After repeated calls for change over the past year and beyond, the NCAA men's basketball rules committee has finally heeded the demands of coaches, fans and media alike. On Monday, the NCAA officially announced that the significant rule changes proposed in May had been adopted, and would take effect this upcoming season, including a reduction in the shot clock from to 30 seconds and changes in timeouts.
These changes, or variations of them, had been the subjects of much debate, especially over the past year. And invariably, many coaches expressed their opinions too.
One of those coaches just happened to be Northwestern's Chris Collins, who's already had quite a unique taste of the game's different flavors in his basketball career. Collins played in college back in the early '90s; he participated in NBA training camps; he played overseas in Finland; he was a WNBA assistant coach; he has coached internationally with USA Basketball; and now he has returned to the college game as both an assistant and head coach.
Back in March, speaking during his weekly spot on the Big Ten media teleconference, Collins shared his own ideas for fixing the game. Here's a look at what NU's head man had to say, and whether or not the recent rule changes reflect his opinions:
Key rule changes
- The shot clock has been reduced from 35 seconds to 30 seconds. Collins was in favor of this change:
"I would like to see the shot clock go down. I think 30 would be good. I wouldn't mind 24, but I think 30 would be a happy medium for sure."
- The number of timeouts available to each team has been reduced from five to four, and no more than three of those four can be carried over from the first half to the second half. This is not something Collins specifically addressed, but he did have the following idea:
"I would like for there to be, similar to the international game, no live-ball timeouts. You cannot [call a timeout] -- if a guy's trapped in the corner, if you're fighting a ten-second count in the backcourt. Guys have to learn how to make plays, not being able to, if there's a loose ball and a guy dives on the floor, call timeout. I think that would kind of quicken the pace and make it more interesting where guys have to make plays."
The rule change would appear to be in line with Collins' thoughts. To some extent, fewer timeouts could make players a bit more hesitant to call time when trapped or in a tough situation.
- The restricted area under the basket has been extended from 3 feet to 4 feet. This is not something Collins addressed, but he seems to be in favor of opening of the game -- something that, in theory, this adjustment will do:
"I like for the players to be in positions where they have to make plays. I think that's a key thing."
Other rule changes
- Officials will now be allowed to go to replay to review potential shot clock violations at any point throughout the game. Previously, they had only been able to do so in the final two minutes.
- Dunking in pregame warmups is no longer prohibited. Somewhere, Dave Sobolewski is lamenting the fact that he doesn't have one more year of eligibility. To clarify, this rule only applied to warmups that began with 20 minutes or less until game time to avoid last-minute basket malfunctions. In a March game at Iowa, Alex Olah broke Iowa's shot clock in a pregame dunk contest but Northwestern wasn't assessed a penalty because it came before that 20-minute benchmark.
Northwestern pregame dunking caused this to happen. pic.twitter.com/HQ9Ur4uIGV— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) March 7, 2015
- The 2016 NIT, and other postseason tournaments not including the NCAA Tournament, will be a testing ground for a six-foul limit, as opposed to the current five-foul limit.
Foul trouble too often affects games in college basketball, but if the move to six fouls is eventually made -- the same limit as the NBA, but with 40-minute games as opposed to 48-minute games -- intentional fouls could become an issue. It's been a big complaint throughout the NBA postseason this year, and with abysmal free-throw shooters even more prevalent in college basketball -- new Northwestern graduate transfer Joey van Zegeren shot 31.7 percent from the free throw line last season -- that could be a major issue.
And hey, the NIT is very realistic for the Wildcats this year, so this rule could be something that comes into play down the road.
- There is no more five-second closely guarded rule as long as a player maintains his dribble.
- Technical fouls for hanging on the rim are, unfortunately, not eliminated. But they will now result in one free throw for the opponent.