If you're a college basketball fan, and it can only be assumed you are since you've come to this site, you probably don't think there is much wrong with the game.
However, even the most ardent supporters have to admit that there are improvements that can and need to be made. While those who say college basketball is "unwatchable" are wildly off base, there's no denying that the college game needs to evolve from some of the rules of yesteryear.
The NCAA seems to have gotten the message, as the rules committee has come out with a number of new regulations, including a 30-second shot clock, adjustments to timeout procedures and an enlargement of the restricted zone.
Slicing five seconds off the shot clock will have an obvious effect on the game. Less time to shoot means more shots and more possessions and an overall increase in pace of play. The Big East is a conference that could see a dramatic change from the new shot clock. Very few teams in the conference like to run-and-gun, favoring slower half court sets. Last season, St. John's led the league in possessions per game, ranking 63rd nationally (69.6). DePaul was the only other team in the conference to rank among the top 100 teams nationally (69.0, 85th).
Now, five seconds isn't so much time that scores will start shooting into the 90-100 point range on a consistent basis, but there's no denying scores will increase.
In addition to speeding up play via the shot clock, the rules committee also came down hard on an aspect of the game that often brings it to a grinding and never entertaining halt; timeouts. The rules committee isn't messing around in this regard. They voted out a timeout in the second half and included a decision to get officials to enforce stricter return to play time periods, with delay of game penalties and even technical foul shots possible for teams that are too slow. Media timeouts also got some attention, as timeouts called within 30 seconds of a scheduled media timeouts will count as the media timeout. (Did that sentence feature the term media timeout enough?)
Changing the shot clock and timeout rules shows a focus on making the college game faster, but the rules committee also wanted to address the increase in physical play. A lot of the NCAA's release about the proposal speaks about being sterner when it comes to rules already in place, including those added about perimeter defense prior to the 2013-14 season. But tacked on to those directives is a change to the restricted zone, expanding it to four feet from three, which would mean fewer charges.
The NCAA is also hopping on the expanded replay bandwagon, if marginally so. Officials will now be able to review shot clock violations at any time.
But, perhaps the most important change to the college rules since the invention of the shot clock itself is the return of pre-game dunks. That's right, the NCAA rules committee included a reversal of their no-fun rule, which did not allow dunks during the layup lines prior to games. That means ridiculousness like this won't happen any more.
If all these changes work the way they are designed to (and that will take time as teams adjust), there will be more points on the scoreboard and less time standing around waiting for games to continue. That's a win for anyone who likes basketball, college or otherwise.