Another Round Of Experimental Postseason NIT Rule Changes

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 3:59 PM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017 3:59 PM UTC

Our expert college basketball handicapper breaks down the experimental rule changes that the NIT postseason tournament will be using and how those changes can help the savvy handicapper gain an edge.

Another year, another set of experiments for the NIT postseason college basketball tournament. Once again, this year’s set of rules by the NCAA competition committee aims to increase possessions and scoring. The move from the 35- to 30-second time clock that occurred as a result of the experiments in the last NIT have increased scoring by around 6 to 8 points per game this year. These changes are smaller but still should increase possessions for each team -- and therefore scoring when deciding your NCAA basketball picks.

The first change to the rules being experimented with is how the shot clock resets in a few situations. Those would be a defensive foul in the frontcourt or a clock stoppage due to a player bleeding. Obviously, a defensive foul not resulting in foul shots will occur more often. In this case, the shot clock will not reset to 30 seconds but instead stay the same as when the foul occurred or reset to 20 seconds, whichever is greater. This extra 10 seconds could result in a few minutes of extra possession time for offenses over the course of a game.

The second set of changes for the NIT is in regards to the 1-and-1 and two-shot free-throw situations and when they occur. Essentially, the rule change splits up halves into quarters, similar to the NBA, where the bonus resets. In this case, a team hits the bonus at the 5th foul in the first 10 minutes of a half. At 10 minutes, the foul count in regards to the bonus resets to zero and you have to get another 5 fouls to hit the bonus again.

The bonus change should be a disadvantage to high-paced teams that ending up fouling more. On the other hand, a plodding team may never pick up that 5th foul in a 10-minute span. A slow team that doesn’t foul much will have an extra advantage.

There is a school of thought that suggests any change that increases the amount of possessions in a game will help NCAA betting favorites more than underdogs. I tend to agree with this sentiment, especially for favorites that shoot free throws well. The amount of 1-and-1 free-throw situations should be reduced at the end of games and a team fouling in an attempt to catch up will be giving up two free throws versus the 1-1 more often.

In regards to the shot clock change, an extra six possessions or more in a game will always favor the better-shooting team. Both field-goal and free-throw percentages should get increased weighting when handicapping a side of a game. For totals, the season scoring averages of each team should be adjusted by an increased few possessions each. The savvy handicapper will be able to create an edge in the NIT this year.

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