International rules to be used

TUSCALOOSA -- When the University of Alabama men's basketball team travels to Nassau to play five games next week, its games will be played using international basketball rules.

Among those rules Alabama is practicing to prepare for in a game situation that may have the most impact is the use of a 24-second clock as opposed to the 35-second clock the NCAA implements.

"I think that's fairly major," says Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried who will take ten of his 15 players-the five freshmen aren't allowed by NCAA rules-to play the Bahamas National Team, Junior National Team and a club team in Nassau. "It speeds your possessions up. You don't have a lot of time to re-set.

"And when the ball touches the rim, it's then live. Different than in the United States. Once the ball touches the rim, you can knock it off the rim defensively or tip it in offensively."

The lane is also wider under international rules. NCAA basketball uses a 12x19 free throw lane while FIBA's dimensions are 19'8.2x19'0.3. The three-point line is deeper as well with a 19'9 range in the NCAA and a 20'6.1 depth in FIBA rules play.

"And the other thing that affects you a lot," says Gottfried, "is that you cannot stop the game by calling a timeout. You request a timeout internationally and you get it on the next dead ball. So you may want to call a timeout to set up an offense but you can't. You have to play it until there's a dead ball. Those are all the major rule differences that we'll be experiencing."

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