College VS Professional Basketball: Comparing NCAA and NBA Basketball

College VS Professional Basketball: Comparing NCAA and NBA Basketball

NCAA extends recruiting dead period

Visually, NBA and NCAA are identical. One cannot differentiate the gameplay as the pitch, hoop height, ball size and fan involvement are all the same. However, there are subtle changes that are difficult to spot as an observer and cannot be known.

There is no transition problem. For NCAA athletes, the game stays the same and they just adapt to the new NBA rules. However, in comparison, the NBA is far larger than the NCAA in terms of revenue, fans, sponsorships, viewership, and exposure.

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There are also other differences that set college basketball apart, after all it is an amateur league. Therefore, there must be a step above to play in the NBA. In the same way, The NBA spreads also vary from college basketball due to greater individual involvement and several factors.

First, the NBA itself is a world-renowned organization that has produced world stars all these years; Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Stephen Curry to name a few. While the NCAA has a cult following and is famous in a few parts of the United States

Main differences between the NCAA and the NBA:

talent pool

Talent is a major difference between the two leagues. The NBA features only the best talent from around the world, while college basketball is for amateurs only. Playing in the NCAA doesn't guarantee a shot at the NBA. To play with the pros, the player had to be the best.

The rhythm of the game

The shot clock is only 24 seconds in the NBA and 35 seconds in the NCAA. A shot clock means the team must shoot within a specified time. It also determines the speed of the game and scores points. Of course, NBA games have high score games because they are fast. Usual scoring points range from 80s to 100s. Whereas in college basketball games are low scoring.

Faulty rule

In addition to the rhythm, the fouling is also a little different. A difference that can be noticed by watching the game. In the NBA, a player is allowed 6 personal fouls before being disqualified for the rest of the game. In the NCAA, a player is only allowed 5 fouls.


Although the height of the hoop, the distance from the court and the distance between the foul line and the board are the same. However, the three-point line is closer in NCAA games than in the NBA. The line in the NCAA is 19 feet and 9 inches, while in the NBA the line is 23 feet and 9 inches. The lane or paint width is also narrow in the NCAA being 12 feet compared to the NBA being 16 feet.

defense tactics

In the NBA, defense is complex and usually the game is played man to man. Sometimes the defensive zone is enforced in the NBA versus the NCAA. College basketball has no complexity and teams have their zone defense techniques.

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Ownership disputes

There is a distinct difference in the resolution of ownership disputes. In the NBA, this is always solved by a jump ball. In the NCAA, possession alternates between teams.

Game time

Another major difference is the composition of the match. In the NCAA, a game is played over two 20-minute halves. However, in the NBA, the game is played in four 12-minute quarters.

Number of matches

The NCAA has about 35 games in a season that lasts approx. four months. The NBA has 82 games and takes up to 6 months to complete the season.

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