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NCAA to experiment with new rules in 2018 NIT

The Cowboys could possibly be the NCAA’s guinea pigs.

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma State at Texas Christian Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

There will be four new rules introduced to the 2018 National Invitation Tournament, the NCAA announced today.

There has been rules tested out three of the last four years in the smaller tournament that is played in March.

These rules will be implemented for the NIT only, and, if they are popular, could be introduced to the NCAA rulebook in May 2019.

  • The three-point line will be moved back to the same distance used by FIBA for international competition (22 feet 1.75 inches).
  • The free throw lane will be widened from 12 feet to 16 feet, consistent with the width used by the NBA. ​
  • The games will be divided into four 10-minute quarters as opposed to two 20-minute halves. Teams will shoot two free throws beginning with the fifth foul of each quarter.
  • The shot clock will reset to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound instead of the full 30 seconds.

In his inaugural season, Mike Boynton and the Cowboys have long odds to make the NCAA Tournament. They will likely need to win over Iowa State in Ames tonight, then complete the season sweep of Kansas on Saturday in Stillwater.

However, that probably is not enough. If the team makes a run in the Big 12 tournament and finishes in the Top 4, that’s what it will take for them to make the tournament, in the estimation of this far-from-professional blogger.

At 16-13, the Cowboys are too good to stay home in March. If they don’t get an invite to “The Big Dance” they should expect a call to go to the Big Apple to take part in the NIT.

If they do that, they will be one of the few teams that get to experiment with the rules and potentially impact college basketball going forward.

Dan Gavitt, the NCAA senior vice president of basketball, said the rule changes will help keep the rules “contemporary and tending favorably.”

“Experimenting with two significant court dimension rules, a shot-clock reset rule and a game-format rule all have some level of support in the membership, so the NIT will provide the opportunity to gather invaluable data and measure the experience of the participants.

“The NIT is an exciting event with a rich tradition and history, yet it also provides us a platform to consider how the game might look in the future. We’ve seen the adoption of recent experimental rules and how they have had a positive impact. This track record of the game evolving is a result of us having the flexibility to see if the rules work and are met with satisfaction, so we appreciate the support and partnership for the good of college basketball from our membership and our broadcast partners at ESPN.”

Previous “experiments” that are now implemented include the restricted area underneath the basket and the 30-second shot clock.

The NIT will begin March 13 and will conclude at Madison Square Garden on March 29.