NCAA Tournament 3-point line controversy: NC State, Texas play with incorrect lines for Elite Eight

Expect the unexpected during March Madness.

No. 1 seed Texas’ Elite Eight dual with No. 3 seed NC State proved perhaps the most shocking game of the entire NCAA Tournament.

The reason? The length of the 3-point lines were markedly different from each other.

NC State coach Wes Moore and Texas coach Vic Schaefer were informed of the issue during the pregame shootaround but elected to continue Sunday’s contest at Portland’s Moda Center, The Athletic reported.

NCAA officials took to the floor at Moore and Schaefer’s request to measure the arc around each basket. They discovered that the distance of the 3-point line on one side of the floor was about a foot shorter than the one on the other side, Schaefer said after the game.

Still, the coaches agreed to move forward with the game, as players already had warmed up and the game would have been delayed about an hour, Schaefer said.

“It’s a shame, but it is what it is. … At the end of the day, I don’t know that it mattered” or affected the result, he said. Texas lost to NC State, 76-66.

Once the discrepancy was pointed out, it looked fairly obvious to those watching along in the Moda Center stands and those watching through television sets.

The four Sweet 16 games played on the same court on Friday and Saturday had the same issue, though the discrepancy had not yet been discovered. Texas, NC State, UConn and USC advanced to the Elite Eight from those games, with the Longhorns and the Wolfpack playing Sunday and UConn and USC facing off Monday.

During the Sweet 16, teams shooting on the shortened line hit 29.9% of their three-point attempts (23-of-77). Meanwhile, teams shooting on the longer line sank just 25.3% of their triples (19-of-75).

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Baylor, though, shot significantly better from the longer line (50% in the second half compared to 28.6% in the first half), which Bears coach Nicki Collen said marked off the correct distance from the hoop.

The NCAA has not confirmed which side of the court features the correct 3-point distance and which is in error — or whether both sides are flawed. The 3-point line distance for women’s and men’s college basketball is the same — 22 feet and 1 3/4 inches.

The difference between the NBA three-point marker and the college three-point marker is about one foot and eight inches (23 feet, nine inches vs. 22 feet, 1 and 3/4 inches).

The NCAA issued a statement at halftime of the NC State-Texas game addressing the 3-point line discrepancy.

“The NCAA was notified today that the 3-point lines on the court at Moda Center in Portland are not the same distance,” the statement reads. “The two head coaches were made aware of the discrepancy and elected to play a complete game on the court as is, rather than correcting the court and delaying the game.

“The court will be corrected before tomorrow’s game in Portland.”

This story is developing and will be updated.


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