New rules, and I’m not talking about “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO.

I’m talking about the NIT, the National Invitation Tournament, which has made changes to the way college basketball is played.

The NIT’s new rules this postseason include an extended 3-point line, a wider free-throw lane and 10-minute quarters instead of two 20-minute halves for all games.

The NCAA says the rules are experimental.

“The style of play in men’s college basketball is healthy and appealing, but the leadership governing the game is interested in keeping the playing rules contemporary and trending favorably,” Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball, said last month.

This is the third time in four years the NIT has served as a lab for the NCAA. Past experiments such as the use of the 30-second shot clock are now the norm in men’s college basketball.

The only change I’ve really noticed from watching the 2018 NIT games is the quarter system, and I hope it becomes standard.

Women’s college basketball moved to the format in 2015, and I find its games and the NIT games to be faster and more enjoyable to watch on TV. The games would be even faster if clock issues and officials’ reviews didn’t get in the way.

I’m surprised is making mistakes when it comes to the quarter system.

The NIT results for Mississippi State, one of the teams in Tuesday’s semifinals in New York, are listed as double overtime games and none went to one OT.

I’ll be monitoring this week to see if the site finally gets things right.

Better than that, I’d like to see what effect the quarter system would have on the Coach K’s of the world, the ones who lead the top NCAA Tournament teams every Mad March.

How would they manage the pace of games? How would they handle their timeouts? How would they rotate their players? Would four quarters confuse all those control-freak coaches in season openers?

I can imagine one of them yelling at a ref, “Hey, we’re not in the damn NIT! Who made this freaking change? We’re playing by my rules! Go back to the zoo, you zebra!”

If the coaches don’t like the rule, maybe the fans will.

TV viewers would no longer whine like this:

“There’s still 17 minutes left to play. And it’s just the first half.”

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John E. Bialas
John, 67, is retired from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Sun Herald newspaper in Gulfport, Miss., after a 45-year career there in which he was a sportswriter, weekend sports editor, book reviewer, rock music critic, copy editor, blogger, Facebook administrator and award-winning headline writer and page designer. He lives in Gulfport with his wife, Patricia, and writes the blog Pictures of Tilly which you can find at