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NCAA Basketball | Do You Know The Rules?

25 Questions
Basketball Quizzes & Trivia

Well there, Smarty Pants, take our 25-question NCAA basketball quiz and find out how smart you really are. Credit: Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal

Questions and Answers
  • 1. 
    After the opening tip, a player shoots at the wrong basket, nailing a “trey” from beyond the arc. Score three for the opposing team?
    • A. 

      Yes. A three-point shot is a three-point shot

    • B. 

      No. The opposing team is awarded just two points for a wrong-way basket

    • C. 

      No points. The opposing team gets the ball; the offending player is embarrassed enough.

  • 2. 
    A player stuck under his own basket throws the ball up thru the net and over the cylinder, and it falls back through. Score the goal?
    • A. 

      Yes, as long as the offensive player didn’t touch the net

    • B. 

      No. A basket can be scored in only one direction — from above.

    • C. 

      Yes, but only if it’s a “swish.”

  • 3. 
    Everybody knows that a defender cannot kick the ball. But what about an offensive player with a flair for soccer? May he kick the ball into the basket?
    • A. 

      No. A player may not intentionally kick the ball or strike it with his fist — on offense or defense.

    • B. 

      Why not? The foot is part of the body.

    • C. 

      Yes, but only if it’s a “swish.”

  • 4. 
    You may have heard public-address announcers say that the home team may be assessed a technical foul if fans keep throwing stuff on the court. Is that an idol threat, or is it really allowed under the rules?
    • A. 

      There is no such rule. If there were, opposing fans could get tickets, then throw stuff on the court to get the home team punished.

    • B. 

      There is such a rule: Two technical free throws can be awarded the visiting team if the home team’s “followers” use “abusive, vulgar or obscene language” or noisemakers or laser pointers while the game is in progress, or if they throw stuff on the court.

    • C. 

      It depends what they throw on the court. No foul for confetti.

  • 5. 
    A team that is short-handed has several players foul out, until it can no longer field five. May the team play on with four players? Three? Two? One?
    • A. 

      No. This is not hockey, where teams play “shorthanded.”

    • B. 

      Yes. Although when the team gets down to one player, it must forfeit, unless the referee believes both teams have an opportunity to win.

    • C. 

      Maybe. It’s up to the players to decide.

  • 6. 
    A bad foul shooter is fouled on the last shot of the game and says he is too injured to attempt his free throws. Who gets to shoot them?
    • A. 

      The opposing coach can pick the shooter from the players on the floor or the bench.

    • B. 

      The opposing coach picks from the four remaining players on the floor, unless the injured player was the victim of a flagrant foul.

    • C. 

      Send out for Kyle Macy! The injured player’s coach can pick anyone in the arena to attempt the foul shots.

  • 7. 
    A short ball handler dribbles the ball over his head. Is this a traveling or palming violation?
    • A. 

      Yes. The dribble may go no higher than the dribbling player’s shoulders under what has been dubbed the “Muggsy Bogues“ rule, after the diminutive point guard.

    • B. 

      No. As long as the ball handler doesn’t palm the ball or place his hands under it, there is no violation. There is no rule on how high a dribble can be.

    • C. 

      It all depends on the player’s height.

  • 8. 
    A player jumps over an opponent’s back to grab a rebound. Is this a foul?
    • A. 

      Yes. Everyone knows that this is the classic “over-the-back” violation.

    • B. 

      No. There is no foul unless the rebounder pushes or crashes onto the opponent’s back.

    • C. 

      It all depends on the player’s height.

  • 9. 
    A player trying to in-bound the ball can’t find any open teammates, so he tosses a desperate heave that goes into the basket. Allow the goal?
    • A. 

      No. A basket may not be scored on a throw-in.

    • B. 

      Yes. A basket is a basket.

    • C. 

      Yes, but only if it’s a “swish.”

  • 10. 
    A ball handler crosses the mid-court line with one foot, then to elude defenders, backs up so that both feet are in the backcourt. Is this an “over-and-back” violation?
    • A. 

      No. A ball handler must have both feet on the offensive side of the court before he can be called for a backcourt violation for returning to the defensive zone.

    • B. 

      Yes. This is “over and back.”

    • C. 

      It depends on what size his sneakers are.

  • 11. 
    On a throw-in, an offensive player in the front court deflects the ball into the back court. Can his teammate retrieve it without an over-and-back violation.
    • A. 

      Yes, as long as the player who deflected the ball never had control of it.

    • B. 

      No. A back-court violation is a back-court violation.

    • C. 

      This is getting too confusing for me.

  • 12. 
    Everybody knows you can’t show up an official, but what about pointing a finger at an opposing player? Or what about inciting unfavorable crowd reaction?
    • A. 

      Neither are violations. Basketball players, like everybody else, have a constitutional right to express themselves.

    • B. 

      Both are unsporting infractions punishable by two free throws for the opponents. Ditto for taunting, baiting or ridiculing an opponent, or using profanity or vulgarity.

    • C. 

      ---- if I know.

  • 13. 
    On an attempted dunk, with the ball still in the dunker's hand, a defender blocks the shot while the ball is over the cylinder.
    • A. 

      Good block. If a defender has his hand on the ball, it is not a violation if this contact continues after the ball enters the cylinder.

    • B. 

      Basket interference, score the goal.

    • C. 

      To reward both players for their effort, both teams are awarded one point.

  • 14. 
    Trying to inbound the ball under his own basket, a player can’t find anyone open, and to beat the 5-second clock, throws the ball off the side of the basket, leading to a dunk for a teammate. Score the goal?
    • A. 

      Score the goal. It's a perfectly legal play.

    • B. 

      Disallow the goal. You can inbound the ball off a defender, but not off the side of the backboard.

    • C. 

      Technical foul for making a mockery of the game.

  • 15. 
    With the clock about to expire, a player on a fast break bounces the ball into the bucket, but the horn sounds before the ball passes through. Does the basket count?
    • A. 

      No basket. Because the ''shot'' was really more like a pass, the game is over once the horn sounds.

    • B. 

      Yes. The basket counts because the ball left the player’s hands before time expired.

    • C. 

      You can’t bounce the ball into the basket, regardless of how much time is left.

  • 16. 
    16: To psyche up the hometown crowd, during pregame warm-ups, a hot dog executes several “wind-mill” dunks. You got a problem with that?
    • A. 

      The dunk is a legitimate part of the game, so what’s wrong with practicing it?

    • B. 

      Pregame dunks are banned for fear of damaging the rim or backboard. Award two technical free throws to the opposing team.

    • C. 

      No violation, as long as the player would have been awarded a “9” or a “10” in a slam-dunk contest.

  • 17. 
    Everybody knows you can’t draw a charge if you’re standing in the “restricted area,” the semi-circle drawn on the floor 3 feet out from the edge of the rim. Or can you?
    • A. 

      No. The purpose of the rule is to discourage defenders from standing under the basket, clogging the lane.

    • B. 

      Yes, if the offensive player leads with a foot or “unnatural” extended knee, or wards off the defender with his arm, it is a player-control foul.

    • C. 

      I don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • 18. 
    Everyone knows by now that officials can “go to the monitor” to check whether a shot is a “two” or a “three.” But do they have to?
    • A. 

      No. Just because the rules say officials are permitted to go doesn’t mean they must go to the monitor.

    • B. 

      Yes. The goal is to “get it right,” so no effort should be spared to do so.

    • C. 

      It depends on whether a better game is showing on the monitor.

  • 19. 
    Most everyone knows that three “zebras” are assigned to officiate every game, and hard-core fans know that one is designated the referee. But can the referee overrule his “umpires?”
    • A. 

      Yes. The ref isn’t the boss for nothing.

    • B. 

      No. The referee’s decision can’t take precedence over an umpire’s in calling a foul or violation — unless the umpires disagree.

    • C. 

      Yes, but only if one of the umpires makes a really bad call.

  • 20. 
    20. Everybody makes mistakes. May an official correct his?
    • A. 

      Yes, if he does something really stupid, such as permitting the wrong player to shoot a foul shot, or to attempt it on the wrong basket.

    • B. 

      No, play on.

    • C. 

      No, that is what booing officials is for.

  • 21. 
    There’s an old saying that “the hand is part of the ball” when it comes to calling a foul. Is the old saying true?
    • A. 

      Yes. A defender may accidentally hit the hand of a ball handler who is dribbling, holding the ball or attempting a shot.

    • B. 

      No. A hand isn’t part of a ball. And a foul is a foul.

    • C. 

      Maybe. If they can get away with it, you’ve got to hand it to them.

  • 22. 
    Announcers often lament that it is a shame that one player is called for a foul when “both were going for the ball.” Do two players have an equal right to a loose ball?
    • A. 

      Yes. Incidental contact between two players who are in equally favorable positions is OK, even though it may be severe or excessive.

    • B. 

      No. A foul is a foul. You’ve got to call it one way or the other.

    • C. 

      Maybe. It depends.

  • 23. 
    Following an initial warning, a team doesn’t return the floor after the final horn to end a timeout. What sanction is in order?
    • A. 

      A bench technical is assessed against the coach. Two foul shots for the opposing team.

    • B. 

      If the delinquent team is supposed to make a throw-in, the official puts the ball on the ground and starts counting off for a five-second violation. If the other team has possession, it gets to inbound the ball.

    • C. 

      If the team is tired, it is awarded a nap.

  • 24. 
    A player with the ball falls to the court, losing his “pivot foot.” Is this traveling?
    • A. 

      No. Only if he tries to get up.

    • B. 

      Yes, but a player who slides on his stomach after chasing down a loose ball hasn’t traveled.

    • C. 

      Maybe. It depends on what caused him to fall down.

  • 25. 
    Is there really a “principle of verticality? Or did Dick Vitale just make that up?
    • A. 

      Yes. A defender in a legal guarding position may jump vertically and occupy the space within his vertical plane.

    • B. 

      There is such a rule, but nowhere is it designated the “principle of verticality.”

    • C. 

      Not sure. I can’t keep “principle” and “principal” straight.

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