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Utah basketball: New practice start helps Utes, other men’s teams

Practice time will increase to 40 days before season starts.

First Published May 03 2013 12:35 pm • Last Updated May 04 2013 06:24 pm

Men’s college basketball teams in Utah and around the country will now have more time to prepare for their seasons.

Under a new NCAA rule officially passed Thursday, teams will be able to begin preseason practice earlier than they have in the past. Under the rule, teams will be able to begin practice 40 days before their first game of the season.

At a glance

New practice rules

The rule » Teams can began practice 40 days before their first game.

The frequency » Teams can practice as many as 30 times in those 40 days. Teams are required to take at least 10 days off in that time period.

The result » Instead of beginning practice in mid-October, teams will start to practice in to late September.

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In those 40 days, teams will be allowed 30 practices. The rule puts men’s college basketball closer to the women’s model, which was adopted two years ago. As a result, teams may began formally practicing as early as late September.

"I can’t think of a single reason why this isn’t a good thing," Utah men’s basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak said Friday. "It’s just a great idea, and it’s in the best interest of the kids. As a coach, you get a longer period of time to get stuff in. If a couple of guys get nicked up, you can simply take a few days off, because you have to take 10 days off anyway."

Said Utah women’s coach Anthony Levrets: "We’ve been doing it like this for a few years, and we absolutely love it. It’s just something that makes sense. We go three days on and one day off, and it really works. You aren’t trying to jam everything in, and we only practice for two hours a day. It’s good to see the men adopting this rule."

Under the old rule, which had been in place for as long as anyone can remember, practices began Oct. 15, with an unofficial midnight madness that had become a holiday of sorts signaling the start of college basketball season.

But with games starting earlier and earlier on the calender — exhibition games are being scheduled as soon as two weeks after the start of practice — coaches were forced to practice their teams as many as six days a week, three hours a day in order to implement plays and schemes.

The rush to prepare led to sloppy play nationally at the start of season. Under the new rule, that may not be as much of a problem.

"You can slow the pace down," Krystkowiak said. "You can plan differently now, and you aren’t killing your guys every day for three weeks on a regular basis."

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