The college basketball season is going to bring forth many changes in the way the sport is played, and none will be more central than the 30-second shot clock, down from 35 seconds. Here are the three ways that are likely to be the most significant:
Shooting Percentages Are Likely To Go Down
The past few seasons of college basketball have featured a lot of games in which one or both teams go through long scoring droughts. The ability of coaches to scout on defense, combined with a paucity of reliable perimeter shooters – players who will be able to hit a solid percentage of three-point shots on a consistent basis – has limited the offensive options of many teams, and in the pressure-packed environment of the NCAA tournament. With five fewer seconds on the shot clock, you are likely to see teams panic if they can’t immediately get the ball into the lane. There will be only 21 to 22 seconds when teams cross midcourt, so if their first few cuts or screens cannot open up a lane to the basket, you will see a perimeter jump shot released, and the chances of that percentage going up this season rather than down are really rather low.
Turnovers Are Likely To Go Up
The sense of panic that will flow from shorter possessions will not just lead to lower shooting percentages, but more turnovers. People who follow college basketball know this, but the casual fan might not: Players who have been used to playing in a certain way and at a certain pace for multiple years will now have to make an adjustment. For the NBA-level players in college basketball, this won’t be as much of a problem, but for all the other players – which make up the vast majority of college basketball players – they’re not going to have the skill sets needed to create shots by themselves when the shot clock gets inside five seconds. This deficiency by the not-so-good players on a college roster is going to lead to many nervous decisions and many attempts to beat a defender off the dribble. With a player who has a poorer package of skills, this is most commonly going to lead to a turnover. You’re going to see lots of ugly possessions, especially in the first two months of the season.
Bench Play Will Become More Necessary, Not Less
The fact that the shot clock will be shorter should place a lot more importance on developing a deep bench. There will be a lot more possessions during a game as a result of lopping off five seconds from the shot clock. When you add up all the extra time involved, teams will be putting up more shots. Teams will also be focused on getting into their halfcourt offense as quickly as possible, since they know they cannot waste as much time. This is going to place more stress and strain on players, which means bench guys need to be ready to pick up more of the slack to keep starters fresh.
What Does This Mean For The Betting Lines?
According to The Greek’s Twitter account, we’re looking at an eight-point jump on the NCAA Basketball odds. That means that on average, we’ll see totals next year about eight points higher than they would have been last year. The logic is quite simple: more possessions equals more points.