I’m a huge dork, if you haven’t figured that out by now. Something else you probably know about me is that I’m not actually an English major, I’m a Civil Engineer by degree. As I was harassed mercifully for the number of concrete and metal design classes I had to take, some of the information actually stuck, contrary to my University transcript. One important Day 1 lesson you get in chemistry is the formula PV=nRT (it’s the Ideal Gas Law). Take out the boring constants, and it boils down to PV=T or Pressure x Volume = Temperature. Think of a car tire. In the winter, your pressure is lower because it is colder out while your tire has the same volume of air in it.
Why am I spouting off chemistry lessons? It was announced today that the ACC will experiment with a 30-second shot clock in exhibition games this upcoming basketball season. And of course, the newly crowned champion of the conference are getting the most guff for the change. Basically, Tony Bennett’s and Virginia’s gimmick methodical offence and ‘Pack Line Defense’ would not survive this change. But just like a lot of 1st years, most people forget both sides of the equation.
The major reason for the change in the shot clock is two fold. First, the Men’s College shot clock is the longest in ‘advanced’ level basketball at 35 seconds. The Women play with a 30 second clock and the NBA and FIBA (International) is 24 seconds. Secondly, the college game is deemed to have gotten too slow. Methodical teams like Wisconsin, Arizona, and, yes, Virginia like to play games in the 60s, which some think is not great for TV ratings or attractive for fans to watch. In 2013, Virginia averaged 62.5 possessions per game, the 6th fewest in the country. That was 17 less than the top team, and 9 less than the average team under the 35-second clock. In the NBA that runs a 24-second clock, the slowest team, Memphis, had 93.9 possessions per game, and the most was Philly with 103.4. So, with a little extrapolation, the college game will average about 12 more possessions per game with that change.
Here’s the point. While everyone is playing under the same constant rules, teams like Virginia will still limit possessions and play defense, extending other teams possessions, thus slowing down other teams. So while the average possessions go up from, say, 63 to 76, and points increase from the 60s to the 70s, it still doesn’t make the overall philosophy or outcomes any different.
All teams have to play under the same time constraints, which means that conditioning and depth will play an increased roll for everyone. It also means that you have to run your offense quicker, but again, everyone has the same ‘issue’. If teams are being labeled as slow now, they will still be considered slow under the new rules. Nothing will change in the grand scheme of things. Bennett should have to worry about this cause he will still play defense and force teams to take bad shots. Whether it means they take more bad shots or not, he will still get the same amount of chances on the other end. So hurl all the jokes you want towards us, we’re just fine with the changes as well.