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Tom Izzo on the 35-second clock: “I would like to see a change”

Apr 16, 2013, 4:15 PM EDT

Tom Izzo

College basketball has been trending the wrong way when it comes to scoring, with this year providing some of the ugliest score lines that you’ll ever see.

For every exciting finish we saw this season, there were five games where the winner couldn’t break 60. One of the biggest questions heading into the offseason is how we can go about changing that.

How do we make college basketball watchable again?

Tom Izzo thinks he has an answer. He went on a radio show and discussed what he thought were a couple ways that the nationwide scoring drought could be addressed. Namely, reducing the shot clock.

“One of the guys I have great respect for — Johnny Dawkins, who is at Stanford — and we were in our meetings the other day, and he said, ‘We have the slowest game in the world,'” Izzo said. “As you say, the international is less. The pro is less. The women’s is less. And here we are with 35 [seconds].”

The NBA and FIBA use a 24 second shot clock, and women’s college basketball uses a 30 second clock despite the fact that they don’t have a 10 second back court violation.

“It was talked about at our meetings in Atlanta,” Izzo said. He was on the NABC’s Board of Director’s this season. “You know the bureaucracy of committees and what it’s got to do, but I think there is getting to be a growing run at maybe doing that, and I think more coaches are in favor of it.”

This is a topic that has bounced around basketball circles for a while. Will reducing the shot clock in college hoops really have the desired affect, increasing tempo, or will it further erode the quality of play at this level. The argument made against reducing the clock is that NBA possessions quite often devolve into isolations and ball-screen actions, and with so much college talent fleeing for the NBA before their eligibility is exhausted, there isn’t the kind of talent left to be effective in mainly iso’s and pick-and-rolls.

Personally, I side with Jay Bilas and Rick Pitino — and, for that matter, Tom Izzo, who commented on it prior to talking shot clocks — when it comes to how to better the game: call more fouls. Make the game less physical. Pitino touched on this topic at the Final Four, insinuating that the key to making college basketball more aesthetically pleasing is to improve the freedom of movement of the players. Make it more like the NBA:

I went to see Earl Clark play against Miami. Earl was playing LeBron. Earl just basically took his hand and just rested it on him and they went, ‘foul’. What happened in the NBA now is they stopped all the arm bars, all the standing up of screens, all the coming across and chpping the guy. They stopped all that. Now there’s freedom of movement in the NBA and you see great offense.

When you coach in the Big East, you should wear body guard. Peyton wears body guard, shoulder bads, because you can’t cut, can’t move. The referees are caught in a quandary. They’re saying, ‘we’re going to ruin the game, we’re on TV.’

Pitino’s national title game counterpart agrees.

“I like the way the NBA is played,” Beilein told WWLS 98.1-FM on Monday. “If you put your hand on a guy, it’s a foul. We actually teach it, and it hurts us sometimes when we’re not as physical as other teams.”

Beilein ran this year’s most efficient offense. Pitino just finished beating him in what was the most thrilling national title in at least five years.

Those two seem to have figured out a way to make college hoops watchable.

Maybe we should listen to them.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. coryfor3 - Apr 16, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Wow- Tom Izzo opened his big yapper and actually said something worthwhile for the first time.

  2. melkipershero - Apr 16, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    Women dont have the 10 second half court rule? Thats a joke.

  3. barkleyblows - Apr 16, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    I agree… That way we don’t have to watch unathletic/crappy teams like Wesconsen hold the ball for 34 seconds and chuck up a “turrible” shot…

    It might also force crappy teams like Wesconsen to actually recruit semi athletic players! I mean who knows, Wesconsen might score 50 points in a game if they did switch it!!

  4. cullimon - Apr 16, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    I agree with Tom. And why would you try to make college ball like the NBA? College ball is just better

  5. kingghidora - Apr 17, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Rick Pitino WANTS fouls called???? Yeah right. How would he play defense after that? His teams foul more than any other program. He recruits 10 players so he has 25 extra fouls to give in a game.

    The shot clock is the last thing the college game needs. I don’t watch the NBA precisely because of the shot clock. There’s no team basketball involved unless you happen to get an offensive rebound and set up a play. Actually calling fouls is the way to go. The NBA cleaned up their game deliberately and it made it a lot better to watch but they need to extend their shot clock. They have needed to do that for decades. Now the college coaches want the same kind of “give it to me and let me drive” offense the pros use? Wrong idea. I guess coaching is a lot easier if you don’t have to actually teach an offense besides “give it to player X and get out of the way”.

    A 45 second clock would be perfect IMO. You would actually see team basketball make a comeback. The last thing the college game needs is “Showtime”. It’s boring. It’s about selfishness. You might as well make it a one on one game. Why not make a 5 second shot clock? That would really heat up the scoring, right?

  6. mtheparrothead - Apr 18, 2013 at 7:29 AM

    So make college ball more like the nba? Well that’s one way to get me to stop watching.

  7. Jeff - Apr 20, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    Make the college game mor like the NBA?! NBA games areole boring to me than college games.

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