Game-Changers? NCAA uses NIT matchups to experiment with possible tweaks

Game-Changers? NCAA uses NIT matchups to experiment with possible tweaks
David Padgett (Source: Kendrick Haskins, WAVE 3 News)
Jeff Walz (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Jeff Walz (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Scotty Davenport
Scotty Davenport

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A loud and active crowd cheered the Louisville Cardinals to their first NIT win Tuesday night over Northern Kentucky.

Fans at the KFC Yum! Center, and others watching at home, couldn't help but notice a major difference in the game: It was played in four quarters instead of two halves.

It's a little confusing for fans and probably many of the teams taking part for the first few minutes. The NIT has been a guinea pig for the NCAA in the last couple of years, as the governing body considers rule changes to men's basketball.

"The quarter thing threw me off a little bit, I'm not going to lie," UofL coach David Padgett said after the victory. "That was a little strange because you keep looking up at the clock and you notice the half is going so fast and then you're like OK, there's still 10 more minutes after this."

The NCAA is continuing its experimental rules for men's basketball. Everybody else plays four quarters, from grade school to high school to NCAA women's basketball and the NBA.

"I really have not found any negatives," UofL women's coach Jeff Walz  said. "The games go by faster."

That's because teams aren't spending so much time at the free throw line. In quarters, it's two free throws after the fifth foul. At the end of the quarter, a team's foul total resets.

"In playing halves, a team might get into the bonus, which is seven fouls, with 13 minutes to go in the half," Walz said. "Now you're shooting free throws for the next 13 minutes."

Veteran Cards Arica Carter and Myisha Hines-Allen have played both halves and quarters in their college careers.

"I like the quarters a lot better," Hines-Allen said. "It moves the game a lot faster and then like the fouls at the end of the game, you get the two free throws."

Carter agreed, saying quarters allow more exciting runs and last-second shots.

"Maybe I go on a big run to end the first quarter," Carter said. "Then you come out big in the second quarter, where in halves, it's just continuation, and I think it does make the game more exciting for fans."

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Bellarmine Coach Scotty Davenport said for the coaching staff the game becomes more strategic.

"You play the clock and the score in the situation much more frequent than we do now," he said.

The NCAA's experiment includes a 20-second shot clock following an offensive rebound, the three-point line extended 20 inches, and the free throw lane expanded from 12 feet to 16 feet.

Davenport said one thing he likes about halves is that it gives the college men something no one else has.

Ultimately, though, he said he believes it will eventually change to quarters, because from millennials on, he said, everyone wants the future game to be played faster.

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