Of the several college basketball rule changes that will be introduced for the upcoming season, none received more attention than reducing the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds.
But most Big 12 men’s coaches don’t think you’ll notice.
“To be honest, I don’t think five seconds makes a big difference,” said new Texas coach Shaka Smart.
Neither does Kansas coach Bill Self.
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“You push it down a little quicker, get to the second side a little faster, every coach can figure that out,” Self said.
The shot-clock rule was changed as one of several measures to improve scoring and increase the game’s pace. Teams averaged 67.6 points per game last season, matching the second-lowest figure since 1952.
New Iowa State coach Steve Prohm has the most recent experience with a 30-second clock. Hired from Murray State to replace Fred Hoiberg earlier this month, Prohm coached three games in last season’s NIT, which used a 30-second clock.
“Change is good, but I didn’t notice much difference,” Prohm said.
The shoulder shrug was the common response, but West Virginia’s Bob Huggins took a strong stand — against the reduction.
“I thought we had a great game,” said Huggins, who sees the changes as a step in creating more of a gap after the elite level.
“When you lower the shot clock, you have more possessions and the best players, or the collections of best players, are going to win,” Huggins said. “More possessions favor the better players.”
Other new changes include reducing the game’s stoppage time during timeouts, and even reducing the number of timeouts available in the second half. Also, coaches will no longer be able to call a timeout with the ball in play. Only a player can do that.
Some coaches said the more significant change will be an emphasis — more of a re-emphasis — on reducing physicality on post defense and allowing greater freedom of movement.
Those changes were added to the books two years ago and were met with initial success. But the game eventually reverted to a slog.
“I’m not sure what happened,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “Two years ago I thought we made good headway but we seemed to abandon it and not discuss it anymore.”