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College basketball’s 3-point line to move as part of NCAA rules changes

NC State’s Braxton Beverly beats the buzzer to give the Wolfpack a victory over Clemson

Watch a time-lapse as NC State's Braxton Beverly makes a three-pointer as time expires to give the Wolfpack the victory over the Clemson Tigers at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, January 26, 2019.
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Watch a time-lapse as NC State's Braxton Beverly makes a three-pointer as time expires to give the Wolfpack the victory over the Clemson Tigers at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, January 26, 2019.

College basketball’s 3-point shot just got a little deeper.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved moving the 3-point line to the international basketball distance in men’s basketball on Tuesday. The distance is now 22 feet, 1¾ inches — 16.75 inches farther than the line was for the 2018-19 season.

The rule will go into effect this upcoming season for Division I schools, per an NCAA release.

The Men’s Basketball Rules committee recommended this change after coaches provided positive feedback in a post-play rules survey after competing in the 2018 and 2019 National Invitation Tournaments.

The committee said moving back the 3-point arc would make the lane more available for dribble penetration and would slow the trend of the 3-point shot becoming “too prevalent in men’s college basketball.”

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, UNC coach Roy Williams and N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts could not be reached for comment.

Villanova coach Jay Wright, in a statement released by the NCAA, said he likes the move.

“The time is right because it gets college guys close to the NBA line,” Wright said. “The shooting has improved enough that moving back is warranted. The line back will create better spacing and help with freedom of movement.”

The international distance was used on an experimental basis during National Invitation Tournament games and the shots proved tougher to make. Participating teams hit only 33 percent of their 3-pointers, compared to the national regular-season average of 35.2.

N.C. State played three NIT games last March using the deeper distance for 3-pointers. A 35.2 percent shooting team for the season, the Wolfpack hit 23 of 69 (33 percent) during the NIT.

Creighton coach Greg McDermott, in a statement released by the NCAA, said he thinks the change will be minimal.

“After playing in the NIT under experimental rules,” McDermott said, “I felt the difference in results and preparation was minimal. Outside of providing a little more spacing, I don’t see it having a profound impact on the game.”

Watch a time lapse as North Carolina's Luke Maye hits the game-winner to defeat Kentucky in the NCAA tournament South Regional final at FedExForum in Memphis, TN, on Sunday, March 26, 2017.

The last time the line was moved was before the 2008-09 season when it was extended from 19 feet, nine inches to 20 feet, nine inches.

ACC teams made 40 percent of their 3-pointers in conference play last season, which ranked No. 9 among all conferences. NCAA champion Virginia hit a league-best 43.1 percent of its 3-pointers in ACC play and 39.5 percent overall (No. 8 nationally).

North Carolina finished second behind Virginia in 3-point shooting in ACC play at 37.9 percent. The Tar Heels shot 36.2 percent for the season, well above the national average of 34.4 percent.

ACC champion Duke hit only 29.6 percent of its 3-pointers in ACC play, part of the team’s overall poor year of shooting from behind the arc.

Normally a solid 3-point shooting team, Duke struggled last season to a 30.8 percentage overall. That’s No. 327 among all Division I teams nationally.

It’s the first time a Duke team shot worse than 37 percent since the 2008-09 team hit 34.9 percent.

While Duke struggled to hit the 3-pointer last season, the Blue Devils were still among the nation’s top teams on offense. Duke’s offensive efficiency rating of 1.2 points per possession ranked No. 7 in the nation, according to KenPom.com. That’s the 11th consecutive season the Blue Devils finished in the top 10 nationally in that category.

Speaking last week before the rule change was made official, Krzyzewski downplayed the impact of poor 3-point shooting on last year’s Blue Devils, who went 32-6, won the ACC tournament and lost to Michigan State, 68-67, in the NCAA tournament’s East Region final.

“We were a helluva scoring team,” Krzyzewski said. “We’ve been a really good scoring team every year. You can’t get fixated on the lowest percentage that you score from. You have to figure out how to score the ball. That’s what we’ll try to do with this team. That’s why we try not to systemize our guys so that we can go to their strength. Obviously we scored a lot of points last year. We didn’t get eliminated because we couldn’t shoot the 3. We lost to a heck of a team.”

The longer 3-point line will go into effect for Division II and Division III a year later than Division I, starting with 2020-21.

In addition to extending the 3-point line, the NCAA made four other rules changes that will go into effect this season.

In another effort to increase the pace of games, the 30-second shot clock will be reset to 20 seconds after a field goal attempt hits the rim and the offensive team rebounds the ball in the front court. Previously the clock was reset to the full 30 seconds.

Players will be assessed a technical foul should they use derogatory language about an opponent’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender expression, gender identify, sexual orientation or disability.

Coaches can call live-ball timeouts in the last two minutes of the second half and the last two minutes of any overtime periods. Previously, coaches weren’t allowed to call any live-ball timeouts during the game.

In another rule change covering late-game situations, instant replay review can be conducted if a basket interference or goaltending call has been made in the last two minutes of the second half and the last two minutes of any overtime period.

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