Shot clock in college basketball should be shorter

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Ryan Revock and Ryan Revock | The Daily Wildcat Ryan Revock / The Daily Wildcat Head Coach Sean Miller yells from the bench to his team against Augustana on Oct. 28 at the McKale Center.

Of the many inconsistencies between games of collegiate and professional basketball, the difference in the length of the shot clock poses the most substantial disadvantage to athletes trying to develop their skills in hopes of eventually achieving a successful NBA career.

The NCAA should decrease the current 35-second shot clock time so that college coaches can better prepare players for one of the many adjustments those who advance to the professional level will face, and to create a more fast-paced, entertaining game for fans.

“Shrink the shot clock,” head coach Sean Miller said. “Instead of it being 35 seconds, [maybe try] 30 seconds. More than anything, it would create a faster flow, styles would change and I think you’d see a lot more scoring.”

The primary appeal of shortening the shot clock time is that it would increase game speed and intensity. It would lead to an emphasis on quality transition defense while rewarding teams that make quick, concise decisions offensively.

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Less time on the shot clock will lead to a more fluid, intuitive game style, where players will be coaxed into making more effective plays with much less lag time before finding the open shot.

Overall, it will open the sport up to higher scoring contests and limit the trend of over-coaching, which occurs when an offense mindlessly runs through the motions instead of reading the defense and adjusting accordingly. Players will have to rely more on their natural instinct and skill to execute effectively.

Less time on the clock would also force offenses to draw up faster plays in order to get a shot off more quickly and would lead to much faster ball movement and an increase in the amount of possessions per game. Offenses wouldn’t utilize as many flare screens and pick and rolls would become more common. It would cause offenses to do whatever they could to get a good shot up quickly.

Developmentally, it doesn’t make sense to have so much variation in rules between the different levels of basketball. High school, college and NBA rules lack uniformity in such areas as game duration, distance of the three-point arc and number of personal fouls allowed. If rules in college and high school basketball start to inch closer to the standards the NBA has implemented, it will make the transition from amateur to professional a much smoother ride.

— Follow Evan Rosenfeld @EvanRosenfeld17


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Updated December 8, 2021