The long-rumored shift to four 10-minute quarters in men's college basketball took a step forward Monday when the NCAA announced experimental rules for the National Invitation Tournament next month.

While the games still will be played in two 20-minute halves, each team's total foul count will reset to zero at the 10-minute mark of each half. After four fouls from the start of each 10-minute segment, the opposing team will shoot two free throws instead of the one-and-one that is the standard after seven team fouls per half.

Also, the NIT will feature a rule where all inbounds plays from the front court will result in the shot clock being reset to 20 seconds (if it already was under 20 seconds).

The modified rules could be a factor for the CU Buffs, who currently appear more in line for an NIT berth than a date in the NCAA Tournament. NCAA women's basketball switched to four 10-minute quarters last year.

The data from 31 NIT games will be reviewed in May during a meeting of the Men's Basketball Rules Committee.

Court storming

Officials from the Pac-12 and CU confirmed Colorado will not be assessed a fine after a portion of students rushed the Coors Events Center floor following the Buffs' win against then-No. 10 Oregon on Jan. 28.


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Per regulations instituted by the league last year, schools are subject to $25,000 fines for a first offense in regards to fans rushing a court or field, followed by fines of $50,000 and $100,000 for subsequent infractions. Though CU was fined twice during the football season for field-rushing incidents, the fine structure resets for the basketball season.

"I hate to take the mantle as the 'court-storm coach.' There's a lot of important issues in college basketball, and that's probably not at the top of the list," said Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller, long a proponent of court-rushing penalties. "But I do really respect the Pac-12. Our players, we're asking a lot of them. When you move more toward March Madness there is more scrutiny on the best teams, so you want to protect your players. You want to protect your student-athletes. I think the Pac-12 wants to protect our athletes more than anybody.

"It's just a situation that I think if player safety is a priority, that in that given moment when a game ends and a court is stormed, things can happen in a split second that you can't undo. When you're asking somebody 18, 19-years old to handle that, it's not always a fair setup for them. All we have asked is that each place is aware of that, that they police a 30-second to a minute and a half window so we can move off the court if it happens. It's not because we don't want the fans to enjoy the game as much as you worry about that one incident that could change a kid's life forever."

Notable

Five Pac-12 players reached the top 30 list of finalists for the Naismith Award as the top player in the nation — UCLA freshmen Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf, Oregon's Dillon Brooks, Washington's Markelle Fultz, and Lauri Markkanen of Arizona. The final 10 semifinalists will be announced March 1...Ball was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Monday for the second time this season after leading UCLA's comeback win against Oregon with 15 points and a season-high 11 rebounds. Ball also recorded 22 points and nine assists in a win against Oregon State and shot 15-for-23 in the two games.

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07