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NIT Tournament to Experiment with 4 Quarters

Not all the news about March is about the Big Dance. Once again this year, the NIT tournament will feature several experimental rule changes in an attempt to improve the game play in college basketball. Of the experimental rules, none is more intriguing than switching from two, twenty minute halves to four, ten minute quarters. It’s a discussion that has lived within college hoops, at least on the men’s side, for some time now.

The critics have been there, and they were louder than ever after last year’s NCAA championship “foul-fest.” The NBA does it. Women’s college basketball does it. Men’s college basketball should be four quarters instead of two halves. With this change, teams will begin shooting two free throws on the fifth team foul of every quarter.

These experimental rules are being used in an attempt to better the on-the-court product. This rule, more than anything, will better the product. It will help the game flow, and it will just about eliminate games that turn into free throw contests when teams get into the bonus early in halves. If a team gets in the bonus early, they are at a huge advantage for the rest of the half. From a fan point of view, this is a rule you hope gets voted in.

Last year, the NCAA took a step in the right direction, attempting to use fouls and “segments” within a half. Each team had four fouls to give during each ten minute segment before entering the bonus. It was the right theory, but ultimately confusing. Moving to halves is much more similar to the rest of the sport and a lot more clear.

“The style of play in men’s college basketball is healthy and appealing, but the leadership governing the game is interested in keeping the playing rules contemporary and trending favorably,” – Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president.

In addition to moving to quarters, the other changes include extending the three point line 1.8 inches, to meet the current FIBA distance, widening the free throw line to 16 inches, the length of the NBA, and resetting the shot clock to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound instead of the full 30. Of these rules, the shot clock reset is the most exciting, I think that will make end of game settings a lot more exciting.

All these rules could have an effect on the game flow in college basketball. A wider paint and further three point line could prevent college hoops mirroring the NBA and becoming an extended three point contest. The twenty second shot clock reset on offensive rebounds can prevent teams from dribbling out the clock in end of game scenarios. And last but not least, turning halves into quarters will make even the most foul-filled games easier to watch and less choppy. These rules won’t be able to be voted in until 2019, but we can get a preview into the future of college basketball during this year’s NIT Tournament.

Canada Basketball: Trending The Right Way

Canada Basketball

Canada Basketball has a lot to look forward to. Just days ago, their U19 team took home the gold in the 2017 FIBA U19 Games in Cairo, Egypt.

The feat may not be as illustrious as an Olympic Gold Medal, but Canada’s U19 team taking home a gold in the U19 FIBA Games is another sign of moving in the right direction. Look across the NBA right now. You will see a growing list of Canadian players, both in number and prominence. The list includes the likes NBA Champions (Tristan Thompson & Cory Joseph), a #1 Overall Draft Pick (Andrew Wiggins) and numerous budding talents (Jamal Murray, Kelly Olynyk, Trey Lyles). While the list will never compare the United States, it does have a fountain of youth that will make Canada fun to watch for the next couple of years.

Waiting to join the list of Canadian born NBA Players is R.J Barrett, a 6’7 wing playing high school ball for Kevin Boyle at Monteverde Academy. Barrett is the #1 ranked player in the class of 2019, according to ESPN. Playing for a coach who has had his share of lottery picks (Kyrie Irving, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, D’Angelo Russell & Ben Simmons), Barrett appears to be next man up on this list.

“He’s not going to be one-dimensional. He can do a lot of different things.” – Kevin Boyle

He’s a versatile, lengthy athlete who can wreak havoc in transition and score in a variety of ways. He was the talk of the tournament after torching the USA for 38 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists. As an encore, he dropped 18 points in the championship versus Italy. He was the easy choice for tournament MVP. Team USA coach John Calipari tried to throw different looks at Barrett, but the Ontario native had an answer every time. Barrett’s final stat line for the tournament: 21.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. It’s easy to see why he’s the number one player in the class.

While Barrett is still two years from even hitting the college ranks, several of his Canadian teammates will be making their impacts felt as early as next season. Lindell Wigginton, a former ESPN Top 50 recruit will head to Aimes and play for Steve Prohm and Iowa State. Meanwhile 6’6 forward Abu Kigab will join Oregon, a Final Four team from last season.

Highly prominent prep schools like Monteverde, Huntington Prep, Oak Hill and Findlay Prep have given Canadian players a stage on which to shine on at the high school level. Many of the names listed above have played for one of these schools on their way to the NBA, or high Division 1 schools.

Slowly but surely, the world is becoming more familiar with the talent that exists in the county sitting atop ours. With Steve Nash at the helm, and a growing group of talented youth, Canada Basketball has a lot to be excited about.