Earlier this week, amid the hysteria, the NCAA found time to announce several experimental rules for the upcoming 2018 NIT. This is nothing new; the governing body of college sports has used the NIT as test study for new rules several times in the recent past.
The 2015 NIT is famous now for when men’s college basketball experimented with a 30-second shot clock and a restricted area widened to four feet. We have subsequently seen these rules implemented, too.
i'm (often) excited by new rules experiments https://t.co/1xCYo5hEEg
this ESPN data is coarse, but it indicates that bumping the 3pt line out shouldn't depress shooting percentages much
21' – 32.9
22' – 37.3
23' – 36.2
24' – 35.4
25' – 35.6 pic.twitter.com/ZtDKNd3OWp
— c ryan campbell (@seeryanc) February 28, 2018
In 2017, the NIT was once again used a laboratory for college hoops, so this will be the third time in four years something like this has occurred.
Information is a good thing; it opens the doors for progress. The more data that can be captured on improving the game, the better. This is exactly what this low-risk process allows for.
The Experimental NIT Rules
The 2018 NIT will feature four rules modifications:
- The three-point line will be extended by approximately 1 foot 8 inches to the same distance used by FIBA for international competition (22 feet 1.75 inches).
- The free throw lane will be widened from 12 feet to 16 feet, consistent with the width used by the NBA.
- The games will be divided into four 10-minute quarters as opposed to two 20-minute halves. 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.
When could we see these things outside of the NIT?
Well, it may be a little while, depending on how things go this March. The NIT wraps up March 29 at Madison Square Garden. According to the NCAA: the “playing rules process has a two-year cycle, and the next possible rules change date is May of 2019.”
In other words, we may see these experimental rules become a part of college basketball, but it wouldn’t be until the 2019-20 season, at the earliest.
So, which ACC teams could be pioneers when it comes to trying out these new rules? Two teams rise to the top of my mind, quickly.
According to BracketMatrix.com, nine ACC team are currently projected as NCAA Tournament teams. In this current scenario, Syracuse — losers of three of the last four games — would be one of the first four teams left out. Syracuse competed in the 2017 NIT, too — losing at home in the second round to Mississippi. One would have to think, if the Orange missed out on the Big Dance again, that Jim Boeheim’s club would be an appealing invite. There’s still lots of basketball to be played; Syracuse could easily earn an NCAA Tournament bid.
Boston College, though, barring a Brooklyn-based miracle (although who knows with Jerome Robinson) is likely out of contention for the NCAA.