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Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia)


While competing in the National Invitation Tournament, the University of Richmond for the second time in three years will be part of the vanguard experimenting with rules changes.

The Spiders (20-12) play at Alabama (19-14) tonight in the NIT (9:15, ESPN2), and the 32-team tournament will operate without one-and-one situations at the free throw line. To start each of four, 10-minute segments, team foul totals will reset to zero. In each segment, fouls committed beyond the first four carry two-shot penalties.

Standard rules call for a team to shoot one-and-one after its opponent commits seven team fouls in a half. Two free throws are attempted after a team commits its 10th foul of the half.

The modification will be studied by NCAA rules makers, and they will try to determine whether it accelerates pace, eliminating free throws by discouraging fouls. Also, the shot clock will be reset to 20 seconds instead of 30 seconds when the ball is inbounded in the frontcourt.

Richmond played three NIT games in 2015 with an experimental shot clock of 30 seconds, which became the rule last season. The standard in 2015 and before was 35 seconds.

Experimental rules used in Tuscaloosa, Ala., are unlikely to challenge the Spiders as much as Alabama's overall height. UR has one starter taller than 6-foot-4, and each of the Crimson Tide's starters is 6-5 or taller.

"I think there are certain things that really make that a challenge for us, and certain things that give us a bit of an advantage," Richmond coach Chris Mooney said.

The Spiders have played with a small lineup since an accelerated heart rate shut down 6-9 freshman Grant Golden in mid-December. Alabama's stats suggest a defense-first approach. The Crimson Tide allow an average of 64.5 points.

"Even just following some of the scores from the (Southeastern Conference) tournament, they're a team that likely prides itself on defense," Mooney said.

The Spiders defeated George Washington 70-67 in the A-10 tournament quarterfinals on Friday night in Pittsburgh, then were eliminated 87-77 by VCU in overtime in a Saturday semifinal.

Mooney recognized that loss to VCU as "very hard," but added that at Alabama, "I think our guys will be enthusiastic and excited to play."

Alabama met A-10 members Dayton and Saint Louis a week apart in November, losing to the visiting Flyers 77-72 and beating the Billikens 62-57 in Las Vegas.

"We'll look at those (games), but that was such a long time ago," Mooney said.

[email protected](804) 649-6233@RTDjohnoconnor

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March 14, 2017


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