The Arizona Wildcats have never been a team to hoist a lot of 3-pointers in the Sean Miller era, and now they have another reason to stray from the perimeter.
The NCAA announced Wednesday that it will be moving the 3-point line to the international basketball distance of 22 feet, 1.75 inches starting in 2019-20 at the Division I level. The college 3-point line previously had a distance of 20 feet, nine inches.
The Men’s Basketball Rules Committee cited these reasons for the changes:
- Making the lane more available for dribble/drive plays from the perimeter.
- Slowing the trend of the 3-point shot becoming too prevalent in men’s college basketball by making the shot a bit more challenging, while at the same time keeping the shot an integral part of the game.
- Assisting in offensive spacing by requiring the defense to cover more of the court.
The NCAA experimented with an extended 3-point line during the NIT this season, and got these results:
Teams in the 2019 NIT averaged 23.1 field goal attempts in the tournament from behind the arc, compared with 22.8 3-point attempts in the 2018-19 regular season. The 3-point shooting percentage of teams in the 2019 NIT was 33%, compared with their regular season average of 35.2%.
Arizona has ranked 302nd (of 353) or lower in 3-point attempt percentage every year since 2013-14—except this past season when the Wildcats ranked 198th as 37.6 percent of their field goal attempts were 3s.
With the arc being pushed back and more space now available inside it, you can expect the Wildcats to continue to be a team that does most of its damage in the paint.
Still, the additions of Nico Mannion and Max Hazzard should ensure the Wildcats are a better 3-point shooting team than they were this past season, even with the extended 3-point line.
Arizona only shot 33.6 percent from beyond the arc in 2018-19, easily its worst rate in the Miller era.
The NCAA also approved a rule change that will reset the shot clock to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound instead of the full 30.