Is ACC Basketball’s Shorter Shot Clock a Good Idea?

acc-shot-clockThink college basketball games are too low scoring for your tastes? Then you might want to get aboard ACC basketball betting next season because college’s most-storied hoops conference is trying a shorter shot clock.

ACC commissioner John Swofford says that the conference already has plans to test a 30-second clock during exhibition games in the 2014-15 NCAA basketball season. Swofford hopes that by lowering the shot clock from the traditional 35 seconds per possession, scoring will increase in ACC games. The current 35-second clock is longer than the NBA (24 sec.), FIBA (24 sec.) and women’s college basketball (30 sec.).

Many involved with NCAA basketball have been discussing a shot clock change after the 2012-13 season, when Division I teams averaged 67.5 points a game – the lowest in the 3-point era. Coaches and conference figureheads got together after the 2012-13 campaign and asked referees to call hand-checking and arm-barring fouls tighter. This collective effort worked as scoring shot up to 71.0 PPG for the 2013-14 season. However, not everybody was satisfied because in the latter part of the year, most refs had gone back to their old habits of not calling many hand-checking fouls.

Since the end of last season, famed coaches like Tom Izzo and Rick Pitino have been campaigning for the shot clock. And their movement seems to be fully supported by the Atlantic Coast Conference since they’ll actually be experimenting with the 30-second clock.

Syracuse v VirginiaBut these positive aspects could be offset by the potentially negative consequences of shortening the shot clock. For starters, such a move could alter playing styles that certain schools have used for years. ACC member Virginia is notorious for using a slow-paced motion offense, as opposed to Virginia Commonwealth’s fast-paced offense. Many fans appreciate these differing styles and seeing how they play out on the court. But a shot-cock alteration would certainly limit the contrast between how teams play the game.

Another concern lies with how a 30-second clock could affect the huge upsets that college basketball fans love. Thanks to the 35-second clock, less-talented teams can control the ball and give themselves a better chance to topple the giants. However, less time to shoot means more possessions, thus giving superior schools more of an opportunity to assert their dominance.

Finally, we have to wonder if reducing the shot clock would lead to uglier overall gameplay. Anybody who’s watched the NBA before has seen teams struggle to get through their offense on certain plays, thus resulting in a last-second heave at the rim. Given that college basketball teams feature less talent and a tighter area in between the basket and 3-point line, we could see far more of these bad possessions.

But for now, the ACC’s move is just an experiment to see how a shorter shot clock would affect games. If it fails miserably and nobody likes it, well, then we may not hear any clock talk for quite some time. However, if speeding up the action creates more exciting overall contests, then college basketball has nothing to lose by trying something new.