NCAA to extend three-point line

After 20 years since making its NCAA debut, the three-point line will be moved one foot back, marking the first significant change since its adoption.

The line will be moved back from 19 feet 9 inches to 20 feet 9 inches beginning in the 2008-09 season. The additional space could prove to be a bigger challenge than expected.

“You’re going to have to get under the shot a little more, so moving it back will make it kind of tough for players,” Bulls point guard Chris Howard said. “More teams are just going to get up and press some more.

Last season, the Bulls shot 32.5 percent from beyond the arc, two percentage points from the NCAA average of 35.04 percent. Howard feels the change will help improve USF defensively, as opponents connected on 33.7 percent of their shots from three-point range from a year ago.

“I think it pushes the ball a little further from the basket. Making a three in transition is going to be a lot harder,” Howard said. “I believe it’s going to help a lot and open up teams a lot. The floor is going to be a little wider, which lets the center have a bigger impact on the defensive end.”

The change comes after nearly a decade of debate regarding whether the extension was necessary. Preseason tournaments showcased the elongated line and showed no dramatic change in shooting percentage from the additional foot.

“I don’t think the three-point line affects me as much as you’d think,” Howard said. “The biggest difference will be on the defensive end, just knowing that you have a little more room to work with.”

The women’s line will remain at 19 feet 9 inches.