The slowest conference in college basketball last season might be leading the charge to speed up the game. On Thursday, the ACC announced that it will experiment with a 30-second shot clock in exhibition games to see what impact it might have on the sport.
Swofford said for exhibition games ACC will use 30-second shot clock in men’s hoops. "College basketball needs to take closer look at this"— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) May 15, 2014
Right now, the college basketball shot clock is 35 seconds, while the NBA's is 24 seconds. This is yet another attempt by the sport's administrators to speed up the game and increase scoring, in an effort to increase interest and ratings. There have been calls for shorter shot clocks in recent years, but the NCAA's response focused on new foul rules that were designed to increase scoring and emphasize offense.
Initially, tempo rose, but it decreased by the end of the season (though offensive efficiency at the end of the season was good). It figures to take a while for the new rules to have an effect besides more fouls, but the idea is that eventually, players will learn to play defense within those rules, rather than the previous brand of defense that some compared to football.
However, a shot clock change forces the game to adapt immediately, rather than wait for the players to adapt and change the game. We're still a ways away from a shorter NCAA shot clock becoming a reality, but the ACC seems like the perfect case study to "take a closer look" at the sport's identity. The second-fastest league in 2002, with an average tempo of 74.2 possessions per game, it was dead last among the 32 conferences in 2014, with just 61.8 possessions per game, according to KenPom.com.