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NCAA Moves 3-Point Line Back; Which Teams Stand to Benefit?

Cam Reddish
Wide open threes, like this one taken by Cam Reddish, may become more common next season. Photo by @sn_ncaab (Twitter)
  • The NCAA has moved the three-point line back to international distance
  • The NIT Tournament played with the three-point line at this distance last year
  • Offensive-minded teams should benefit as there will now be more room for slashers and more room for big-men to operate

The NCAA has decided to move the three-point line back next season, pushing it back to international distance, which is 22 feet and 1 3/4 inches. That’s a sizable change from the 20 feet, nine inches, which is where it was this past season. The rule will go into effect next season.

Which teams figure to benefit from this, and whose 2020 NCAA Tournament odds will get the biggest boost? Let’s take a closer look.

2020 NCAA Men’s Tournament Odds

Team 2020 NCAA Tournament Odds at Bovada
Duke +750
Kentucky +750
Michigan State +800
North Carolina +1300
Gonzaga +1400
Kansas +1600
Villanova +1600
Louisville +1800
Michigan +2200
Oregon +2500

*Odds taken 06/06/2019

Three-Point Shooting Teams Will Benefit

Of course, the first thing that everyone will realize is that teams who shoot the threes best will benefit. It’s hard to say how things will play out next year but if we’re looking back to 2018-19, that would be teams like Virginia, Virginia Tech and Marquette – each of whom finished in the top 10 of three-point field goal percentage.

Teams With Big Interior Presence Will Benefit

What’s important to note here is that pushing the arc back will create far more space inside of it. Of course, teams who shoot the three well will be best suited for success at the three-point line. However, with more space, there will be more action (slashing, cutting, jumpers) inside the arc.

Right now, the game is pretty much threes or jamming it into the post. Now we’ll see more pick-and-rolls at the top and far less traffic for teams that have slashers to get into the lane.

We’ll see more pick-and-rolls at the top and far less traffic for teams that have slashers to get into the lane.

What it also means is teams with plenty of big men won’t be as crowded. With everyone so close before, teams could just collapse on someone like Zion Williamson and force a pass. Now he’ll have more space to operate.

NIT Provides Valuable Insights

The NIT made the change in the tournament last season and things went well, which is why the NCAA is making this full-scale change. However, you can go back to the NIT and either look at teams that shot well or re-watch the games to get an idea of how the game flow will look in the new setup.

Fade Defensive Teams, Bet Offensive Teams

It’s still super early in the process and we really don’t have much data to work with. However, one would have to think that the NCAA game is moving closer to the NBA game. That means more offense, more free-flowing games, and more points. Teams who emphasize that will be rewarded.

That means I’d drop down teams like Texas Tech, Michigan and Virginia as of right now. I’d also give teams like Kansas (who have a large assortment of big men to work with this year), North Carolina and Gonzaga a boost. They should be able to shine offensively a little bit more and they already do a good job of recruiting the best three-point shooters. This should help them.

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