Experimental rules in effect at Maui Invitational

The University of Louisville will have to adapt and adjust to three experimental rules at the Maui Invitational this week. And while U of L Head Coach Rick Pitino favors two of the changes, he's got some doubt about the third.

How much impact three experimental rules will have during the EA Sports Maui Invitational remains to be seen. What isn't uncertain, however, is that the Univerity of Louisville and the seven other teams competiting for the prestigious preseason tournament title will have to adjust and adapt to them this week if they hope to find success on the islands.

The three experimental rules in effect in Hawaii will be: a widened free throw lane, an extended three-point line and the addition of a charge-block circle near the basket.

The free throw lane, currently 12 feet wide, will be widened 1 1/2 feet on both sides and angled at the top of the lane; the three-point arch, which has been set at 19 feet, 9 inches since its inception into the college game in 1987, will be moved back to the international distance of 20 feet, 6 inches; and an arch will be added two feet from the center of the basket to assist with charge/block calls.

"I'm not sure about the [widened] lane yet, but I've always felt that the college [three-point] line should be at the international distance," Pitino said. "There's not a whole lot of difference but it's certainly better than where the line is now. It helps spacing somewhat, especially with your passes into the post.

Pitino also favors the addition of the charge/block arch inside the free throw lane, which is used in the National Basketball Association. In effect, if contact is made inside the arch, the defensive player will be assessed with a blocking foul. If contact is initiated outside the arch, the offensive player could be assessed with a charging foul.

"I don't think someone should be going in for a layup and somebody is standing under the rim to take a charge," Pitino explained. "I think they [defender] should have to step up to draw a charge and not just wait for a guy to fall down into them. So I like that [rule] as well. But it's [the line] so tight to the rim that I think if they moved it out even further it would be even better."

As for the widened lane, Pitino isn't the only person in college basketball a little skeptical about changing the current lane's width. ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, a member of Duke's 1986 team that lost to Louisville in the NCAA championship game, says the widened lane would effectively kill post play at the college level.

"It legislates post play out of the college game and that's just wrong," Bilas recently said.

Whether or not these experimental rules will be implemented into the college game permantly remains to be seen. However, their impact during the Maui Invitational should, at least, be interesting to see.


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