee's recommendations to the Playing Rules Oversight Panel here. The PROP (?) will hold a vote on these changes sometime in June.)
Much of the rationale behind faster pacing rests on calls for more offensive production. Indicting the college game for too much defense may feel like an empty aesthetic argument, but last season's average scoring of 67.6 "neared historic lows for the sport," according to the NCAA. Thus, the committee thinking goes, Friday's recommendations will go some way toward equalizing the college game's offense-defense balance.
So what effect, if any, would this proposed rule change have on Rebel hoops?
Will this fundamentally affect Ole Miss' play-calling?
Probably not. Regarding Andy Kennedy's approach and strategy, one expects a negligible amount of heartbreak in Oxford. The Rebels certainly didn't push deep into their shot clocks last season, and more opportunities for shooting means more opportunities for one or more Basketbear to heat up. Moreover, the various tweaks to perimeter fouling should serve AK's guard-o-centric worldview quite well, insofar as he prefers the shoot-first-drive-the-lane-later style of play.
The Committee's emphasis on reduction of physicality also plays well into Kennedy's toolbox, since his current roster doesn't comprise the most violent of netmen. On the other hand, an expanded restricted area is going to require everyone to be more honest in their post defense, so who in the end knows for sure.
Other notable initiatives approved by the committee
Reduction of Physicality
- Officials will be advised to pay special attention to dribblers and so-called "close guarding" around the perimeter. One assumes that contact out in the yard will see a marked decline next season.
- Moving screens will be more tightly refereed.
- Allowing greater movement for players off the ball.
- Expanding the restricted arc from three to four feet in front of the basket, and thus reducing the number of offensive charges (this year's NIT experimented with an expanded RA and saw considerable results).
Increased Pace of Play.
- Shortened shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds. (Hilariously, the last time the shot clock was shortened was in 1993, from 45 damn seconds. What the hell.)
- Removal of one team timeout in the second half.
- Clamp down on delays coming out of timeouts (warning for first violation, one-shot technical foul for every violation after that).
- If a timeout is called within 30 seconds of a scheduled media timeout (like the under-16 break), the called timeout will now coincide with the media timeout.
- Coaches will not be allowed to call live-ball timeouts (Billy Donovan was always a fan of this, and perhaps now we know why he jumped to the NBA).
- No reset-after-timeout of the 10-second rule to advance the ball past midcourt.
NO MORE DIVES. NONE. IF YOU DIVE, YOU GET A T AND ALL THE REQUISITE SHAMING. DON'T DO IT, SHITHEADS.
The 2016 Dance will also play host to a test trial of six personal fouls allowed to each player. Coupled with the expanded restricted area rule, this move toward more fouls reflects the NCAA's overall desire to align itself more with the pros. Can't blame 'em, really.
Some of these officiating missives will undoubtedly turn subjective in practice, so look forward to next season, when we can all argue whether this or that technical foul earns one or two free throws, and dammit, he must shoot them while wearing roller skates.