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Andy Katz | Correspondent | May 10, 2019

Coaches react to the NCAA men's college basketball 3-point line proposed change

Breaking down the potential 3-point line change with NCAA men's basketball committee chair Tad Boyle

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee announced a proposal today to move the 3-point line from the current 20 feet, 9 inches to the International Basketball Federation distance of 22 feet, 1.75 inches for the 2019-20 season in Division I men’s college basketball. The lane would stay the same and not be widened, with the hope that the post play would continue. The goal was to make the shot a bit harder and more importantly, to create uniformity with the international game.

If the recommendation is approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel on June 5, the rule would take effect for the 2019-20 season in Division I. The new 3-point line would go into effect for the 2020-21 season in Divisions II and III.

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Overall, the college coaches I talked to are in favor of the rule change. I polled a number of them on why the timing was right to make the change and what the impact to the game might be. Here are their responses:

Jay Wright, Villanova

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

Bill Self, Kansas

“I think it’s fine to move it back. I think it would impact the game, not so much a lack of attempts, but shooting percentages will go down a bit.’’

Josh Pastner, Georgia Tech

“I think the 3-point shot now has become easy for college basketball so moving it back to the international line is the right thing to do and I think it will be impactful because the 3-point shot has changed the entire landscape of the game and with it moving back a little bit you’re going to have to be that much of a better shooter.’’

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Bruce PEARL, Auburn

“It’s time because it will open up the lane more and assist with freedom of movement. It will force players to extend their range. For those who now cannot shoot it, more teams will be able to double team the post or best player.”

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Shaka Smart, Texas

“The new line should be advantageous to the better shooting team, providing more spacing. It will be interesting to see if any less 3s get taken or whether there’s a significant impact on percentage.”

Dana Altman, Oregon

“The new distance will probably spread the floor a little more and may lower the number of 3’s that are attempted. It was probably just a matter of time before we used the FIBA distance. I think the rules committee and others felt the balance of the 2 vs 3 attempts was leaning to the 3 too much.”

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Brad Underwood, Illinois

“We keep making the game better. Why not now? I love it!

"It will have minimal change. It will create more space and will help open up court especially if you can shoot. Defensively it will be minimal initially. Help interior play a bunch with space.”

Eric Musselman, Arkansas

“It seems like it is a good time now with the influx of international talent both in the college and the NBA game (to make the switch).

"The new distance will spread the floor more for college teams as well as put a premium on great shooters.”

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Greg McDermott, Creighton

“After playing in the NIT under experimental rules, 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.”

Fran McCaffery, Iowa

“We are seeing the game become a 3-point shooting fest and the shot should become a more difficult one to make, so post play is still an important part of the game. I think next year you will see fewer made 3s because of the distance.”

Mike White, Florida

“I would assume the floor being spread more would help offenses more as long as 3-point percentages don’t significantly drop (which I don’t forecast).”

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Mike Brey, Notre Dame

“Do defenses back off the “imposter” shooters? Do defenses jam in more? Will we really see more zone now? Does the mid-range game come back some.’’

Chris Beard, Texas Tech

“It might change the game a little, probably lower 3-point field goal percentage.

"It probably helps players (shooters) with their jump to professional basketball.”

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