(Photo: IndianaHQ)

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a number of rules on June 5, 2019. Most notably the three point line was extended further out and the shot clocks do not reset to their full 30 seconds. These changes are effective right away in the 2019-2020 season for Division I. How is Indiana basketball effected by these rule changes? Does the Hoosier pack-line scheme work better or worse with a more open lane?

We breakdown these rules and the implications to IU basketball.

What are the New Rules Added?

Getting things out of the way, here are the exact rules that were approved by the Men’s Basketball Rules Committee on June 5, 2019. Indiana is familiar with both of these rules as they were used during the 2018 NIT tournament, where the Hoosiers hosted three matches in Bloomington.

The three-point line will be moved back to the international distance

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved moving the 3-point line to the international basketball distance of 22 feet, 1¾ inches in men’s basketball.

Greg Johnson, NCAA

The new NCAA collegiate three-point line (6.75 meters / 22 feet, 1.75 inches) will match that of FIBA, but it is still about a foot and a half behind the NBA three point line, which is at 23 feet and 9 inches. This represents an extension of the collegiate three point arc by 1 foot and roughly 5 inches. Three specific reasons were cited as rationale for extending the three-point line to the international distance.

First, the lane becomes more available for dribble/drive plays from the outside now that there is more space in the interior.

Second, the NCAA wanted to slow down the increased trend of 3-point shooting, specifically in men’s college basketball. By making the shot more difficult, they can reduce this trend further but not extending line so far that teams dramatically change their strategy shooting the three ball.

Lastly, the extension of the three point line helps with offensive spacing and it would require defenses to cover more area on the court.

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According to the NCAA, the teams in the 2018 NIT shot at a rate of 33% from behind the arc during the tournament. Those same teams collectively averaged a rate of 35.2% from deep during the regular season. Specifically for Indiana, the Hoosiers shot 31.3% (193-615) from three during the regular season and 29.5% (18-61) during the 2018 NIT.

The shot clock now resets to 20 seconds after offensive rebounds

The panel also approved resetting the shot clock at 20 seconds after a field goal attempt hits the rim and the offensive team rebounds the ball in the front court. 

Greg Johnson, NCAA

Needless to say, the rationale for this rule was to increase the pace of the game. Since the players are already on the other side of the court, a full 30 seconds is not necessary coming off of an offensive rebound. Thus, after an offensive rebound is made, the shot clock will now be reset to 20 seconds instead of 30 seconds.

Other proposed rule changes

Two other rules were in the proposal. Those two rules focused on the usage of targeted and inappropriate language on the court and the ability for coaches to call live-ball timeouts.

The panel approved a proposal where players will be assessed a technical foul should they use derogatory language about an opponent’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender expression, gender identify, sexual orientation or disability.

Coaches will be allowed to call live-ball timeouts in the last two minutes of the second half and the last two minutes of any overtime periods. Previously, coaches weren’t allowed to call any live-ball timeouts during the game.  

Greg Johnson, NCAA

One rule that did not make the cut was a widened lane. The NIT experimental rules extended the lane from 12 feet from 16 feet, but this rule has not yet been approved.

The 7 Ways How These New Rules Impact Indiana Hoosiers Basketball

(Photo: IndianaHQ)

1. Positive: Opposing teams will have a harder time shooting the three.

The easiest way to defeat Archie Miller’s pack-line defense, or any pack-line defense for that matter, is by shooting the three ball effectively. Without re-opening wounds too much, we all remember a pair of specific games in Archie Miller’s first year with the Hoosiers where the Hoosiers lost against a fiery, three-point shooting team.

With a more challenging shot, the Hoosiers’ defense ultimately benefit from the shot getting more difficult as this helps deter the top method to beat the pack-line. In addition to three-point accuracy decreasing, teams in the league are expected to take less threes overall according to the NCAA rules committee.

Notice that in Pack Line defense all players are inside the shaded yellow area protecting against the drive. In traditional man-to-man defense the players are denying the pass.
(Photo: BasketballForCoaches)

Why is effective three-point shooting the easiest solution to defeat the pack-line? The reason is because pack-line defenses intentionally sag behind on the perimeter. Everyone on the team typically stands inside the three point arc (namely inside the pack-line, which is even further in), except for the on-ball defender, which is player represented the black number 1 in the graphic above.

2. Negative: Similarly, the Hoosiers’ team three-point shooting takes a step back, literally.

Of course, the three-point line will move on both ends of the floor. The Hoosiers already struggled as a three point shooting team last year. Despite picking up a 6-foot-10 sharp shooter from San Diego, the Hoosiers still only shot 31.2% in the season and ranked 311th out of 353 Division 1 teams by season’s end. Devonte Green was really the only Indiana basketball player that picked up any level of consistent three-point shooting. His most impressive display certainly came from his 7 of 9 made threes in the Big Ten tournament game against Ohio State.

3. Positive: Opened lanes help the Hoosiers in dribble-penetration offensive sets.

To clarify, the lanes are opened just as a result of extending the three point arc. As mentioned above, the NCAA did not yet approve the NIT experimental rule where the lanes were formally widened from 12 feet to 16 feet.

That being said, the opened lane area can give the Hoosiers more room work in the middle of the floor with dribble penetrations. How many times did the Hoosiers run into a brick wall of 1 or 2 opposing bigs after making a cut to the rim? Maybe it did not seem as pertinent last year given that the Hoosiers had a prolific dribble penetrator in Romeo Langford, but the current set up of the lanes crowd the players and basically create a muscle-match between the front-court.

The Hoosiers were a top two-point shooting team in the league last season. Despite being terrible from behind the arc, Indiana finished second in the Big Ten with a two-point percentage of 53.1% and took a total of 1333 two-point shots during the entire season. Compare that to 676 three-point attempts in the 2018-2019 campaign.

4. Negative: The Hoosiers will have to gap-close a greater distance, or they will have to cover more ground to provide help-defense.

The extended three-point line will make Archie decide if he wants to keep the current location of the “pack-line” (the line represented by the border of the gray region in the above image) or to move the pack-line further out as a result of the rule change. The imaginary pack-line is intended to have defenders already in position for help-side defense. Only the player covering the ball handler is supposed to be outside of the pack-line under most circumstances.

If the Hoosier pack-line moves out along with the three point arc, the Hoosiers will have to cover more ground in the interior to provide help defense. They will be further spread out from each other and their will not be as much as sagging as the current set up.

Alternatively, the Hoosiers may elect to keep the pack-line exactly where it is. If that is the scenario, then the Hoosiers may have longer gap-closes where they will may need to move from inside the pack-line to defend against a perimeter shooter.

5. Positive: The defensive sagging of the pack-line will help increase rebounding.

In parallel to the previous point, opposing offenses in theory will be more spaced out and should play a more spread-offense by nature of the three-point arc expanding. With defenders in place in the inside of the pack-line, the Hoosiers should see an advantage in defensive rebounding as a result of this rule change.

(Photo: IndianaHQ)

6. Positive: Shorter shot clock resets reduce the time that opposing offenses have to “work” the pack-line

Another way to defeat the pack-line is to be patient. By patiently waiting and efficiently swinging the ball around the perimeter, teams can milk the shot clock and wait for an opening in the seams of the pack-line. They specifically look for potential defenders that may over-play their spot or help out too early. Offenses that understand how to control and use up the shot clocks are dangerous to the pack-line, and the new shot clock rules help Indiana’s defense by reducing the time.

Of course, the original 30 second shot clock does not change, so this is only important off of offensive rebound situations where the shot clock now only resets to 20 seconds.

7. Positive: The value of offensive rebounds are slightly reduced.

Archie Miller has been on record saying that he would much rather the team get back on transition defense over fighting for offensive rebounds. If you could imagine, guards have an option to dig deeper into the paint to battle for the offensive rebound. Alternatively, that player could get a head start in the other direction and prevent an easy bucket score on the transition. Archie has asked his team to do the latter in almost every scenario.

The Hoosiers ranked 10th in the Big Ten in offensive rebounding percentage and there does not seem to be an emphasis to improve that metric. Chirping fans will have to relax since this is completely by design.

Ever so slightly, since teams only have 20 seconds instead of 30 after an offensive board, you can be sure that Daryl Morey would be updating his algorithms and formulas to reflect the change in the value.

Archie Miller’s Take on the New Rules

Overall, Indiana’s Archie Miller believes that these new rules are generally positive for the sport, since that has been the case for many NIT experimental rules from the past. That being said, he believes that these new rules will not create a major impact to the sport given his statement prior to Indiana’s first game in the 2018 NIT.

I think at the end of the day there’s a couple things our staff will have to make a point of emphasis on, understanding what’s going on. Fouls and the shot clock reset, our team needs to be addressed.

Going back to the international line, I don’t think that’s ever been a problem. Guys shoot behind the line anyway. The widening of the lane is a good thing. You widen that lane up, you continue to open up the floor a little bit.

All these rule changes they put in place for the NIT I think have all been positive over the course of the year in watching the games and listening to the coaches after the fact.

There’s some things our players will have to understand, fouls, resetting, the shot clock, going down on an offensive rebound. In terms of the line and the widening of the lane, I don’t think the players will see much of an effect on that.

Archie Miller on 2018 NIT Experimental Rules

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