The NCAA Rules Committee today recommended rules changes for the 2015-2016 season, with a focus on pace of play. The comprehensive list of changes are highlighted by a reduction of the shot clock to 30 seconds. The Committee's recommendations will go to the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which will discuss on June 8th whether to formalize the new rules.
Here's a look at what would go into effect next season, assuming all the NCAA recommendations are approved:
Pace of Play:
- Shortening the shot clock from 35 seconds to 30
The most visible and surely most discussed change, shortening the shot clock aims to increase the number of possessions and thus increase scoring, which dropped to 67.6 PPG last season. Though it's likely that the shorter clock will lead to lower efficiency numbers, KenPom estimated that scoring was 4.5% higher because of the change during last season's NIT, during which the 30 second clock was experimented with. (That said, the rule changes between 2014 and 2015 make the true effects of the shorter clock hard to tease out - comparing scoring alone, PPG actually decreased from the 2014 NIT to the 2015 NIT.)
The shorter shot clock will make it even tougher for teams to score against Virginia's Packline defense. Tony Bennett likely recognized that when he came out in support of the rule change earlier this spring. UVA opponent's possessions were the sixth longest in the nation last year, and they'll have less time to work with next season. Offensively, the Hoos are similarly methodical (possessions were 31st longest), but showed the ability to run when needed. It'll be an adjustment, but not one that the team's incapable of making.
- Removing one team timeout in the second half
- Counting a coach's timeout as the media timeout if a stoppage would result in a media TO, or if a media timeout would come in the next 30 seconds
- Allowing only 10 seconds to advance the ball past half court (I.e. taking a timeout after 8 seconds would leave a team with just 2 more seconds to get it across.)
The NCAA will make a few other attempts at quickening pace of play. For example, they've finally taken a look at reducing the number of timeouts, and aimed to eliminate those annoying "double timeouts" caused when a coach stops play with a media timeout imminent.
Other Rule Changes:
- Expanding the restricted arc from 3 feet to 4 feet.
- Giving officials the ability to review "flops" on the monitor; a flagrant foul would be assessed if the officials decide a player faked a foul.
Fewer charges! (Sorry, Duke). Fewer flops! (Sorry, Duke).
- Giving officials the ability to review shot clock violations at any point in the game.
(That's so things like this don't happen again).
- Changing "Class B" technical fouls (like hanging on the rim) to one-shot technical fouls
- Removing the five-second "closely guarded rule"
- Allowing dunking during pregame warmups
Yeah, dunking is fun. But so is that closely-guarded rule! That's the only rule change I'm bummed about.
The NCAA also released some points of emphasis, focusing on tempering physical play:
The key areas the committee will focus on in the upcoming season are:
- Perimeter defense, particularly on the dribbler and strictly enforcing the directives put in the book before the 2013-14 season.
- Physicality in post play.
- Screening, particularly moving screens and requiring that the screener be stationary.
- Block/charge plays.
- Allowing greater freedom of movement for players without the ball.
These are basically a return to the style that was played during the 2013-2014 season. It seems strange to switch this up every year, but maybe the NCAA is serious this time around.