Longer 3’s likely for approval in NCAA

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If college basketball’s rules committee has its way, 3-pointers will be a little more difficult next season.

Under the committee’s proposal, the 3-point line will be moved back to 22 feet, 1-3/4 inches, which is where the line is in international competitions. Currently, the arc is 20 feet, 9 inches from the hoop. The NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel will decide on that and other proposals on June 5.

“After gathering information over the last two seasons, we feel it’s time to make the change,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle, the committee’s chair, said.

The NCAA again used the NIT in March as a testing lab for possible rules changes. In the 31 NIT games played this season, teams attempted 23.1 3-pointers per game, a small increase from the regular-season average of 22.8 attempts. Their success rate of 33 percent was off slightly from the regular season (35.2 percent).

Unclogging the lane and curbing the trend of teams being over-reliant on the long-range shot were cited by the committee as reasons for the change.

So, what might this mean for books and bettors? Doug Castaneda, sportsbook director at Wynn Resorts, thinks the proposed change would have an impact on lines — but perhaps not in the way you would think.

“I think the totals will be affected, most surely,” Castaneda said. “The defense will be stretched out. So, the 3-point shot is now arguably harder, but defenses will have to cover more territory, so that could mean more high-percentage shots.”

Castaneda envisions more alley-oops and drives to the bucket — shots that are much more efficient for the offense.

Villanova coach Jay Wright is on board with the proposal.

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

Castaneda said this focus on speeding the pace of play could offset any losses due to lower 3-point shooting accuracy. But with the unknown impact, he said, “There’s going to be a lot of value for bettors on betting totals.”

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About the Author

Ched Whitney

Ched Whitney has been a journalist in Las Vegas since 1994. He worked for the Las Vegas Review-Journal for 18 years, where he was the paper’s art director for 12. Since becoming a freelancer in 2012, his work has appeared at ESPN.com, AOL, The Seattle Times and UNLV Magazine, among others. ​

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