The 2015-16 college basketball regular season officially gets under way on Friday, November 13th, with over 150 games across the college basketball landscape to finally satisfy our cravings for NCAA hoops.
This season promises to be one full of excitement mixed with a little bit of drama along the way. With so many great teams across the country, this season will be a wide open race towards Houston and the national championship.
Over the next few days, leading up to the day that the season starts, we will be taking a look at 10 of the top story lines for the upcoming season. While they all may not feature the biggest programs in the country, these are headlines that will be talked about over the course of the season and can alter several conference races down the stretch.
Story Line #7: Rule Changes!
In the off-season following the 2014-15 campaign, potential rule changes were on the agenda for the NCAA in both men’s and women’s basketball. The main focus was on increasing the pace of play, while other improvements were also being considered.
They used the 2015 NIT as a testing ground for a pair of major rule changes, and they seemed to be a welcome change to the game.
When the dust settled, several rule changes were approved and will come into effect for the 2015-16 college basketball campaign. Below, you can find a few of the more significant rule changes that you will see this season.
Last season in the NIT, the tournament used a 30-second shot clock for the games. After overlooking the data, it was determined that there were no negative effects from reducing the shot clock from 35- down to 30-seconds. With that, the 2015-16 college basketball season will use the new shot clock for the entire season.
In a rule that has baffled many over the years, the NCAA prohibits players from dunking in pre-game warm-up drills. Much to the delight of fans all across the country, pre-game dunking is back! The NCAA will now allow players to throw down in pre-game warm-ups, creating some more excitement around the games.
In the 2015 NIT, the NCAA experimented with a restricted-area arc of 4ft as opposed to the standard 3ft area. When compared to the 2013 NIT tournament, the number of block/charge plays decreased from 2.77 per game to 1.96, as per the NCAA. So, with the decrease in fouls as a benchmark, the restricted-area arc in the paint will now be extended to 4ft.
Game Time (Women’s)
Traditionally, college basketball games are played with two-20 minute halves. For the men’s game, that will remain constant for this season and the foreseeable future. However, on the women’s side of things, that’s changing as of this year. In an attempt to break up the game a bit, the Women’s NCAA will now play four 10-minute quarters as opposed to two 20-minute halves. It will be interesting to see how this translates in the Women’s NCAA, and how long it’ll take before it gets implemented in the men’s game.
Number of Player Fouls
Just like last season, the NCAA will use post-season tournaments to test out potential rule changes for the coming years. The NIT saw the 30-second shot clock last year, and now the NIT, CBI, and the CIT will see another potential modification during their games. During these three post-season tournaments, players will have six personal fouls before they are out of the game, as opposed to the regular five that they have now.
Pace of Play
Addressing the pace of play issue was at the front of the line when discussing potential rule changes in the NCAA. People worried that games were getting too long, and something needed to be done about it. In all fairness, some of the games were stretched on a bit too long, with several timeouts being called in the last four minutes of the game and the media taking timeouts at the same time. With the pace of play issue at the top of the lists, the NCAA has made the following changes, in addition to the shot clock, to address said issue:
• Adjusting the media timeout procedures to allow a timeout called within 30 seconds of a break (at the 16:30 mark) or at any time after the scheduled media timeout becomes the media timeout.
• Removing the ability for a coach to call timeout when the ball is live.
• Allowing a total of only 10 seconds to advance the ball to the front court (with a few exceptions).
• Reducing the amount of time allotted to replace a disqualified player from 20 to 15 seconds.