Changes on the way in college basketball

Men’s college basketball teams will have to get into their offenses more quickly in 2015-16 and women’s teams have a new wrinkle with four 10-minute quarters instead of two 20-minute halves.

The changes, approved Monday by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, will also be in effect in the NJCAA. In men’s basketball, that means a 30-second shot clock instead of the 35 which has been in place since the mid-90s. Teams also will have three timeouts instead of four.

One change is being approved on a trial basis in NCAA Division I basketball in 2015-16 involves extending the restricted arc — the area outside of which a secondary defender has to set up to take a charge — from three feet to four.

“Typically when the NCAA puts something in as a trial, the following year the NCAA and NJCAA will adopt it,” said State Fair athletic director Darren Pannier, who also serves as director of women’s sports in Region 16.

Pannier said there would be some cost for some institutions as they would have to redo their floor to include the wider arc.

State Fair men’s basketball coach Kevin Thomas thinks the change in the arc will make it harder for players to take a charge.

“I think there’s going to be a lot more guys able to get to the rim and finish without worrying about guys stepping up and getting a collision, getting a charge,” he said. “It’s going to change the way guys play the game.”

He also feels the shorter shot clock is an idea who’s time has come.

“I think the powers-that-be want to see a faster, more up-tempo game,” Thomas said. “Right now you see some teams that get the ball and bring it across halfcourt and kind of play with it for a little bit then get into an offense to waste time. I think what it will do is it’s going to make for less upsets because there’s going to be more possessions in a game. Teams aren’t going to be able to slow the game down and they’re going to have to get up a shot with five less seconds.”

Thomas does not think the shorter shot clock will have much effect on the Roadrunners.

“The way we play, we’re pretty up-tempo anyway so very rarely do we get in a position where we’re getting shot-clock pressure,” Thomas said. “We won’t have to adjust very much but there will be teams that it’s going to bother a little bit.”

In women’s basketball, the new season will bring with it several changes including 10-minute quarters.

Teams will also receive a two-shot bonus after the fifth foul in each quarter.

“We still want to run and press and go as much as we can,” said Lady Roadrunners coach Kevin Bucher. “I don’t know that will change much.”

Another change in the women’s game will allow defenders to hand-check with a forearm or open hand with a bent elbow. Bucher is already looking at ways to use that change to State Fair’s advantage, including using a smaller lineup.

“If you put an undersized post player on a bigger post player, I think it’s going to be able to benefit the undersized post player because they’re going to be able to spin around them,” he said.

Though change is on the way, Thomas said coaches and players will be able to adjust.

“You look at the history of the game, there’s always been changes,” he said. “At the very beginning, there used to be a peach basket and they’d have to go over with a broomstick and knock the ball out every time someone would score. When they invented the 3-point line, people thought it was the end of the game. Now it’s something that people use as a weapon. Kids adjust. Coaches adjust. I think it will be fine. It’s still basketball.”

Sedalia Democrat
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