As ESPN reports, there will be multiple rule changes to NCAA Men’s Basketball for the 2015-2016 season.  While the shot clock dropping from 35 to 30 seconds has been the most discussed change, there are a few more tweaks this season that will change the game as we know it.  The rule changes to the 2015-2016 season are as follows:

  • The number of timeouts each team can use in the second half has been cut from four to three.
  • Any timeout called within 30 seconds of a media timeout (16, 12, 8 and 4-minute marks) will count as the scheduled break.
  • The arc underneath the basket will be extended from 3 feet to 4 feet.
  • Coaches will no longer be allowed to call timeouts during live ball situations.
  • With only a few exceptions, teams will get just 10 total seconds to advance the ball past half court instead of resetting the clock if there is a stoppage.
  • The amount of time teams have for a substitution when a player fouls out has been dropped from 20 to 15 seconds.
  • Officials will be instructed to start play more quickly following timeouts. If a team does not comply, it will be given a warning. Each additional offense will result in a one-shot technical foul.
  • Refs can now use replay reviews for potential shot clock violations on made baskets throughout the game.
  • Players can now be penalized for faking fouls.
  • Class B technical fouls (such as hanging on the rim and delay of game) are now one-shot infractions instead of two.
  • Players can now dunk during warm-ups.
  • The five-second rule when a player is dribbling has been eliminated.

In addition to these rule changes, the NCAA will begin experimenting with a sixth foul during next season’s lower-tier postseason tourneys, much like the NIT had the 30 second shot clock last season.

It seems all of the rule changes are attempting to speed up the game, or at least make the game more enjoyable to watch.  While you may think the “no dunking during warm-ups” rule was absurd, there have been several instances where players have damaged the goal causing the game to be delayed as they fixed/replaced the basket.  I guess technology has finally caught up with the times and the rules committee is confident the days of people like Shaq destroying backboards is over.

It’ll be interesting to see how these rule changes pan out.  I assume the shot clock change will increase scoring, as theoretically there should be at least 11 more possessions per game on average.  Teams losing a timeout in the 2nd half will give the game more flow, as the final 2 minutes of close games may take less than a half hour in actual time with both coaches having one less stoppage.  I love how players can now be penalized for flopping, although it is unclear what the penalty will be (foul? technical?).  I look forward to seeing how the new rule is interpreted, and can’t wait for this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball season to get under way.

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