INDIANAPOLIS — For the third time in four years, the 2018 National Invitation Tournament will feature experimental rules intended to give the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee, the Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee and the Division I Men’s Basketball Competition Committee data as well as feedback to assist in making decisions regarding rules changes. The NCAA playing rules process has a two-year cycle, and the next possible rules change date is May of 2019.
The 2018 NIT will feature four rules modifications:
• The three-point line will be extended by approximately 1 foot 8 inches 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.
“The style of play in men’s college basketball is healthy and appealing, but the leadership governing the game is interested in keeping the playing rules contemporary and trending favorably,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball. “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 experimental rules will help determine if a marginally more difficult three-point shot will be effective for men’s college basketball, and if widening the lane will reduce physicality and create more driving opportunities. In addition, the number of possessions and any impact on the pace and flow of the game will be evaluated.
“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,” Gavitt said. “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.”
In previous seasons, the NIT has experimented with rules such as the 30-second shot clock and a 4-foot restricted-area arc before those rules were implemented by the rules committee.
The 81st NIT will begin Tuesday, March 13 with the semifinals and championship game scheduled for March 27 and 29 at Madison Square Garden in New York. All 31 matchups of the NIT will air exclusively on ESPN networks.