As many of you basketball fans may know, March Madness is just around the corner. On St. Patrick’s day we will see the matchup of the NCAA college basketball tournament. Others of you may not have known it was selection Sunday. This post is for you. Like my baseball, soccer, and football posts, I’m going to explain the basics of basketball to you so you don’t look like a fool eating at Buffalo Wild Wings.
There are many different levels to basketball: kids leagues, high school, college, and of course the NBA. They all have slightly different rules. This post is going to speak to college since we are so close to the NCAA tournament. Most terminology will be in the same at every level.
The Court + Players
Each team is typically made up of 12-15 players. Each team can have 5 players on the court at a time. The typical positions are two guards, two forwards, and one point guard OR center. It depends if you are on defense or offense as to your set up.
On the court, there are different markers. The line down the middle is half court. The shaded semicircle indicates the 3-point line. Any shot made out of it is three points, any shot inside is two. Inside the 3-point line is sometimes called the “paint.” Between the rectangle + smaller semicircle is the free throw line. That rectangle is called the lane. Anything in the blue rectangle is considered out-of-bounds.
How the Game is Played
- The referee throws the ball up in the center of the court + one player from each team tries to tip it to their team, tip-off.
- During each of the 20-minute halves, the teams try to get the ball into their baskets while keeping the other team from scoring. They do this by passing to each other + shooting the ball.
- The team with the most points wins.
Those three steps are a lot more complex than they seem. There are a lot of penalties that can be accumulated in basketball. Once a team has fouled seven times, the other team gets to shoot a free throw for every additional foul. They also get to shoot free throws on any fouls that happen while they are shooting. Once a player has five fouls, he’s out of the game.
Penalties + Violations
There are a few types of penalties, personal is the most common. They include any physical behavior against another player. There is also charging- an offensive player running over a defensive player + blocking which is illegal contact from a defensive player on an offensive one. A flagrant foul is intense personal contact + an intentional foul is when a foul is committed with no reasonable effort to take the ball. The worse type of foul is technical. This foul involves your manners. “Techs” as they are called can get a player or coach evicted from the game.
There are a few things besides fouls that are illegal in basketball. These things will result in a turnover. A few violations are walking, traveling, double dribbling, back court, goaltending, and taking longer than the 35 second shot clock.
- Rebound- Getting the ball from a shot that wasn’t completed. Either team can get the rebound.
- Walking/Traveling- You have to dribble the ball at all times, you can’t walk with it.
- Double dribble- When you stop dribbling + start again.
- Back court- Once you cross half court, you can’t go back over.
- Goaltending- If a defensive player interferes with a shot while it’s on the way down toward the basket the offensive team gets to throw-in.
- Bounce pass- A pass that bounces off the floor before it reaches the receiver.
- Overhead pass- A pass thrown from over the head, to clear a defender or for added power.
- Chest pass- A two-handed pass thrown from chest height.
- Assist- A pass to a teammate that leads directly to a goal
- Drive- A fast, strong dribble directly to the basket in an effort to score.
- Jump shot- A shot taken while a player is jumping through the air.
- Lay up- A shot taken close to the basket that is usually banked off the backboard + into the basket.
- Dunk: A high jump shot in which the ball is thrust down through the hoop. In college players have to be careful not to hang for too long as it as seen as “celebrating” which is illegal.
Is your team in the tournament this year? It’s not too late to make your bracket! Since, I do not really follow many teams, I have made my bracket based on who I WANT to win, not necessarily who will. Who is your pick to win it all? Let me know in the comment section.