The bad news in Jeff Goodman’s sourced report on the NCAA Basketball Committee meeting currently happening in Indianapolis is that there is not likely to be a shot clock reduction from 35 to 30 seconds.
The good news is that the committee is likely to make changes to the block-charge call that will favor the offense and the committee is likely to call for a new emphasis on existing rules dealing with hand-checking and contact with cutters on offense.
In an effort to improve the game and make it more free-flowing, there will be emphasis placed on the current rules (on pages 109 and 110 of the rule book) regarding hand-checking and cutting. This was the case a couple years ago when the NCAA emphasized cutting down rough play in the post. The issue here is consistency since refs work different leagues and there is no one governing body that has any legitimate power over all the officials. NCAA director of officiating John Adams truly only controls who works the NCAA tournament, but has little to no juice over individual leagues.
Will this be enough to help a game that often slipped into stagnant this past season?
That depends on how serious college basketball is about changing things. The fact that it won’t reduce the shot clock as a whole — Goodman says it might be reduced to 20 or 25 seconds after a foul is committed instead of returning to a full 35 seconds — makes me wonder if this all isn’t window dressing when bold moves are needed, but I’m willing to give some benefit of the doubt. For now.
During the NCAA Tournament, Louisville coach Rick Pitino talked about “freedom of movement” and how when the NBA became bogged down, commissioner David Stern stepped in and outlawed hand-checking and “standing up” cutters, etc. That worked.
In college, Pitino said that after 10 games, coaches and players would adjust to the new guidelines. The problem is that college basketball doesn’t have a David Stern. It’s a fractured entity with no one truly in charge.
I’m on record as wanting a shot clock change, but perhaps favoring offense on block-charge calls and cracking down on physical play will be enough to produce more points. We shall see.