I love college basketball. And because I love it, I can say that it’s broken. Maybe not all the way broken, but it’s certainly not as good as it can and should be. At all other levels of basketball, rules are often tweaked and changed in the offseason to make the game better. The NCAA, the behemoth that it is, has been slow to change for a lot of things, but especially to the rules associated with college hoops. In that mind, I have a few fixes that I believe will make the college game better.
Timeouts: The NCAA should take away a timeout in each half. Too often, the last 2-3 minutes of a closely contested game lasts for nearly 15 minutes in real time. Not only that, but with too many timeouts, coaches tend to overcoach their teams. Too many timeouts lead to longer games and more frequent stoppages of game play, ruining the flow of the game for the players and the spectators.
Officiating. I’m the first one to say how tough a job it is to officiate a basketball game. The players are bigger and faster than ever and it’s extremely different to process so much in real time. But, there needs to be more consistency with how every college basketball game is officiated. And to that point, it’s time for the NCAA to take control over the officiating. Officials are calling too many games and traveling too much to be effective on a nightly basis. Plus, there needs to be accountability for officials. Officials need to be graded and there should be explanations given for controversial calls.
Three Point Line. The three point line needs to be moved back. Defense has taken over college basketball, in part, due to the congestion close to the basket. By extending the three point line back, offenses will have more room to operate and, to quote ESPN’s Jay Bilas, have “freedom of movement” that is currently lacking. And, hopefully, with a the three point line at a farther distance, this will dissuade marginal shooters from taking three-pointers, increasing offensive efficiency.
Those are three ideas that could improve the on-court product for college basketball. The NCAA is going to have to be forward thinking to keep the college game on par with the NBA and international basketball. The time is now to change the game for the better.