I recently had a chance to interview Keene State men’s basketball head coach Ryan Cain, whose team is coming off an exciting NCAA Tournament run to the Elite Eight this past season in Division III. I asked him about where he thought the game of basketball is now, both in terms of quality and popularity. He also talked about how the Division I, II and III levels compare. I asked him about recent rule changes, some of which are obvious even watching games on television. In the not too distant past, the NCAA rules committee reduced the shot clock for the men’s game from 35 seconds to 30 seconds. The idea behind this was to further increase the pace and entertainment value of the game. The rules committee also changed how coaches are allowed to call timeouts and placed an emphasis on reducing physicality, which relates back to increasing scoring. I asked him about how the referees have handled any changes that impact their job, and whether or not these are consistently enforced. Moving to the future, it is quite possible more changes are coming down the pike. While many focus on the NCAA Tournament this month, the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), where many mid-major teams or teams that just missed the NCAA’s compete, is using experimental rules that mirror the format the women’s game recently changed to. The NIT is tracking team fouls in ten minute segments, with teams reaching the bonus and getting two free throws at five team fouls. The team fouls reset at the midpoint of each half. This comes as close as possible to adopting the women’s format without fully doing so. Only the four 10 minute quarters are missing in the NIT’s experiment. I asked Coach Cain about his thoughts on the men’s game potentially adopting the women’s format in the future and also asked him if he could change anything about the game (and it did not necessarily have to be something we discussed), what it would be.
To listen to the interview, click here.