Do you, like millions of fans, enjoy the 3-point shot? You can credit the three for high-scoring games, quick momentum swings, incredible late-game comebacks and thrilling buzzer beaters. Well too bad. Because there’s going to be an awful lot less of them in college basketball this year.
(Get ready for an awful lot of this.)
The NCAA made the rule change last May, moving the three-point-line back a foot to 20 feet, 9 inches. But the repercussions are only now being felt, as teams begin practicing. “I say, ‘OK, shoot 3s,’” said Washington State coach Tony Bennett, “and a large percentage of guys have their foot on the line.” Hope you like 58-56 basketball games.
It’s been getting ridiculous in recent years, with the NCAA line being four whole feet closer than the NBA line. Last year Division 1 schools set records in both 3-pointers made and attempted. While coaches have been complaining since its inception in 1986, this will be the first rule change to curb scoring.
“Percentages are going to drop,” Arizona State guard Derek Glasser said. “A lot of big men aren’t going to shoot as many 3s. A lot of guys shoot right on the line, and it may not look like a (long) distance, but that extra foot makes a big difference.”
It may take a while for players to adjust, especially since the women’s 3-point line will still be at 19′9″. You know how frustrated you get when a player puts up a needlessly long 2-point shot, and if he had just moved a half-step backward, it would have been a three? Yeah, get used to that.
But the most valuable casualty of the rule change might be excitement itself:
“You’ll see nationally more teams (play) zone,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “When you play against zones, you have to be more patient. So you’re going to see a slower-paced game because it takes time to break down a zone. The reason they put that rule in was they thought it was going to open the game up. I think it’s going to have the opposite effect.”
And you thought the zone was dead after John Chaney retired.