Heading into the 2015-16 basketball season, the NCAA underwent some changes to the format in both the men’s and women’s games. The most noticeable difference, according to both Edinboro head coaches, was certainly the alterations regarding the clock.
On the women’s side, there will no longer be two 20-minute halves played. Instead, women’s teams will play four 10-minute quarters.
“Whenever you change rules, you definitely change the game,” women’s head coach Stan Swank said on the Scots Sports Show last month. “It’s a different look and it’s a different type of game. There’s some aspects of it that are very exciting, there are some that aren’t so exciting. It’s four 10-minute quarters now. That changes the game.”
Along with the four quarters on the women’s side, media timeouts have been cut in half from eight to four. Throughout each quarter, there is only one media timeout called on the floor at the first dead ball with fewer than five minutes remaining in each period.
Additionally, in the women’s game, teams no longer shoot one-and-one free throws in the single bonus situation. Instead, five fouls committed from one team moves the opponent into the double-bonus for the remainder of the quarter before the fouls reset at the end of each period.
“There’s breaks in the game,” Swank said. “It changes how you play at the end of each quarter as opposed to playing 20 minutes through with media timeouts. The changes are different. It’s just something that we have to adapt to and there were some good things that came out of that though.”
Another element that’s changed to the game that’s made a big difference, according to Swank, is the ability to advance the ball on called timeouts within the final minute of fourth quarter or overtime periods.
A called timeout following a made basket, as well as in the scenario of a rebound or a change in possession would advance the ball to the frontcourt so that the offensive team would be set up 28 feet away from the basket, sharing the same side of the court as the scorer’s table.
“I think one of the things that really stuck out to me this past weekend was, it’s like NBA,” Swank said in reference to advancing the ball in Edinboro’s first two games of the season under the new format.
“At the end of the game you can advance the ball to half court. There were a couple times in our situations late in the game where advanced the ball to half court. It’s just a whole different look with that towards the end of the game.”
On the men’s side, the shot clock was taken down from 35 to 30 seconds. It was the first time since heading into the 1993-94 season in which the shot clock was taken down on the men’s side as the clock was taken down from 45 to 35 in that year.
“I really don’t think the shot clock should have much of an impact on us, because we try to play in a way where it shouldn’t have much of an impact on us, but it is something to adjust to,” men’s head coach Pat Cleary said.
“I think it can kill offense by what the other coaches will do,” Cleary later admitted. “If people start picking up three quarter court, trying to make you use eight, nine seconds getting the ball across the floor I think then it’s really going to hurt the offense in that regard. Men’s college basketball was the only sport that had a shot clock over 30 seconds, so it was only a matter of time until it’s coming down.”
Another nuance that comes into play for the new season is the inability for coaches to call timeouts during live ball action. Timeouts must be called from the players on the floor unless there is a momentary stoppage in the action.
“I think that it’s one of those things that if we can call timeout, we should be able to call it,” Cleary said in reference to him and his staff. “We shouldn’t have to wait for us to say it to get to a player and then get that request to a referee. It just seems like it’s a long way to go about it.”
Mike Fenner is a Senior Staff Writer for the Spectator. He can be reached via e-mail, email@example.com, or on Twitter, @Fenner_6.