You may have noticed that the NIT looked a little different this year. The NCAA made the decision to institute a 30-second shot clock for the secondary postseason tournaments, as a trial for the proposal. The CBI and CIT tournaments also enacted the rule, that would give teams five-fewer seconds to get a shot off before losing possession.
"I think it's fair to say the buzz about the game is that scoring in the 50s can be ugly," NCAA rules committee chairman Rick Byrd told ESPN. "There's a lot of talk about it -- more coverage than ever before. All of that has created acceptance from the coaches' side."
The rule now seems likely to be enacted across college basketball next month, though it barely had any support prior to the trial this postseason. The committee meets from May 12-15 in Indianapolis and will review data and surveys related to the 30-second clock from March. The NCAA allows the committee to enact rules changes in every odd year, so if it happens, it will likely happen now, rather than be brushed off for another year.
Byrd told ESPN's Andy Katz that he felt that coaches, fans and the media were expecting his committee to make a move to impact scoring. Lowering the shot clock would, at the very least, improve the pace of play.
His committee controls the rules for all of NCAA basketball -- from Division III to Division I -- and the members of that committee are athletic directors and coaches from schools at those various levels of the game.
In addition to a shorter shot clock, the rules committee will also discuss the possibility of widening the lane and altering 3-point shot distance. Those proposals aren't expected to have as much traction, however, since it would require most schools to re-paint the lines on their floor -- especially a concern because it would affect smaller schools without major budgets as well, so the discussions of those would likely need to occur over a longer period of time. Further discussion of expanding the use of instant replay, however, could lead to changes.
Nothing is a done-deal just yet, but just as the block/charge arc was pushed into college basketball a few years ago to deal with problems, change will likely come to improve the pace of play.