Not even a week after Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman unveiled her lengthy recommendations on improving women’s college basketball (see MSR’s July 17 “Another View”), the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee moved quickly to implement several changes.
Beginning in 2015, the Women’s Final Four will shift from Sunday-Tuesday to Friday-Sunday; initiating possible first- and second-round byes for the top-32 seeds so that lower-seeded teams will play each other first; and combining all three divisions championships at one site as early as 2016. Indianapolis is expected to host the Division I Final Four in 2016.
Additionally, effective this upcoming season, the 10-second backcourt rule returns to women’s college ball. Absent since 1981-82, the 10-second count begins as soon as the offensive player touches the ball inbounds, and the 30-second clock will be used to determine if the offensive team crossed the midcourt line within 10 seconds. It should be noted that the 10-second rule has been in play at every level except NCAA women’s basketball.
While this rule returns, the five-second closely guarded rule in the backcourt is now eliminated, but it still remains in the frontcourt. However, the closely guarded rule was modified to now require the defensive player to be within three feet of the offensive player with the ball in order to force a five-second violation.
The Big Ten last season experimented with officials being asked to check if a shot was a two-pointer or three-pointer during the next media timeout. This season this can be done in both men’s and women’s basketball.
The replay monitor now can be used in the last two minutes of regulation and overtime if a shot-clock violation occurred and to determine who caused the ball to go out of bounds if it involves two or more players. It also can be used now to clear up any uncertainty after a foul call has been made, and the monitor immediately can be used in the last four minutes of the game and the entire overtime “to look for indisputable evidence” on how many points should be awarded for a made field goal.
Finally, when a team calls a timeout within or up to 30 seconds before the scheduled media timeout (at 16, 12, 8, and 4-minute marks), that timeout becomes the mandatory media timeout with the exception of the first team-called timeout in the second half.
Twins’ middle defense improving
The Minnesota Twins’ middle defense may be finally proving its worth.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said last week that shortstop Pedro Florimon and second baseman Brian Dozier appear to be clicking as a middle infield combination. “The game is all up the middle: catching, shortstop, second base and center field,” he told the MSR after the team’s first game after the All-Star break.
“If you’re strong up the middle, you get the outs you are supposed to. We’ve been lucky around here and have pretty good defense up the middle and in center field,” Gardenhire said.
Interestingly, the Twins’ best middle defensive clubs, sans catcher, have had Blacks or other people of color playing in those roles.
“It makes everybody more comfortable,” notes Twins starting pitcher Samuel Deduno on the importance of solid defense behind the mound. “It makes everybody pretty good.”
College football keeps growing
Since 2008, there have been 33 new college football teams, including the 12 new clubs to debut this season: Division I (4), Division II (2), Division III (3) and NAIA (3). According to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, there will be nearly 60 new teams by 2016.
Information from NCAA.org was used in this report.
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