College basketball had a problem.
Teams were scoring less and less, physical defense had turned the area under the basket into a mosh pit and sluggish play was choking the life out of the game.
So, in the spring of 2015, members of the NCAA rules committee sequestered themselves for days of tough discussion, emerging with a set of changes that included opening up the lane and trimming the shot clock to 30 seconds.
The shorter clock, in particular, was a risky move because coaches might find ways — such as a soft press defense in the backcourt — to waste precious seconds, further slowing things to a crawl.
“I told the guys in the room, this is the rule for the...