35 For 30: A Smart Move

College basketball has gotten too slow.

Gone are the days of the fast break, up-tempo shootouts. The UNLVs and Loyola Marymounts of the '90s are gone. The tempo took a nose-dive and interest in games started to do the same.

That's why dropping the shot clock from 35 seconds to 30 was a critical move for men's college basketball. The game was in need and this time, the powers that be made a swift but solid change to the game.

The loss of one timeout per team each season as well was a good move. But, there was nothing that could make an immediate impact on the game more than reducing the shot clock and forcing teams to pick it up a step or two. Teams with short benches could survive and advance with slowing the game down and milking the clock. They'll be punished more for that now.

More than ever, you'll hear about great depth when referring to the best teams in college basketball. If they continue to drop the clock, the fact that Duke needed just 8 scholarship players to win a national title last year will become more remarkable with each passing year.

The game needs more excitement. This is just the start.

We might see a reduction from 10 seconds to eight in getting the ball across the timeline.

We might see a decrease in timeouts again, though never TV timeouts (we all know why).

The biggest hope is that the NCAA tells referees to become more lax on hand check fouls. If we go back to having swarming, snarling defenses to match more up-tempo styles, you'll start seeing a lot more games in the 90s and 100s. You'll see more steals, more electric fast breaks and, best of all, more scoring. You'll get crowds in frenzies and re-establish hostile environments in many more arenas.

You might even see four quarters, as the women's game is moving to that format. I doubt it though. The men's game seems to work in 20-minute halves.

Nevertheless, it's good to see the NCAA and its coaches making a smart decision to help their sport. The NCAA has made a lot of mistakes in handling athletic programs, discipline and compliance and the overall health of the organization. This is a decision that benefits the programs, the athletes and the fans.

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