We’ve mentioned and discussed lately that the NCAA seems to be molding its game to resemble something else. Our theory for a spell was that everything was intended so that the NCAA might better resemble the NBA, and many of you sighed and fretted about that act of imitation because those are two separate products that are consumed or ignored with particular merit. More and more, though, I hear that people who are in the rooms or in the business get the feeling the NCAA’s rules-makers are looking at FIBA as their model — and understand there’s some frustration there because international prospects are schooled in a way that’s dramatically different from how American prospects are schooled.
Still, we say the 30-second shot clock is a nod to the NBA. FIBA has a 24-second clock, too. We say moving the arc under the basket a foot back is a NBA ploy. FIBA’s arc is just about the same as the NBA’s. You want free-flowing basketball with ease of movement and the ball matriculating faster than a defender? You can digest the NBA, but FIBA is an alternative as well.
The markings on the court, the way the game is timed, that has an NBA influence. But the way the game is played inside those marks and within the time constraints, that has a FIBA influence.
College basketball is trying to achieve and secure a free-flowing style of play where players with and without the ball can move without restrictions, where offenses are enabled to operate with ease and speed, where teams can play like international clubs. The NCAA will do many things to pursue this, like having officials call more fouls for contact on the perimeter, though this started in the middle of last season. In the Big 12, in-season memos made their way to teams that sought to prevent contact and really seemed to target WVU and its press — though officials were also encouraged to watch for players traveling out of traps, too.
Bah, I can’t fool you, though. Feel free to discuss the final sentence as you will.