How Long Are College Basketball Games

How Long Are College Basketball Games

The game of basketball has stood the test of time as one of the most popular sports in the world. In even the smallest of towns, you’ll find a basketball court (or at least a hoop in someone’s driveway). Basketball is an intricate sport with many rules and regulations that differ across leagues and age groups.

If you’re here, you’re probably wondering, “How long are college basketball games?” In this article, we’ll break down basketball game lengths for college and the factors that can affect the full runtime.

How Long Are College Basketball Games?

The NCAA sets college basketball games at 40 minutes for both the men’s and women’s leagues. Women’s NCAA basketball games are broken down into 4x 10-minute quarters and games often last around 2 hours in total time.  Men’s NCAA basketball games are broken down into 2x 20-minute halves and often last between 2 and 2.5 hours total.

The main reason for the increased overall time from men’s to women’s is that halves give the teams more time to rack up fouls and put the opposing team in the bonus. Free throws are intuitively time-consuming as the game clock is stopped and can sometimes drastically extend the length of the game.

When halves are played, there’s more time for a team to reach the 7-foul threshold, making for a slower end to each half. The NCAA has a 30-second shot clock and has recently implemented video replay which can extend the time due to how long the replay takes.

How do overtime periods work in basketball games?

Depending on the league or level of competition, the overtime session in basketball may have different rules, although it typically lasts for 5 minutes.

Each team is allowed one more timeout in the overtime period, and the team with the ball at the end of regulation gets the opening possession in the extra session.

What factors affect the length of basketball games?

Because the game clock is stopped for essentially any sequence of events that does not include the regular flow of the game, many factors can extend the length of the basketball game.

Below are some of the elements that you’ll encounter as a league or team owner:

  • Time outs: Time outs makeup over 15 minutes of extra time, especially in an NBA game if each team uses all of theirs. (We’ll take a closer look at how you can benefit from them as a league owner in a bit.)
  • Halftime: Halftimes can range from 5 minutes to 20 minutes but usually take up a significant portion of time. Fans use this time to grab food, take bathroom breaks, and enjoy on-court performances.
  • Injuries: No one likes to see them but they are an inherent part of the game, and if serious, can cause long stoppages in the game to allow for the player to be assessed and helped off the court.
  • Free throws and fouls: Fouls cause the game clock to be stopped, and if it’s a shooting foul, free throws take place with the clock stopped.
  • Overtime periods: Potential overtime will play a factor in the overall length of a game, and the NBA’s longest basketball games occurred in part due to overtime periods.

What was the longest NCAA basketball game?

The University of Cincinnati and Bradley University’s game on December 21–22, 1981, set a record for the longest college basketball game ever played.

The final score of the game was 75-73 in favor of Cincinnati after 7 overtime periods totaling 78 minutes of extra play.

How Many Timeouts Are in College Basketball?

Each team has four timeouts – one 60-second timeout and three 30-second timeouts – for regulation. If the game is televised, there are eight TV timeouts, four in each half.

Two of a team’s three 30-second timeouts may be carried over from the first to the second half. The 60-second timeout is automatically carried over to the second half if not used in the first half.

Each team receives one 30-second timeout per overtime period. They can also carry over any unused timeouts from regulation into any overtime period.

When Are TV Timeouts in College Basketball?

The TV timeouts occur at the first dead ball after each half’s 16-minute, 12-minute, 8-minute, and 4-minute marks.

If a team timeout is called within 30 seconds before any scheduled TV timeout, it becomes the TV timeout. The same applies to a video review within 30 seconds of a TV timeout.


One of the most important factors that contributes to the overall excitement of college basketball games is their duration. Every second adds to the spectacle, from the tip-off to the final buzzer. The next time someone asks, “How long are college basketball games?” you can respond with assurance, explaining all the little things that go into making these games special. Knowing about playing time will make it easier for the audience to observe and follow the game.

All in all, the length of school ball games is a basic perspective that adds to the game’s dynamic and drawing in nature. The guideline season of 40 minutes, partitioned into equal parts, gives a stage to serious contests, key plays, and exciting minutes. In any case, the general length of a school ball game can reach past the guideline time because of stoppages, breaks, and extra periods.

Fans, players, and groups the same value the capriciousness and fervour that each game brings. The varying game lengths only add to the charm of college basketball, making it a captivating and enduring part of the sporting landscape as we celebrate the athleticism and strategy displayed on the court.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are there any regulations on the length of overtime periods?

While overtime periods are typically five minutes, there is no set limit on the number of overtime that can occur.

2. Can college basketball games end in a tie?

No, college basketball games do not end in a tie. Overtime periods are introduced until a clear winner emerges.

3. How long does halftime last in college basketball games?

Halftime in college basketball typically lasts for 15 minutes, offering players and coaches a strategic pause to recalibrate for the second half.

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