By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
On Friday, the NCAA men’s basketball rules committee announced that it would recommend some rule changes that will go into effect for next season, pending an NCAA vote.
The recommendations include shortening the shot clock from 35 seconds to 30, increasing the restricted area arc in front of the basket from three feet to four feet and reducing the number of timeouts from five to four, with no more than three carrying over from the first to the second half.
Here’s a rundown of what these rule changes would mean for the St. Bonaventure Bonnies:
Great match for the personnel: The Bona roster is made up of athletes who can run the floor and get points in transition. A quicker tempo will serve this team well, and the VCU game in February is proof. SBU thrived in that game against Shaka Smart’s club, committing just nine turnovers and showing some real composure in the upset victory. Against a team that plays at a slower pace, like Rhode Island, the Bonnies have proven to be sloppy (15 turnovers against Rhody) and inefficient (just 18 field goals, with 35.3 percent shooting) in a losing effort.
The shorter shot clock will force teams like Rhody to embark a bit out of their comfort zone, while Mark Schmidt’s team should have an easier time adjusting to having five seconds fewer to work with.
Fewer timeouts means more flow: There has been a major lack of flow to the game the past few years, as timeouts, both team and media, have been called at a dizzying rate. The coaches are not going to be fond of these new timeout rules, but the players should be overjoyed in their increased freedom to just play basketball, and the fans should be overjoyed in their increased freedom to just watch basketball. The coaches get in the players’ way sometimes with their micromanaging styles. They are still going to micromanage, but the NCAA rules committee is reigning them in a bit, and that’s a start.
More offense= more excitement= higher attendance?: The majority of basketball fans would rather watch a run-and-gun game with a lot of points on the board than a defensive struggle, and college students are no different. The brown and white haven’t had any struggles with getting fans to Saturday games, but those Wednesday night games have been hit-or-miss as far as attendance. Too many seats have been left empty in the Reilly Center the past few years, and the rather unexciting college basketball product has had much to do with that.
An offensive explosion is the perfect way to get more behinds in the seats. If the game is played at a quicker pace, students and townspeople alike will be more inclined to brave the weather and come watch the Bonnies. This means more money for the university, and if you’ve been paying attention to SBU’s enrollment and financial troubles you know more cash is a good thing.
More clarity on block-charge calls: Whenever bodies collide in the post, the dreaded block-charge call is about to be made, and that’s enough to make any fan groan. More often than not, the offensive or defensive player has a legitimate gripe if they are charged with the foul, but an increased restricted arc should lessen those collisions. This means less foul trouble, which means the most talented players are more likely to be on the court at the end of the game, making for the best finish possible. It’s hard to see how any fan would be against that.
The rule changes, assuming they get approved by the NCAA, will be good for the St. Bonaventure Bonnies. Bona fans should be excited for a faster pace of play that fits the current roster, as well as less commercial time. The changes don’t make them the favorites in the Atlantic 10 or anything of that sort, but the overall quality of the game should be improved at the Reilly Center and throughout the country this year.