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Coaches split on potential college basketball rules changes

Updated May 23, 2017 - 9:56 pm

The NCAA basketball rules committee recently decided against making a series of changes that would impact the game, but didn’t rule out future moves.

Among the possibilities: The game could be played in quarters rather than halves, the 3-point arc extended and the lane widened.

One factor that caused the committee to wait is that scoring increased from 67.5 points per game in 2012-13 to 73.4 last season. Conferences are free to experiment with rules changes, though the Mountain West will not do so.

At least a couple of coaches in town for the Las Vegas chapter of Coaches vs. Cancer are happy with the game as currently structured.

“I think we’ve got a good game,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “I don’t want to mess with it. I don’t want to make our game like everybody else’s. It’s unique, so I feel pretty comfortable with where it’s at right now. I think those changes would be minor, but I like our game the way it is right now, so no reason to change.”

Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said he understood where the NCAA was heading with these potential changes, but stood more in the camp with Altman.

“I think it’s going more toward the NBA game, toward FIBA,” Weber said. “You want to have universal rules, not something different with everybody. I don’t think those rules make that big a difference, but the lane might be something with the physicality of it, spreading out the defense a little bit.

“But we’re at a good stage. College basketball’s doing pretty good. We don’t need to screw it up too much.”

Former UNLV and current Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger took a much different stance.

“I’m a fan of the quarters,” Kruger said. “Men’s college basketball is the only basketball game in the world that’s not played in quarters. I’m a fan because it maybe speeds the game a bit. It reduces the number of free throws. It resets the foul situation at the quarters. Anything that speeds the game a little bit, especially at the end of games, I’m a fan of that.”

Kruger also said he thought the 3-point line would eventually move from the current length of 20 feet, 9 inches, to the international distance of 22 feet, 1.7 inches.

Kruger said he wouldn’t have a problem if that change was made and if the lane was widened.

“Right now, the game has become very 3-point dominated,” Kruger said. “If they stretch the line a little bit, that will maybe give it better balance. It’s just hard to score inside right now with all the contact that’s allowed on low-post shots. It takes a really good player to make that a high-percentage shot.”

Others didn’t offer an opinion.

UNLV’s Marvin Menzies said he didn’t have enough information at this point and would learn more at a coaches’ clinic this summer.

North Carolina’s Roy Williams also said he didn’t know enough to offer an opinion.

“I usually talk to the people on the rules committee, but this year I haven’t,” Williams said. “I was on the rules committee for six years, and I’m always interested in what’s going on, but I haven’t been able to talk to anybody yet.”

Contact Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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