It’s crazy to think the game of basketball once had no shot clock whatsoever. I mean seriously, a team could score one basket, get a stop and then hold the ball for the rest of the half. That sounds less than exciting. In fact, the shot clock wasn’t introduce to the college game until the 1985-1986, shortly after Jimmy V and NC State’s magical run in the 1983 tournament, where the Wolfpack held the ball for about a minute before Lorenzo Charles’ game winning dunk. The Houston Cougars were the powerhouse of that season, their high-flying team was dubbed “Phi Slamma Jamma” and they loved to get out and run. What’s the best way to stop a team from running and dunking on your entire roster? Hold the ball for a minute at a time, so that’s what they did.
Anyway, in ’86 the 35-second shot clock was introduced as a way to keep the game flowing and promote scoring. At first, the results were incredible; scoring went way up as players ran up and down the court.
However, recently the scoring of basketball has declined again. More teams are using more shot clock and taking time getting into their offense. A team can literally stand around half court 20 seconds before finally setting up an offense. Also, with recruiting becoming a massive market and teams playing more and more raw freshman, some games are unwatchable. Even the 2011 Connecticut Butler national championship was more or less like watching paint dry. Efficiency and team play have gone way down as just about every player plays AAU, which has less defense than a game of horse.
Now, the NCAA has decided to lower the shot clock from 35 seconds, to 30 seconds. While it may not seem like much of a difference, teams will have to adjust their tempo and schemes to adjust. A team like Virginia, who plays at a turtle like pace, is going to, at some point, try and get out in transition and run when their particularly lock down defense isn’t so lock down. The new shot clock will play more into the hands of a bubble team like BYU as they love to get out and run, even though there’s no more Jimmer Time who hucks it up from 35 feet 5 seconds into the shot clock. Offensive efficiency may go way down but only basketball purists will really care about that. The casual fans want to see more scoring, and that’s exactly what they’ll get.
College basketball games are always fun to watch. Each arena has its own atmosphere and when rival teams face off, the places get jumpin’. Duke and North Carolina may be the best rivalry in all of sports, fact. Although neither team plays at a particularly slow pace, imagine a game where they run up and down the court at a frantic pace in front of the Cameron Crazies or the almost a crazy fans who rock the Dean Smith Center every winter. Now THAT would be must watch television if it wasn’t already. You already know you’re going to get a classic game, as both teams should spend the whole year ranked in the top 10, but now the natural offensive punch of each team will lead to a game that will bring tears to Dick Vitale’s eyes. “THAT GAME WAS AWESOME BABY!!”