Official: The men's college basketball 3-point line is moving back

Yahoo Sports
Teams shot nearly 23 threes per game in 2018-19. (Getty Images)
Teams shot nearly 23 threes per game in 2018-19. (Getty Images)

Men’s college basketball will have a longer three-point line when the 2019-20 season begins.

The NCAA’s Men’s Basketball Rules Committee approved an adjustment Wednesday that moves the three-point line back to the international basketball three-point line. College basketball’s previous three-point line has been at 20 feet, 9 inches. The international arc is at 22-1 3/4.

Here was the committee’s reasoning for the decision. From the NCAA:

  • 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.

In addition to the three-point line move, teams that get an offensive rebound off a ball that hits the rim will have the shot clock reset to 20 seconds instead of the standard 30 seconds.

International line used at the NIT

The international line has been tested in the postseason NIT over the last two seasons. And, as you can imagine, three-point percentage has declined with the line further out from the basket. Teams in the 2019 NIT shot roughly the same number of three-pointers as teams did in the 2018-19 regular season. But teams shot 33 percent from behind the arc compared to a regular-season average of 35.2 percent.

Teams are shooting more threes as smart basketball minds realize that long two-pointers are not as efficient as threes. Teams took fewer than 10 threes per game in 1986-87, the first year the three-point line was used in college basketball. Teams attempted nearly 23 threes per game in 2018-19.

The move is the second three-point line adjustment in the last 12 years for college basketball. The line was previously moved from 19-9 to 20-9 before the 2008-09 season. Three-point shooting percentage dropped slightly before slowing creeping back up to where it roughly was before the adjustment.

If the NIT is any indication, the longer line won’t lead to an immediate drop in the number of threes per game. But if teams continue to shoot slightly worse because of the longer line then they’ll likely start taking fewer threes per game.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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