The NCAA men's basketball rules committee will gather this week to vote on some 54 proposals, the most significant being whether the free throw lane should be widened from 12 to 16 feet — the dimension used in the NBA.
Why it matters: If the change is made, it would allow more room for drivers and cutters. But it would also require players to post up two feet further from the basket, which could eventually lead to the disappearance of the traditional center.
- If the change is not made, it would not only protect the role of the traditional center but also "tap the brakes on the rush to mimic the NBA, which ... has virtually eliminated post play," writes The Athletic's Seth Davis (subscription).
The big picture: In addition to having the world's best players, the NBA also has just 30 teams. In Division I alone, there are 353 — and those teams feature a much wider range of talent levels and coaching styles.
- So, do you change the rules — and, in this case, the literal lines on the court — to better prepare the country's top talent for their future professional careers?
- Or do you keep things as they are, thereby allowing a more diverse crop of players to flourish and avoid being phased out?
What they're saying:
- Texas coach Shaka Smart: "I think the closer we are to the NBA, the better it is for us. The NBA is where all the players want to be eventually. The more our game can mirror theirs, the harder it is to paint us as being so much different."
- Tennessee coach Rick Barnes: "I don't think anybody in college wants to mimic the NBA. I think we've got a great game, and it is suited for a lot of different people that can play it. We don't all have to be the same."
The bottom line: The rules committee votes on proposals every other year, and thanks to the analytics boom and three-point revolution happening in the pros, most of their recent decisions have come down to one simple question:
- Should college basketball follow the NBA's lead? Or is it better to remain its own distinctive brand of hoops?
Go deeper: As basketball's big men play more like guards, high school coaches face a dilemma