It will take a little bit more for a men’s college basketball player to get three points next season after the NCAA announced this week that it will move the three-point line back to the international distance of 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches.
The rule change was one of a few approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel. The change will be effective for Division I in 2019-20 but not until 2020-21 for Divisions II and III.
With three-pointers becoming more prevalent in college basketball offenses, the NCAA wanted to extend the line for two reasons — to make the three-pointer a little more difficult and to promote more movement inside by extending offenses and defenses farther from the basket.
The influence of the change is yet to be seen. Will college players be able to move back the extra 1 foot and 4 3/4 inches and still be as effective? Some, like Oklahoma’s Trae Young a couple of years ago, didn’t have to worry about where the line was because of longer shooting range.
But just like anything in your life that you’re used to being in a certain place, when something is moved, it can cause you to have to think a little bit more of where it is. The three-point line that has been at 20 feet, 9 inches since the 2008-09 season is now moving, so players will have to be cognizant of that or put up long two-point shots.
The change will likely take some getting used to by players and coaches alike, but the possibility of more player movement on the interior makes it worth trying. Teams that utilize back-cuts will have more room to move if defenses are forced to extend farther out.
Who Gets Hurt?
Teams that rely on the three-pointer will have to work on taking longer shots or change up their offenses. Auburn made the Final Four and ranked third in the country with 11.4 three-pointers per game. Other major-conference schools like Villanova, Creighton, and Purdue averaged 10 or more made three-pointers last season, so they could be affected as well.
It might also hurt teams that are good at packing it in defensively but are still able to get out to defend the three-pointer. They’ll have a longer distance to travel to cover shooters at the three-point arc.
Still, anything that promotes player movement on the court can’t be all bad. And with the long three-pointer becoming equal to the dunk as far as highlight-reel fodder, the NCAA could be opening up even more interest in the game with this move.
The panel approved four other changes that will take effect this season. An offensive rebound will only reset the shot clock to 20 seconds rather than the full 30 seconds.
Players can now be assessed technical fouls for using derogatory language regarding an opponent’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. Also, coaches are now allowed to call live-ball timeouts in the last two minutes of the second half and overtime of a game.
Finally, instant-replay reviews for goaltending or basket interference calls can be made in the final two minutes of the second half and overtime of a game.