The 2019 National Invitational Tournament — commonly referred to as the NIT — which the Texas Longhorns are set to take part in after missing the NCAA Tournament, will once again feature experimental rules when the 32-team tournament gets underway on Tuesday.
According to NCAA.com, the 2019 NIT is set to feature four rule modifications, adopting various rules from FIBA and the NBA, among other changes:
• The 3-point line will be extended by approximately 1 foot, 8 inches to the same distance used by FIBA for international competition (22 feet, 1.75 inches).
• The free throw lane will be widened from 12 feet to 16 feet, consistent with the width used by the NBA.
• The shot clock will reset to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound instead of the full 30 seconds.
• Team fouls will reset at the 10-minute mark of each half for the purpose of determining free throws and one-and-one free throws will be eliminated. Teams will shoot two bonus free throws after the fifth team foul of each 10-minute segment. Additionally, teams will be awarded two bonus free throws after the second team foul committed under two minutes remaining in each half if that foul occurs before the fifth team foul of the segment. In each overtime period, team fouls will reset, and teams will shoot two free throws beginning with the fourth team foul or the second team foul committed under two minutes remaining if that comes before the fourth team foul of the overtime period.
As noted on the original NCAA release, each of the first three rules were in place for the 2018 NIT, as well.
The purpose of the rule changes for this postseason tournament, as detailed by Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball, is to “gather invaluable data and measure the experience of the participants” as it pertains to potentially altering the rules currently in place for college basketball as a whole.
“The style of play in men’s college basketball is healthy and appealing, but the leadership governing the game is interested in keeping the playing rules contemporary and trending favorably,” said Gavitt. “Experimenting with two significant court dimension rules, a shot-clock reset rule and a game-format rule all have some level of support in the membership, so the NIT will provide the opportunity to gather invaluable data and measure the experience of the participants. The experimental rules will help determine if a marginally more difficult 3-point shot will be effective for men’s college basketball and if widening the lane will reduce physicality and create more driving opportunities. In addition, the number of possessions and any impact on the pace and flow of the game will be evaluated.”
Texas, which earned a No. 2 seed in the NIT, will host the No. 7 South Dakota State Jackrabbits (24-8) on Tuesday at the Frank Erwin Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Central on ESPN.
The 2019 NIT will mark Texas’ fifth-ever NIT appearance and the program’s first since 1986. The Longhorns are 6-3 all-time in the NIT, and won the NIT Championship in 1978