Bruce Pearl

The NCAA's decision to move the three-point line back to the distance used in the international game will likely have a positive impact on the game overall.

Earlier in June, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved moving the line back to a distance of 22 feet, 1¾ inches, as well as making a change that should increase the pace of games  — resetting the shot clock to 20 seconds instead of 30 when a shot hits the rim and the team on offense retains possession. 

The NCAA experimented with the longer three-point line and new shot clock reset rule in the NIT tournament earlier this year and received positive feedback. The new rules will go into effect in Division I for the 2019-20 season.

Auburn coach Bruce Pearl doesn't think either change will dramatically affect how the Tigers' play the game or how many three-point shots the team fires up —the Tigers attempted 1,204 threes, hitting 454 of them last season. 

"I wish the line had been farther back last year because it would have helped us even more," said Pearl in last week's SEC teleconference. "We had so many guys who could shoot it from great distances. 

"I think it will be a positive thing for the game even though percentages will go down a couple of points the first year."

Pearl added that moving back the line won't affect a team's great shooters. 

"It will affect your guys who don't shoot it very well because they won't make as many, and they'll take fewer."

 While it could result in fewer deep shots from beyond the arc, it will also open up the lane and put a greater premium on bigs in the paint. It also might make some teams alter their approach to half court offense, as Kentucky coach John Calipari noted. 

"Now as a coach, you've got to make a choice — are we going to shoot that many threes or are we going to be more of a driving team?" he said. 

While Pearl said the new line distance won't change anything for the Tigers, it will be interesting to see if it plays out that way once the season starts, especially with the return of center Austin Wiley, who is poised to finally have a breakout year after missing time the previous two seasons to suspension and injury. 

It wouldn't be a long shot to expect the Tigers to shoot far fewer threes next season.

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