Since Alabama’s basketball season seems more and more destined to end there, let’s talk about the NIT.
The NCAA announced Tuesday it would experiment with four major rule changes in this season’s tournament. One widens the free-throw line and another deepens the 3-point line by 20 inches and four feet, respectively.
The other two are more drastic. Each NIT game will be divided into four quarters — no more 20-minute halves — and the shot clock will reset to 20 seconds, not 30, after an offensive rebound.
Permanent rule changes cannot be made to college basketball until May 2019, so think of this as a trial run — at the expense of some teams who used their entire seasons to arrive at it.
So often, the NIT is viewed solely as a consolation prize.
Teams that end their seasons on the wrong side of the NCAA tournament bubble begrudgingly accept their invitation and play uninspired basketball. Remember, this was the tournament where a John Calipari-coached Kentucky team went to Robert Morris University (that’s in Moon Township, Pa.) and lost a game.
But what about the Robert Morrises of the world? Those teams from the middle of nowhere and a conference few have ever heard of that worked their whole seasons for a sliver of postseason play, no matter the stakes.
This experimentation slaps in the face the seasons those teams and all the participants have had and devalues the NIT.
Yes, it’s a difficult predicament — the prospective rule changes need to be tested and these games, at their core, have no real import. I understand why it’s being done.
But changing the entire complexion of how a game is played, after some teams played upwards of 30 games a complete other way to arrive at what they perceive at the pinnacle, feels wrong.