The Sporting News's Mike DeCourcy and CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein (both of whom are pretty good follows on Twitter) were having a discussion on Twitter yesterday regarding the NCAA's move towards a 30-second shot clock. Both agreed that the change would likely result in more zone defenses as coaches would naturally gravitate towards anything that would slow down offensive sets and force them into more late shot-clock situations. As an aside, this is both (a) basically what I'm thinking will happen and (b) not likely to result in more attractive, higher-scoring basketball like the NCAA was hoping.
From a purely pragmatic point of view, I like the shorter shot clock for X. With JP Macura at the top of that 1-3-1, a point guard's options for setting the offense are necessarily going to be limited. Once he has to make that first pass higher up the court, the length of Edmond Sumner and the disruptive physicality of Remy Abell on the wings won't make finding the next pass to initiate offensive flow an easy task.
If Xavier executes the defense well, the offense's time to get past the frenetic athleticism of Jalen Reynolds on the high post and the breadth of James Farr down low will be limited. Throwing the ball back out for a reset will be a less attractive option with fewer seconds remaining on the shot clock.
Kentucky was a top-five offense last season, but they faltered down the stretch against Wisconsin in the Final Four. With their season on the line and Wisconsin's defense denying the post, the Wildcats somehow committed shot clock violations in three consecutive trips down the floor. As much as my Calipari-hating heart loved watching his team collapse, it was definitely not the type of attractive basketball the NCAA was hoping for. If the shot clock drops to 30 seconds this year, expect to see more zones, more forced shots, and more offensive frustration. Possibly good for Xavier with their 1-3-1, almost certainly not good for college basketball as a whole.