UK Men's Basketball

Proposed NCAA rule change addresses LSU’s winning tip-in against Kentucky

LSU’s Kavell Bigby-Williams (11) celebrated following a last-second basket against Kentucky on Feb. 12.
LSU’s Kavell Bigby-Williams (11) celebrated following a last-second basket against Kentucky on Feb. 12.

With John Calipari conducting a basketball clinic in Italy this week, news came that might cause the Kentucky coach to check an English-to-Italian dictionary. He had reason to want to know how to say “I told you so” in Italian.

The NCAA announced Friday that its men’s basketball rules committee proposed several changes. Among those is a proposal to allow referees to review basket interference and goaltending in the last two minutes of the second half and the last two minutes of any overtime period.

Of course, Kentucky lost to LSU 73-71 on Feb. 12 when Kavell Bigby-Williams tipped in a shot at the buzzer. A replay clearly showed the ball was still in the cylinder when the LSU forward tipped it in.

But NCAA rules do not allow referees to go to the sideline monitor to check for basket interference or goaltending. The referees could only check the timing to see if Bigby-Williams’ tip-in came before the final buzzer.

In his postgame news conference, Calipari referenced another rule that hindered Kentucky and its subsequent change. Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes made a basket after the shot clock expired in the 2015 Final Four. But the rules at the time did not allow a review at that time of the game.

“They said it was not reviewable, and then they changed the rule to say, ‘why would you want to lose a game on a shot-clock violation, and it’s easy to go check?’” Calipari said. “Well, this one is easy to go check, too. Why would you not? Why would that not be reviewable?”

The rule was subsequently changed to allow such a review.

“So we’re like Wilt Chamberlain,” Calipari said. “We change rules.”

Calipari’s prediction of a change to allow review of basket interference was buried at the end of the NCAA’s news release on Friday.

The headline proposal involved moving the three-point line to the international distance of 22 feet, one and three-quarter inches. It is currently 20 feet, nine inches from the basket.

The proposal by the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee must be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel on June 5. If approved, the line would be farther from the basket beginning with the 2019-20 season in Division I.

Because of costs involved in such a change, the line would be moved back in the 2020-21 season in Divisions II and III.

The change in the three-point line was the result of positive feedback from coaches whose teams played in the 2018 and 2019 National Invitation Tournaments, where the international distance was used, the NCAA said.

The longer distance would create more driving lanes and slow the trend of the three-point line being too prevalent, the NCAA said.

Other changes proposed included:

Resetting the shot clock to 20 seconds after a shot hits the rim and the offensive team grabs the rebound. The rationale is to speed up play, the NCAA said.

A Flagrant 2 technical foul and ejection being assessed if a player uses derogatory language about an opponent’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Allowing coaches to call live-ball timeouts in the last two minutes of the second half or last two minutes of any overtime period. Currently, coaches cannot call a timeout in a live-ball situation.