How Long is a Typical NCAA Basketball Game?

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National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball games are played at the inter-college level. Each match lasts for 40 minutes, excluding disruptions, half-times, timeouts, and breaks. What makes a college game different from a professional level is that; an NCAA game consists of two half-times while other professional game formats consist of four-quarters, The first half of the game lasts for about 20 minutes and the second half lasts for 15 minutes.

How long is a typical NCAA basketball Game?

The total duration for each match lasts 2 hours and 10 minutes. This duration includes 40 minutes of gameplay time and breaks, timeouts, disruptions, etc.


it should also be noted that all the rules for NBA and NCAA format matches are the same. This makes it a very serious game to the level that some NCAA games are even aired on TV.

Shot Clock:

A new rule known as the shot clock was included in the game to make it more interesting. This made the game fast-paced as well ensured equal participation of all the players. A shot clock is a timer that provides a limited amount of time. This timer indicates that for how long a team may possess the ball before attempting to score.

Format of the gameShot Clock Duration
NCAA College (Men)35 seconds
NCAA College (Women)
30 seconds
24 seconds

If the ball remains in one team’s possession and the timer runs out without attempting a shot. The ball possession is changed by the referee, and the time is restarted. Here are the timer durations for various formats of the game:


Usually, the shot clock is not used in high-school basketball matches. But if a high-school court has a shot clock, in that case, NBA “24 Seconds” is applied to the game.

If you would like to know more about basketball, continue reading the article.


Timeouts in basketball provide a means to stop the game clock timer when required. They help regulate the game by ensuring that the limited amount of time is not used against any team. This also helps in preventing unnecessary delays during game time.

There are many functions of a timeout. Some of these are:

  • To give the players a chance to rest in between the half-time.
  • To give coaches the ability to interact and discuss a game plan with their team.
  • To provide the participants, a means to stop the clock during late-game situations.
  • The basketball rulebooks govern when timeouts can be used and who is allowed to call them.

Duration of basketball game

Number of Timeouts:

The number of allowed timeouts to both the players and the coaches varies according to the format of the game. No individual is allowed to call a timeout that goes against the declared rules.

FormatNumber of Timeouts
High-school5 timeouts
NCAA (College)4 timeouts
NBA6 timeouts

There are certain rules that declare when these timeouts can be called and when they are prohibited.  Also, as an individual player, you can call a timeout without discussion with the team. You need to discuss with the team captain before calling a timeout; otherwise, it won’t be considered a valid request.

Similarly, coaches are allowed to call the timeouts only during the allocated time spaces. These timeouts will be considered as team calls and will be deducted from the total number of allocated calls.


The duration for the timeouts is also different from different modes of the game. You are only allowed to consume a timeout for a limited amount of time. It is considered a violation of rules if the play is not resumed after the timeout timer runs out.

The allocated time durations for various formats of the game are:

1. NBA:

Each time is allowed six timeouts lasting for 20 seconds. These timeouts can only be called between the half-times. In NBA, only the player can call for the timeout. The coach and other team management have no authority over timeouts.

2. High School:

High school basketball matches only have a total of 5 timeouts allowed. Two of these timeouts consist of 30 seconds each. The remaining three timeouts are of 60 seconds each.

3. NCAA College:

The timeout duration for college matches depends on whether the match is aired on TV or not. In the case of TV coverage, the media timeouts are provided by the match management. Therefore, in an aired match, every team gets a 1-minute timeout for media breaks and four 30 seconds timeouts for rest time,

In the case of a non-aired game, the teams get two 30 seconds timeouts and four 75 seconds timeout. Because no media timeouts are included in these sessions.


Timeous has no effect on the shot clock. Calling a timeout doesn’t reset the shot clock, and it will resume from the same time when the play is continued.

Timeout Calls:

The ability to call a timeout is governed by a set of rules and regulations. These rules define who can and can’t call a timeout. They also describe when it is permissible to call a timeout. In high-school and college matches, both the players as well as the coaches have the ability to call timeout but only during permissible times. These allocated situations are as follows:

  • Players and coaches may only call timeouts when the ball is dead,
  • A dead ball means that no one has possession of the ball.
  • A timeout can also be called when the ball is live, but only the calling team has sole possession of the ball.
  • A live ball means that it is in the hands (possession) of a player inside the pitch.
  • A coach or player may call a timeout after making a basket because the ball is dead,
  • But as soon as the opposing team is in possession of the ball for continuing the play after a score, this timeout window is closed until possession of the ball is returned, or a goal is scored by putting the ball through the basketball hoop.
  • During a free-throw, the clock is stopped, but the coach cannot call a timeout when an opponent player is shooting a free throw.
  • According to the NBA rulebook, all player substitutions are legal for both teams during a timeout.

Running Out of Timeouts

In every format of the game, only a limited number of timeout calls are allocated to each of the playing teams. The fun part is that the teams have to keep count of these timeouts themselves. The referee is not in-charge of allowing only the allocated amount of timeouts. If a timeout is approved after all the allowed timeouts are used, it results in a penalty to the team.

How Long is a Typical NCAA Basketball Game

Technical Fouls:

If a timeout is called by the team and is approved by the referee, when none is available, the official judges a technical foul. The penalty for a technical foul is different for different formats of the game. These penalties are as follows:

High school:

A technical foul results in awarding two free throws and possession of the ball out of bounds on a throw-in to the opposing team.

College (NCAA):

The opposing team receives two free throws, and the ball is placed back to the spot where the technical foul was judged.

IN the NBA:

The opposing team receives one free throw, and the ball is placed back to the spot where the technical foul was judged.

 FAQ: (People Also Ask)

How long is a d1 college basketball game?

D1 college basketball game follows the rules of NCAA, i.e., 40 minutes per game. Each game consists of 2 half-times instead of the NBA standard four quarters.

How long is one half of a basketball game?

The half time of a 40 minutes basketball game is 20 minutes.

How long is a high-school basketball game?

An average high-school basketball match lasts for 32 minutes of playtime. But in total, a typical school match lasts up to 1 hour and 30 minutes.

How many games are there in the NBA regular season?

In NBA regular session, every team has to play 82 matches in total (41 home + 41 away). The total number of matches in a single session is 1230 games.

Which type of hoops are recommended by NCAA?

There are two types of hoops, i.e., inground basketball hoops and portable basketball hoops. NCAA matches are played only on the in-ground type of hoops.

Will there be fans at the 2022 NCAA basketball games?

The NCAA Men matches will be hosted by the city of Indianapolis, but only 16% of the total stadium capacity will be allowed as the audience. i.e., 10,000 persons per match.


The rules for match duration of NCAA games are almost similar to the NBA games except for few exclusions. These exclusions make college games even more fast-paced and further increase the audience’s interest. A 40 minutes time is allocated for the whole College basketball match, which seems to be just the perfect time for providing some serious action-filled play.

In this article, I have provided only personally researched information. I hope that it has interested you enough in completely reading it.

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