NCAA basketball shortens shot clock: The implications of a faster, higher-scoring game

Zachary Thomas, Contributing Writer

March Madness has begun. The NCAA and NIT tournaments are in full swing. This year, the NIT tournament is experimenting with some changes to the game with the shortening of the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds. This change creates a faster, higher-scoring game and helps prepare college basketball players for future professional careers.

NCAA men’s basketball has been playing with a 35-second shot clock since the 1993-1994 season. Since that time, scoring has decreased to a record low with an average of 67.5 points per game in the 2013-2014 season. The implementation of the 30 second shot clock is an attempt to make the game more exciting and faster-paced for fans and players.

So far in the NIT, the shot clock has done exactly that, with many of the scores of the games in the 70s and 80s. Looking to our own University program, the Bison men’s basketball team participated in the NIT this year with a first round loss to number one seed Temple with a score of 73-67. 

“Our NIT game versus Temple was played with a 30 second shot clock and it gave our game a little more flow than our games played with the 35 second shot clock,” Associate head coach Dane Fischer said.

“The shorter shot clock creates a better pace to the game for players,” point guard Stephen Brown ’18 said.

Another reason for the use of a shorter shot clock is to finally catch up with the game professionally and internationally. NCAA women’s basketball plays with a 30 second shot clock and both the NBA and international leagues play with a 24 second shot clock.

It is time for men’s college basketball to change to a shorter clock. A shorter clock will help prepare student-athletes who go on to play professionally so it is not as big of an adjustment. Some coaches even think the shot clock should be 24 seconds period, so that there is no adjustment.

Other coaches, players, and fans are opposed to shortening the shot clock. They believe that it will create more possessions which will favor the bigger, more talented programs.

“More possessions in the game gives a better evaluation of who the better team truly is,” J.C. Show ’18 said. This could result in less upsets and decrease the popularity of the NCAA tournament.

While this could be true, all signs are showing that in the near future a shorter shot clock will be implemented in men’s college basketball. Although it will require some adjustment at first, a shorter shot clock will be better for the game and its fans in the end.

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