College Basketball Shot Clock Reduced to 30 Seconds

By David Kenyon

A common criticism of college basketball is calling the 35-second shot clock an unnecessary amount of time for an offensive possession. Well, lovers of offense, your gripes have been heard.

According to the NCAA, five seconds have been eliminated from the allowed time, dropping the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds. Plus, teams are now allowed four timeouts per half, rather than five.

Matt Brown of Sports on Earth noted the existing problems in this era’s college basketball games, which sometimes feature a stagnant pace due to a constant barrage of timeouts—both from the coach and mandated media breaks.

“In previous years, there have been four built-in media timeouts during each half of a game (so, eight total), and on top of that, each team is given five timeouts per game, four of which can carry over, if unused, to the second half. That means there can be — and often there are — as many as 18 timeouts in a game, in addition to the increased number of stoppages for replay reviews.”

Most importantly, though, there’s a couple tweaks to when a timeout can be called and the result of a certain timing. Per Brown:

“[I]f a team-called timeout occurs within 30 seconds of a media timeout, that called timeout will actually count as the media timeout, eliminating situations in which a coach calls timeout, one play happens with a stoppage and a media timeout is then called. Coaches also won’t be able to call timeouts during live play.”

Finally. No more coach-called timeouts with 8:01 on the clock, then after the commercial break, a quick foul at 7:58 leads to a media timeout.

The new system won’t be perfect, but college basketball should get a little more rhythm back in the game.

Now, this won’t stop programs like Wisconsin from slowing down the pace and using the entire shot clock, but the Badgers (and others) must prepare to score a little more next year.

According to college basketball stats guru Ken Pomeroy in a special to Deadspin, when the NCAA instituted the 30-second shot clock as a trial run during the three non-major postseason tournaments (the NIT, CBI and CIT), the result was small, yet clear:

“Adjusting for the matchups and expected points in each game, scoring in the smaller tournaments has been about 5.6 ppg more than the NCAA tournament. This is 2.4 ppg higher than the typical difference in these events.”

The change isn’t a clear-cut resolution to every one of the sport’s problems, but reducing the shot clock is a step in the right direction for college basketball and its watchability.

Photo: USA Today Sports