The NIT is the tournament for losers. And experimentation.
Tennessee won’t have to worry about this tournament because we are winners. At least not in 2018 when the NCAA will test-run four new rules. This will be the third time in four years that the NIT has been used as a guinea pig.
Changes coming this year include:
- The three-point line will be extended by 1 foot 8 inches to mirror the FIBA basketball rules for international competition- 22 feet 1.75 inches
- The free throw lane will be widened from 12 feet to 16 feet, the same as the width used by the NBA
- The games will be divided into four 10-minute quarters. Teams will shoot two free throws beginning with the fifth foul of each quarter.
- The shot clock will reset to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound instead of the full 30 seconds
The style of play in men’s college basketball is healthy and appealing, but the leadership governing the game is interested in keeping the playing rules contemporary and trending favorably,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball. “Experimenting with two significant court dimension rules, a shot-clock reset rule and a game-format rule all have some level of support in the membership, so the NIT will provide the opportunity to gather invaluable data and measure the experience of the participants.
The three-point line moving back would create more space on the court. However, I’m not sure the skill-level of college players, especially on the NIT teams who it will be tested on, will produce positive results. The analytics have already shown that the three-point line is by far the better shot for players to take. Moving the line back will make that shot tougher. Will players defy math and start shooting more mid-range jumpers or will they keep shooting triples at a lower rate?
Widening the free throw lane will make it tougher for post players to camp near the basket.
Switching from 20-minute halves to 10-minute quarters is by far the most intriguing thing here. It’s a no-brainer. The worst thing about college basketball is when teams are in the bonus and shooting free throws for the last ten minutes of a half. This would eliminate that and reset it at the halfway point. Big win for everyone. Huge.
The shot clock resetting to 20 would obviously create more possessions for everyone.
Credit to college basketball for realizing that the product was, quite frankly, trash and trying to fix it.