There will be several noticeable differences in the playing rules for the National Invitation Tournament that begins Tuesday with LSU, UL-Lafayette and Southeastern Louisiana in the 32-team field.
The NCAA announced last month that, for the third time in four years, the NIT will be played with experimental rules to provide data and feedback that could assist in making permanent rules changes in the future.
The four modifications to be used in the NIT are:
• The 3-point line will be extended by approximately 1 foot, 8 inches to the same distance used by FIBA for international competition (22-1¾).
• The free-throw lane will be widened from 12 to 16 feet, the width used by the NBA.
• The games will be divided into four 10-minute quarters as opposed to two 20-minute halves. Two free throws will be awarded beginning with the fifth foul of each quarter.
• The shot clock will be reset to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound instead of the full 30 seconds.
LSU coach Will Wade said he didn't know how the rules changes would affect play, noting they were simple ones — especially with the 3-point arc and wider lanes.
"We'll see," he said, adding his staff would go over them with the players Monday. "There may be a slight adjustment, but we'll be fine."
The NCAA playing rules process has a two-year cycle and the next possible rules change date is May 2019.
“The style of play in men’s college basketball is healthy and appealing, but the leadership governing the game is interested in keeping the playing rules contemporary and trending favorably,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball.
Gavitt said each rule has some level of support among the membership, so the NIT will "provide the opportunity to gather invaluable data and measure the experience of the participants.”
The experimental rules will help determine whether a more difficult 3-point shot will be effective for men’s basketball, and if widening the lane will reduce physicality and create more driving opportunities.
In addition, the number of possessions and any impact on the pace and flow of the game will be evaluated.
In previous seasons, the NCAA has adopted rules that the NIT used on an experimental basis, such as the 30-second shot clock and a four-foot restricted-area arc in the lane.
The 81st NIT begins Tuesday night, with the semifinals and championship game set for March 27 and 29 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.