A New Shot Clock for College Basketball: 24 seconds

The 2012-2013 college basketball season has thus far been a season of major upsets and equality across the nation. For the neutral and hardcore fan alike, it has not been a season of great offensive efficiency.

A quick Google search reveals numerous stories from headline sources detailing the historically low offensive season to date. Furthermore, television ratings (and the almighty dollar bill) have been in decline for a few years.

What does it all mean? A dying sport, or one in transition? Only time can really tell, but there is one solution the NCAA can implement as soon as next season: a new, shorter shot clock. The shot clock, first introduced at an agonizing 45 seconds in the 1985-1986 season was later trimmed to the current 35 second variation in the early 1990s. Now is the time to take the next evolution in the game and move to 24 seconds.

1. The NBA

Many college basketball fans share an aversion for the NBA. Regardless of the feelings of the hardcore fan, the league represents the highest level of basketball in the world. College basketball, often viewed as a feeder league to the NBA (especially in the one-and-done era), needs to move closer to the NBA style.

The current 11 second gap between the two shot clocks is superfluous. Although the nostalgic view holds college basketball in an unrealistic light in regards to the student athlete, collegiate sports have become a means to an end for the high level athlete. Even the mid-level high school recruit who statistically has only a slim shot at the NBA views college basketball as just a step in the long process of reaching their dream.

Accepting the reality of college basketball’s place, a 24 second shot clock helps the players develop at quicker paces. Allowing the players to develop quicker, allows them to become more efficient, and thus delivering a higher level of quality on the hardwood. Higher quality play is an aspect desperately absent from the current college game.

2. The Neutral Fan

There’s always a danger in a league catering exclusively to the neutral fan, but the perspective is important here. Neutral fans are not watching the college basketball regular season as often as years past according to the link above. Increased television ratings, the focal point of conference realignment on the football side, can benefit the sport in the long term.

Although college football will remain the dominant force in realignment, college basketball does not have to sit idly to the side and go a long for the ride. Increased television ratings by catching neutral fans from improving the quality of play will allow for the potential of greater revenue from television deals to go alongside the revenue from college football.

3. The Modern Athlete

Given the advances in medicine and science, the athlete today is in better shape than the athlete of years past. Why not cater to the new breed of athlete by quickening the pace of games?

Many freshmen enter college campuses with toned bodies due to strict training regimens. Others undergo huge transformations during the first few months on campus due to better diets and training emphasis from their coaches.

Today’s players are better equipped to handle a quicker paced game.

4. Increased Scoring

A 24 second shot clock gives each team, at a minimum, one full possession per minute of the game while one of the teams receives another half possession. Under the current 35 second clock, only one team is guaranteed a full possession per minute of game time.

Increased possessions in a game will allow teams to possess the ball more and subsequently score more. Even if shooting percentages drop or, more likely, stay the same, they’ll be able to score more points per game by virtue of having more opportunities to score.

Under the 24 second clock, each team is guaranteed 60 possessions at a minimum each game. Assuming, hypothetically, a team shot 40% for a game, did not attempt a three point field goal, did not achieve a single offensive rebound, and all made shots were two points, that team would score 48 points.

48 points does not sound too appetizing, but when one considers the extremeness of my hypothetical, it provides a good baseline. Teams will receive other points from put-back attempts on rebounds, three point field goals, and foul shots.

Let’s dream up another hypothetical: a team takes 60 shots (20 three pointers and 40 two points), shoots 40% for all shots from the game, and again received no foul shots or offensive rebounds. That team would score, at a baseline minimum, 32 points from two pointers and 24 from beyond the arc for a combined 56 per game. Again, not very appealing numbers until taken into the context of the rarity of the hypothetical (a game with no offensive rebound put-backs, foul shots, and each team receiving only the minimum amount of possessions per game).

Add 15 foul shots to the last hypothetical at a 60% clip and an additional 9 points are added to the game. Increase the amount of possessions due to up-tempo teams, turnovers created by pressure, etc. and one can see the baseline minimum points provides a good starting point for increasing the scoring of college basketball teams.

Conclusion

The dwindling television ratings, the decreased scoring, the modern athlete, and college basketball’s status as a feeder league to the NBA all point in the direction of decreasing the shot clock to 24 seconds. The decreased clock will eventually increase the overall quality of play and immediately increase the points per game attracting new neutral fans which will increase television ratings. It is important for college basketball to continue evolving to better match the professional game in quality.

EJSIC College Basketball Preview: Illinois Fighting Illini

NOTE: We will be previewing select college basketball teams for the upcoming season. The following Illinois preview was submitted by EJSIC poster aaeismacgychel. If you would like to preview a team for the EJSIC, send us an email or post it here on our message board.

Illinois Fighting Illini
Champaign, IL, Big 10 Conference

Last Season - 17-15(6-12), 0-1 BTT, No postseason

Notable Players Gone: Meyers Leonard, Sam Maniscalco, Crandall Head

Returning starters: Brandon Paul, DJ Richardson, Tracy Abrams, Joseph Bertrand

Extended roles: Nnanna Egwu, Mycheal Henry, Sam McLaurin, Tyler Griffey, Mike Shaw, Devin Langford, Ibrahim Djimde

Notable Newcomers:
John Groce- Coach
Sam McLaurin- Coastal Carolina Transfer

Preseason Ranking: NR

Preseason Bracket Projections :N.otI.nT.ourney

Early Season Tournament: Maui Invitational, USC and Texas/UNC/Butler/Marquette possible

Projected Starting 5:
PG: Brandon Paul/Tracy Abrams
SG: Brandon Paul/DJ Richardson
SW: Joseph Bertrand
F: Myke Henry
C: Nnanna Egwu

Preview:

It’s NIT or bust for the Fighting Illini

The Illini have fallen on some hard times of late and are no longer the perennial contender for conference champion they once were. After starting last season 15-3, including big wins over Gonzaga and Ohio State they were considered one of the B10′s surprise teams and appeared destined for not only a spot in the dance but a high seed. Unfortunately, the bottom fell out as they went 2-12 the rest of the way losing their ticket to the dance, losing their N.I.T. congratulatory call, and ultimately losing longtime coach Bruce Weber along with the rest of his coaching staff.

So after a half bungled if not fully bungled coaching search, in comes John Groce to try and give what has been a manically bipolar and underachieving team some stability. Groce certainly has some talent on his roster with several high 4* starters and bench players including the dynamic Brandon Paul who should be near the top of the B10 in scoring this year, but with no true point guard on the roster and the giant void left in the frontcourt by lottery pick Meyers Leonard’s early exit, this appears to be a rebuilding year for Illinois in a tough B10.

In fact, this team is projected to finish 10th at best in conference this year, above only Penn State and Nebraska. But that might be just what Illinois needs to get some stability- a year where they start far under the radar with little to no expectations. And if teams overlook this team, the Illini can certainly stun them, as the only thing Illinois did better than losing in stunning and brain hemorrhaging fashion the last fwe years was knocking off elite teams in electrifying fashion.

For Illinois to be successful this year they need Brandon Paul to duplicate his play from last year where at times he was almost unstoppable on offense and extremely pesky on defense. The problem is he didn’t do this consistently. But to truly have success, Illinois is going to need DJ Richardson to start making open threes and playing the defense he’s capable of. He has not been anywhere near the player who won the B10 Freshman of the year award three years ago. And that’s not even going into how much Nnanna Egwu and Sam McLaurin will have to step up this year as Illinois does not have any significant interior presence returning form last year or the fact that Illinois was one of the worst ball-handling teams in the NCAAs last year… So can Illinois be successful this year? Yes, but it’s unlikely and the success will be muted.

My Predictions:
2012-2013 Regular Season Record:
17-15 (7-11 B1G Record, 8th place finish)

Postseason:
#8 seed in BTT: 1-1 Record
NIT Berth- Loss in quarterfinals

EJSIC College Basketball Top 25 – 2012-13 Pre-Season

Pre-Season | Week 1

YAY BASKETBALL! The time has finally arrived for the first EJSIC College Basketball Top 25. I know the season hasn’t started yet, but opinions are totally better than facts. I think.

Remember that this poll is generated via a combined ballot from the polls submitted by EJSIC Message Board posters. If you would like to have your poll included in the combined ballot, post it on the Message Board in the appropriate thread. If you can’t find the thread, you probably shouldn’t be voting…

So… Without further ado… Here’s our poll.

1) Louisville (9) – 295
2) Kentucky (1) – 274
3) Indiana (1) – 259
4) Ohio St – 252
5) Kansas – 245
6) NC State – 224
7) Michigan – 207
8) Arizona – 198
9) Duke – 197
10) Florida – 195
11) UCLA (1) – 191
12) North Carolina – 164
13T) Syracuse – 144
13T) Michigan St – 144
15) UNLV – 117
16) Creighton – 107
17) Baylor – 101
18) Memphis – 95
19) San Diego St – 85
20) Missouri – 80
21) Gonzaga – 58
22) Wisconsin – 49
23) Notre Dame – 47
24) Murray St – 30
25T) VCU – 22
25T) Texas – 22

Others Receiving Votes: Ohio (17), St. Louis (16), Florida St (15), Tennessee (12), Pittsburgh (9), Kansas St (8), Cincinnati (6), St. Mary’s (4), St. Joe’s (3), Marquette (3), Drexel (2), Texas A&M (2), New Mexico (1)

EJSIC College Basketball Previews: Drexel Dragons

NOTE: We will be previewing select college basketball teams for the upcoming season. The following Drexel preview was submitted by EJSIC poster Eric D. If you would like to preview a team for the EJSIC, send us an email or post it here on our message board.

Drexel Dragons
Philadelphia, PA, Colonial Athletic Association

Last Season: 29-7(16-2), Lost to Umass in NIT Quarterfinal

Notable Players Gone: Sammie Givens

Notable Players Returning: Damion Lee, Frantz Massenat, Derrick Thomas, Chris Fouch, Dartaye Ruffin, Daryl McCoy, Aquil Younger, Kazembe Abif.

Notable Newcomers: None

Preseason Ranking: I’ve seen anywhere from 25 – 35

Preseason Bracket Projections: ESPN projects Dragons as a #9 seed in the East, CBS Sports projects Dragons as a #9 seed in the South

Early Season Tournament: DirecTV Classic, facing St. Mary’s in Round 1

Projected Starting 5: PG: Frantz Massenat, SG: Derrick Thomas, SF: Damion Lee, PF: Dartaye Ruffin, C: Daryl McCoy 6th Man: Chris Fouch

Can Bruiser Flint build on last season’s success at Drexel?

Preview:

The Dragons come into the year with a chip on their shoulder after having being left out of the NCAA Tournament last year despite the fact they had 27 wins in the regular season and conference tournament. Expectations have not been higher in the Bruiser Flint era, and for good reason as they return 6 of their 7 leading scorers from last year’s team.

The Dragons feature CAA Preseason player of the year in Frantz Massenat to run the point, along with fellow 1st team all CAA preseason selection in Damion Lee. To add to the back court depth, Flint also can run out all CAA honorable mention Chris Fouch off the bench for instant offense. And don’t sleep on Derrick Thomas’ production either, who was suspended for the CAA Tournament last year and was a crucial piece for the Dragons all season. The front court will have to replace the steady and reliable Sammie Givens, but Dartaye Ruffin and Daryl McCoy are primed for break out seasons in their new roles.

This could be a very special year for the Dragons, ala Murray State last year, they have the experience, coaching and schedule to have a very successful season this year and return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996.

2012-2013 Regular Season Record:
26-3(17-1 CAA Record ahead of GMU, ODU and Delaware)

Postseason:
#1 Seed in the CAA Tournament: 3-0
#6 Seed in NCAA Tournament
Sweet 16 – Lose to Syracuse

EJSIC College Basketball Previews: Minnesota Golden Gophers

NOTE: We will be previewing select college basketball teams for the upcoming season. The following Minnesota preview was submitted by EJSIC poster Eric D. If you would like to preview a team for the EJSIC, send us an email or post it here on our message board.

Minnesota Golden Gophers
Minneapolis, MN, Big 10 Conference

Last Season: 23-15(6-12), Lost to Stanford in NIT Championship

Notable Players Gone: None(Ralph Sampson doesn’t count)

Notable Players returning: Trevor Mbakwe, Rodney Williams, Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins, Julian Welch, Joe Coleman, Elliot Eliason, Andre Ingram

Notable Newcomers:
Wally Ellenson – 3* SG from Rice Lake, WI
Charles Buggs – 3* PF from Arlington, TX

Preseason Ranking: Most have the Gophers anywhere from 25-30

Preseason Bracket Projections: ESPN projects Gophers as #7 seed in the East. CBS Sports projects Gophers as a #6 seed in the West.

Early Season Tournament: Battle for Atlantis, face Duke in Round 1

Projected Starting 5: PG: Andre Hollins, SG: Austin Hollins, SF: Joe Coleman, PF: Rodney Williams, C: Elliot Eliason, 6th Man: Trevor Mbakwe

Trevor Mbakwe looks to elevate the Golden Gophers in the B1G.

Preview:
Expectations haven’t been higher in the Twin Cities entering the season since Tubby came to Minnesota in 2007. The Gophers will return all 5 starters from the group that led them through the NIT as well as a potential All-American candidate in Mbakwe, with early reports indicating that he will be coming off the bench to start the year, following successful ACL surgery last year.

The season will really hinge on the guard play, and how well they improved over the summer. Former 4* star recruit Andre Hollins showed his potential during the NIT run and is set up to have a very good Sophomore year. Look for Joe Coleman to play more consistently after a very up and down Freshman season. As well as Austin Hollins, who is the Gophers best perimeter threat, but needs to play more physical on the defensive side of the ball. I’m also really looking forward to Freshman SG Wally Ellenson coming off the bench who projects to be the best shooter off the bench this year and could be a big asset for the Gophers. The Gophers should have one of the best front courts in college basketball with Rodney Williams(a projected 2nd rounder), Mbakwe(a projected 1st rounder) and then able big bodies in Elliot Eliason, the return of a healthy Mo Walker(missed all of 2011-2012) and PF Andre Ingram.

One thing the Gophers need to improve on in 2012-2013 to be a top 3 team in the B1G, is to improve on late game situations. The Gophers blew a ton of close games down the stretch in which they lead late, and made games much closer than they should have been in games they ultimately won, the MTSU and Washington games come to mind in the NIT run.

2012-2013 Regular Season Record:
22-9 (11-7 B1G Record, behind IU, Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State)

Postseason:
#5 seed in B1G Tournament: 0-1 Record
#7 seed in NCAA Tournament
Round of 32 – Lose to Syracuse

Eric D’s Bracketology

Welcome to the first edition of Eric D’s Bracketology. This edition is for games through 1/30/12. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

East Regional(Boston, MA)                                        Midwest Regional(St. Louis, MO)
1. Syracuse(Big East)                                                  1. Kentucky(SEC)
16. MVSU(SWAC)/UT-Arlington(Southland)              16. Stony Brook(Am. East)
-Consol Energy Center(Pittsburgh, PA)                        -KFC Yum! Center(Louisville, KY)
8. Harvard(Ivy)                                                               8. Kansas State
9. Alabama                                                                       9. Wichita State

 5. Michigan                                                                      5. Florida State
12. Saint Louis                                                                 12. Long Beach St(Big West)
-Rose Garden(Portland, OR)                                          -Rose Garden(Portland, OR)
4. St. Mary’s(WCC)                                                         4. Vanderbilt
13. Massachusetts                                                         13. Davidson(So. Con)

3. Marquette                                                                      3. Mizzouri
14. Bucknell(Patriot)                                                      14. Nevada(WAC)
-Nationwide Arena(Columbus, OH)                                  -CenturyLink Center(Omaha, NE)-
6. San Diego State                                                            6. Mississippi State
11. Washington/Notre Dame                                            11. Iowa State

7. Temple                                                                            7. Connecticut
10. Minnesota                                                                     10. Illinois
-CenturyLink Center(Omaha, NE)                                      -Greensboro Coliseum(NC)
2. Kansas(Big 12)                                                              2. North Carolina
15. Loyola, MD(MAAC)                                                      15. Weber State(Big Sky

West Regional(Phoenix, AZ)                                             South Regional(Atlanta, GA)
1. Ohio State(B1G)                                                             1. Duke(ACC)
16. LIU-Brooklyn(NEC)/UNC-Asheville(Big South)        16. Norfolk State(MEAC)
-Consol Energy Center(Pittsburgh, PA)                                -Greensboro Coliseum(NC)
8. California(Pac 12)                                                            8. Louisville
9. Seton Hall                                                                           9. Purdue

5. Murray State(OVC)                                                           5. Indiana
12. Colorado State/BYU                                                         12. New Mexico
-KFC Yum! Center(Louisville, KY)                                         -Bridgestone Arena(TN)
4. Georgetown                                                                        4. Florida
13. Oral Roberts(Summit)                                                    13. MTSU(Sun Belt)

3. UNLV(Mtn. West)                                                               3. Creighton(MVC)
14. George Mason(CAA)                                                       14. Belmont(A-Sun)
-The Pit(Albuquerque, NM)                                                       -Bridgestone Arena(TN)
6. Gonzaga                                                                               6. West Virginia
11. Dayton                                                                                11. Xaiver

7. Wisconsin                                                                             7. Virginia
10. Memphis                                                                             10. Southern Miss(C-USA)
-The Pit(Albuquerque, NM)                                                        -Nationwide Arena(OH)
2. Baylor                                                                                     2. Michigan State
15. Cleveland State                                                                15. Akron(MAC)

First Four Out: Ole Miss, Iona, Cincinnati, Stanford

Bids by Conference:
(8) Big East, Big 10
(5) SEC, A10, Big 12
(4) ACC, Mtn. West
(3) WCC
(2) C-USA, Pac 12, MVC

Luke Warm Linkage

RIP, Joe. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)