Tag Archives: shot clock

Has College Basketball Lost Its Appeal?

March Madness. All you have to do is say those two little words and you conjure up memories for most red-blooded Americans who like to watch college basketball. When I think of college basketball I remember watching The Big East Conference or at the time the Pac-10 Conference game of the week every Saturday when I was a teenager. I could look at most teams and name just about every player on most rosters or at the very least be familiar with all the players’ names. Oh, how times have changed.

I don’t get the same amount of joy watching college basketball anymore. To me, it’s a difficult game to watch. People are going to say “the game is pure” or “they play it because they love the game” or “it’s the same game it’s always been.” You want to know what I say to that? To put it appropriately, I call BS.

The product is not very good at all in my opinion. People like a good product on the court or field when they go watch their teams, but right now they are not getting their money’s worth.

Everybody knows that the NBA is a players’ league. Well, NCAA college basketball is a coach’s league and let’s just say that the coaches are micromanagers of their players. Every possession is grinded out like they are trying to figure out if there was somebody on the grassy knoll. The players are not allowed to freelance too much because that means lost possessions to the coach and it probably means that the player will find himself on the end of the bench or seated right next to their coach getting an ear full of discipline. So to the player it doesn’t benefit them in any way to play a little loose and free. The free movement of basketball isn’t there for college basketball because the college coaches want to play the game in a phone booth and not out in the open like it should be.

After watching Pac-12 (Pac-10 as a youngster) basketball all my life and in person the last couple of seasons it is readily apparent that players don’t have the same skill set they once had. Oh, sure, there are the occasional anomalies that come with that ability to do everything, such as Jahlil Okafor. But, for the majority of players coming into college basketball they have one skill they can do. Some have good ball-handling, some are decent shooters, some rebound or play solid defense, but there are not players that leave college being better players than they were when they came into college basketball. Why?

Let’s be honest about what has happened in big time Division One college basketball. The one and done player is killing the game. Many of these players are just not ready to play on the Division One level, but have talent so the coaches are pressured to play these kids and suffer through the growing pains. The other aspect of college basketball is that it’s just a minor league for the NBA. When players have the opportunity to leave after a semester in college, the product on the floor will suffer greatly. These players are not ready for the professional ranks after four months in college.

College basketball is to the point of being unwatchable to many sports fans like myself. It’s slow, can be ugly, and it is unskilled. For the people that tell me that a 54-50 defensive ball game is fun to watch, I just roll my eyes. If I want to see two people mugging each other I will just watch the next episode of “Law and Order”.

There are wrestling matches in the paint, secondary defenders getting charges off stupid calls, guards playing hand to hand combat at the top of the key, officials with quick whistles slowing the game down to a crawl, and cutters trying to avoid collisions. When you add all this up, it’s not a shock as to why the visual of college basketball is so brutal these days.

“We are getting the game we deserve right now. College basketball is antiquated in the way they do things.” Said Jay Bilas, ESPN analyst and former Duke Blue Devil.

For the average fan, college hoops is boring to watch and the NCAA is not willing to change many things up to improve the product on the floor.

The NBA went through some changes to make the game more visually appealing to its fans. The fans and even people inside the NBA made complaints about how the game became ugly. So the NBA listened to them and over the last 20 years or so, the NBA has been a leader in making its game better. They have cracked down on hand-checking, flopping, backing players down in the lane, and for those actions, it is why the NBA is more visually appealing to fans now. It’s certainly more appealing to me.

The NCAA is suffering through a time where people are not paying attention to college basketball like they used to. Overall attendance is down, ratings are down, and scores are down. Teams are averaging about 67.2 points per game, the lowest average total since 1952, which tells me that college basketball players don’t have the offensive repertoire as they once did. They are certainly more athletic, but that doesn’t mean they are better overall players than their predecessors. Attendance is also down at college basketball games. Overall attendance is down for the seventh straight year and down roughly 360,000 people. In 2006 college basketball attendance averaged 5,237 people and now it averages 4,817. That may not seem like a lot, but to a school to lose roughly 500 paid people to a game means lost revenue that is difficult to recover.

What is driving these fans away? Are people being turned off by one and done players? The drop in skilled players? Maybe. To go along with the drop in attendance, the television ratings have also been declining. ESPN which carries a ton of games has had their viewing of college basketball drop by six percent in the last year. Has conference realignment affected this? I would say yes because the new conferences have taken away some very good rivalries which mean a lot to the fans of those schools, but to presidents of those schools it’s all about the money. Some type of change has to be made for college basketball to return to what it once was and the NCAA has to spearhead that change.

What can be done though? It’s not like the NCAA is an organization that likes to change things. It almost seems like the NCAA have to be dragged kicking and screaming toward that change for it to actually occur.

The NCAA has changed the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds to help out scoring, but when there are a lack of shooters in college basketball that point disappears. As I stated earlier, scoring is down to lowest levels in about 50 years, so what other changes does the NCAA need to look at to increase their ratings and slumping attendance?

Here are just a few ideas.

  1. Take away the possession arrow and replace it with the jump ball. I have hated this possession arrow rule since its inception, so I wouldn’t mind seeing it disappear.
  2. Move the three point line to the NBA distance which would open up the court for penetration.
  3. Get rid of the one-and-one free throw and make every foul the double bonus. This would eliminate the constant fouling at the end of many games.
  4. Make the 10 second backcourt time limit eight seconds.
  5. Put in the defensive three second rule.

Take those for whatever you want, but I think they would better the college game. They would open things up, provide for more movement, and make players play some better defense. No matter how much the NCAA likes to throw out the student/athlete story line, the NCAA is a business and if the product is inferior, the NCAA has to step in and improve it. I’m not saying that change will come anytime soon, but it needs to happen otherwise people will continue to walk away from college basketball.

Image: google

College Basketball Needs a Shorter Shot Clock

The overall excitement for college basketball seems to be waning. With College Football fandom arguably at an all time high, basketball needs to catch up. Teams are finding it hard to fill up stands like they used to. For example, Thompson-Bowling Arena (home of the Tennessee Vols) holds roughly 22,000 seats, and the Vols are having trouble filling 10,000 of those seats. Most would use the counterargument that the Volunteers haven’t exactly had the best season, and that’s true, but it’s not the reason for the lack of fans. Basketball fans have always been a little wishy-washy, and if their teams aren’t good, you won’t find them even watching on TV. Couple that with the fans’ sense of entitlement to a high scoring spectacle, and it’s a recipe for lower ratings. College football fans have become used to high potent, always exciting games, and basketball has suffered because of it. College football is simply more electrifying to watch than basketball right now. There are a good chunk of die-hard basketball fans, however, and they keep the sport going. The Vols aren’t the only program suffering when it comes to attendance, in fact, I would bet they are in the majority of NCAA Men’s teams having problems. Of course, programs like Kentucky, Louisville, Duke, Kansas, and North Carolina will always have support. If we want basketball to reach its previous popularity, a few rules might have to change in the process. The 35-second shot clock is one of those rules up for debate.

The shot clock was first introduced to the NBA, and forced players to shoot quicker than ever before. There was debate whether to include the shot clock in the NCAA until low scoring; boring games changed enough minds to implement the shot clock. Basketball has come full circle. No shot clock led to low scoring games, and the introduction of the shot clock energized fans everywhere. It made the game exciting again. Now, in 2015, we have the same problem, but for different reason. Fans are extremely bored with college basketball, and the only way to fix that is to make the game more exhilarating. The simplest way to do that is shorten the shot clock. We don’t have to change much, just take some seconds off of it. Maybe we could even adopt the NBA’s 24-second clock. ESPN published an article stating that a 30-second shot clock would be used in this year’s NIT tournament. A marvelous idea I might add.

The goal of shortening the shot clock isn’t to make the game faster, but to create more shots, and thus, thrilling action. With basketball games using a couple hours of TV time as it is, speeding up the game would only hurt college basketball. Creating more possessions, however, leads to higher scoring, fun basketball. Would you rather watch a game that ends 50-48, or 101-100? If I had to guess, I would say the latter. As Americans, we like action, and anything else bores us. Because of this, football has had to change its’ identity, and basketball will be next. If basketball wants to stay on par with other sports, that is.

The world we live in today is fast-paced, and sports have followed suit. Oregon football is the perfect example. Oregon scores a ton of points, plays fast, and is always exciting. For this reason, people flock to be fans of Oregon. I don’t see many people running to become a fan of any college basketball team, especially one without a storied history. The key to increasing the college basketball fan base is to create a fun, fast-paced sport that involves all ages. A step in the right direction would be the lowering of the shot clock. It doesn’t have to be a huge change, just something small like a 30 second clock. The NCAA will take notice of the clock’s viability, and the results will force the NCAA to cater to the new sports fan.

[tl;dr] Reduce Both the Men’s Shot Clock and Overall Number of Timeouts

A few weeks ago, Ryan wrote about adjustments college basketball should make in order to make the men’s game more competitive. One of the aspects he focused on was the shot clock, and it just happens that NCAA rules committee is considering a change to the shot clock in its biennial rules cycle. The current men’s shot clock is at 35-seconds, while women use 30 and NBA, WNBA, and FIBA each use a 24-second shot clock.

The intent of the shot clock is quicken the pace of the game so the offense cannot hold the ball for an unlimited about of time.

It’s obvious men’s college basketball has a scoring problem, and while shortening the length of the shot clock might be an obvious way to help correct the situation it isn’t the best solution. To me, the best remedy to basketball’s scoring solutions is fewer timeouts.

Basketball’s scoring problems are most prevalent at the Division I level in media games; that is games where timeouts are automatic every four minutes for broadcast media. In addition to four media timeouts per half, teams still retain their four 75-second timeouts (often expanded to 90-seconds for media) and two 30-second timeouts. Each team must use at least one of their 30-second timeouts in the first half or lose that timeout. Assuming teams use all of their timeouts there is a potential of 20 timeouts in one game.

TWENTY timeouts in one game!

Let that sink in.

The easiest solution to solve Division I’s scoring problem is to reduce the amount of timeouts in media games. We know broadcast media will not give up their structured timeouts, so the best solution is to either reduce the overall number of timeouts to say three per game, or make all non-media timeouts in media games 30-seconds.

As far as reducing the shot clock: yes, it will force more attempts, but that will not necessarily mean more made baskets or better shorts. Initially it will mean fewer of both.

Offenses will need to adjust to a shorter clock. A 30-second clock should also eliminate the requirement to advance to ball to the frontcourt in 10-seconds mirroring the women’s rule.

For college basketball, 24 seconds isn’t enough time for most teams to run a proper offense. In a time of giving offenses the advantage, the best solution is to reduce the clock to 30-seconds along with reducing the overall number of timeouts.

tl; dr is a tech nerd term for too long; didn’t read. the purpose of these posts is to provide a quick summary and analysis of something interesting in the sports world.

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