How long Is A College Basketball Game


Want to know how long is a college basketball game? Find out in this article how long it lasts and the different factors that can lengthen the duration of a college basketball game. 

College basketball games are entertaining to watch. It’s like you’re getting a clear picture of the future of basketball. You’d be surprised to find out that most people enjoy watching college basketball games more than NBA games. Viewers are usually so engrossed that they don’t realize how fast time passes. Let’s pause here; have you ever asked the question, how long is a college basketball game?

A typical college basketball game would last for 40 minutes. Every college basketball game has two halves of 20 minutes each with many other things in-between that lengthen the entire game time. Some of the factors that can increase the time of the game include time out, fouls, and free throws, amongst others.


Read this article until the end for more details on a college basketball game and factors that can make the game stretch over hours. 

How long is a College Basketball ball Game?

The actual playtime in a college basketball game is 40 minutes with two 20 minutes. This does not mean that the 40 minutes of the game would go on at once. This 40-minute playtime is usually interrupted by timeouts, free throws, fouls, Deadball. 

Aside from the NBA, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is another basketball organization in the United States. The two halves of an NCAA are played with the same level of intensity, unlike NBA games where the second half is usually more entertaining than the first. 

How Long Does a College Basketball Game Last on tv?

College Basketball games shown on TV last longer than watching a basketball game. Typically, a basketball game shown on TV lasts for about 2 hours and 10 minutes. This can be broken down into 40 minutes of playtime, two timeouts for each team that would last for 30 seconds for each timeout, and their full timeouts, which would bring it to 48 minutes. This should not come as a surprise because there are no program shows on TV without some adverts in between as with most TV shows. Here are some of the reasons why college basketball games on TV last longer;

  1. TV Timeouts- Once there is tv coverage in any game, there would be a need for tv timeouts. In a college basketball game that is being televised, there would be two tv timeouts, each timeout lasting for about 2 minutes each. 

2. Overtime- overtimes are pretty standard in really competitive College Basketball games. You should expect some fouls with teams fighting neck to neck for the price. These foul plays would necessitate free throws, which can lengthen the game. 

3. Commercial and Interview- I mean, what’s a tv show without some adverts. When watching a college basketball game on tv, you should note that there would be time allotted for commercials and pregame and postgame interviews. 

4. Halftime break- this is another essential factor to consider. The halftime time lasts between 15 – 20 minutes in a college basketball game. This, therefore, can stretch over the show time to hours. 

You might spend over 2 hours watching a college basketball game before you hear the buzzer. The factors listed above can reduce or stretch the time depending on the game’s intensity. 

Factors that Lengthens the duration of a College Basketball Game

A college basketball game has only 40 minutes of actual playtime and, aside from the necessaryhalftimess, several factors can stretch a college basketball game into hours. Here are some of these factors;

2. Fouls– fouls are allowed during the entire halftime period. This is unlike NBA games where team fouls are permitted for every quarter. Also, running behind teams commit fouls to give them more time to strategize and catch up. This can, however, slow down the game and make it last longer. 

3. Time outs – in a college basketball game, each team is allowed four timeouts, which last for 30 seconds. As small as you think these timeouts are, you’d be surprised how much frequent timeouts can impact the game time. 

4. TV timeouts– It is common for there to be TV timeouts for college basketball games that are being televised. Essentially, there are four tv timeouts scheduled for each half of the game.TV timeouts usually come in when there is a break in 16, 12, 8, and 4-minute marks every half of the game. 

5. In-game reviews– it is pretty standard for there to be in-game reviews in a college basketball game, which would help maintain integrity in the game process. A good example would be when there is a referee call, and the referees and other game officials have to go through the footage to confirm if the referee call is justified. 

6. Coach Timeouts- in a college basketball game, there are up to 5 times outs for each coach, which should last for about 30 seconds each. 

What is the longest college basketball game ever?

The 1981 Bradley vs. Cincinnati men’s basketball game

This is the longest men’s basketball game ever played in NCAA history. For this game, the University of Cincinnati visited Bradley University on December 21, 1981. Both teams were tied till after the sixth overtime. Cincinnati scored extra after the 7th overtime and won the game at 75-73. This game has 75 minutes of actual playing time and lasts for 4 hours. 

The 2009 Connecticut Vs. Syracuse 

This is the second-longest NCAA basketball game on record. This game was played between Connecticut and Syracuse on March 12, 2009. It was played at the Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament quarterfinals in 2009. At the end of this game, the Syracuse team won at 122-117. It took six overtimes for the winning team to beat the opposing team. This game lasted for a total of three hours and 46 minutes. 

How long are college basketball halftimes?

College Basketballhalftimess typically last for 15 minutes. This is the same for both male and female college basketball games. However, this standard 15 minutes can extend in an exceptional performance or an award ceremony. 

During the halftime period, coaches and their respective teams strategize on better positioning themselves for the second half. Halftime is also an excellent time for players to relax and rehydrate after a very rigorous first half. Once this 15-minute break is over, players jog back into the field and start with some warmups before getting right into the game. 

Why do men’s college basketball play halves and women’s play quarters?

Men and women basketball games essentially have rules and oversight committees that do not necessarily agree on the same thing. Before now, men and women basketball games used to be in halves until recently when women elected to switch to quarter. However, men can move to quarters in the coming future. 

One main reason for this is because, in men’s college basketball games, the bonus free throws are given when the opposing team has committed seven fouls before the end of one half. This is usually time-consuming and affects the flow of the game. But with a quarter system, this foul would be spread more evenly across the four quarters, making the game more enjoyable. 

How is college basketball different from NBA?

Although college basketball games and NBA games are the same, they have some fundamental differences. These differences are numerous; here’s some of them;

  • College Basketball games feature students who are just at the beginning of their career in basketball as opposed to the NBA’s that feature professional players on the basketball field. 
  • In NCAA games, the shot clock is 35 seconds, while an NBA game is 24 seconds.
  • In NBA games, players are allowed to commit six personal fouls before “fouling out,” which essentially is when a player is disqualified from participating in the rest of the match. On the other hand, players are allowed just five fouls in a college basketball game. 
  • While jump balls are allowed in NBA games, it has been removed from college basketball games. Instead, possession of balls rotates around teams. 


Who invented basketball?

It has been said that James Naismith, a spring field college alumnus, invested in basketball while he was a student in the college in 1891. He thought basketball to be a less injury-prone sport than football and a game that could be played to keep athletes indoors during the winter. 

Are NBA balls bigger than college?

No, they are typically the same. The NBA ball is 29.5 inches in its circumference, and this is the same size used in a college basketball game. 

How many periods are in a college basketball game?

A college basketball game has two halves of two periods for each team. The teams get quick breathing time and have a more extended halftime break after the second period. Each period lasts 20 minutes, and after every period, there is a break. 

Why is there no jump ball in college basketball?

A jump ball was done away with in college basketball games in 1981. A possession arrow replaced it. A jump ball was removed from college basketball games because it gave the taller and more athletic players a more significant advantage. On the other hand, the possession arrow alternates the possession between teams and makes for a fairer basketball game. 

What does P mean in college basketball?

In a college basketball game, the’ P’ means the alternating possession procedure. It has been defined by the NCAA rule book to mean a process of putting the ball in play with a throw-in rather than a jump ball.


There you have it. I’m sure at this point you know how long a college basketball game last and the major contributing factors that Lengthen the match. College Basketball games are entertaining to watch and form an integral part of college life. 

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