From The NCAA To The NBA: How College Basketball Court Dimensions Differ In 3 Ways

College Basketball Court Dimensions (cover image)

College basketball court dimensions set the parameters, basketball court measurements and markings which govern various aspects of how the game is played. Besides the colors being representative of the school, the lines, boundaries and court markings define the game. Let’s take a look at the college basketball court dimensions and how they compare to NBA basketball court dimensions.

College Basketball Court Dimensions: How long is a basketball court?

Like all levels, college basketball court size is governed by a set of rules. One of the first things covered in an NCAA basketball rulebook are the college basketball court dimensions. These rules apply uniformly across the NCAA.

The most general rule on college basketball court dimensions is the overall NCAA basketball court size. First, let’s consider the length of the court. The length of college basketball court for both men’s and women’s competition is 94-feet.

College basketball court dimensions are 50-feet between sidelines. Splitting the court in half length-wise is the half court measurements line at 47-feet. Women’s college basketball court dimensions are the same as the men.

Other college basketball court measurements mirror the basketball line measurements of courts used by the pros. The foul line is 15-feet from the front edge of the backboard, and 18-feet 10-inches from the boundary along the baseline.

NCAA basketball backboard dimensions are the same as well. NCAA backboard dimensions are for a rectangle surface, 42-inches in height and 6-feet wide. There is an inside square marked on the backboard centered over the rim.

The square is 24-inches wide by 18-inches tall. This square is used to target a bank shot. The women’s WNBA has the identical basketball court measurement to their pro male counterparts, just like the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball dimensions are the same.

Is NBA court bigger than college?

If you thought that the NBA court size for the highly talented NBA players might be different, they are not. Essentially, the width of college basketball court sizes and the length of basketball court are equal to the NBA court measurements. However, here are a couple of instances where the NCAA court is different from the NBA.

When looking at only the overall college basketball court dimensions, both the NCAA and NBA court dimensions are the same size. There are a couple of court markings that create smaller areas for the college game, as opposed to the professional game.

The Differences: NBA court size vs college

These differences are minimal, but still important parts of the rulebook.

Basketball key dimensions

One basketball court dimension that is smaller is the painted area. In college basketball, there is one marking from the baseline to the foul line. It is 12-feet wide. This is the key, or three-second area. The NBA markings include an additional 2-feet on each side. This extra 4-feet makes the key 16-feet wide in the pro game.

The Restricted Area

Another college marking that’s smaller is the arc for the restricted area. These basketball key dimensions are designated by a half-arc under each basket. The arc ends on each side, directly under the edge of the backboard. The NBA arc is 4-feet from the edge of the rim. The college restricted area half-circle is 3-feet out from the edge of the rim.

Both rules for applying an offensive charging foul or defensive blocking foul are the same. A player must be positioned completely outside the restricted area arc to create an offensive foul. If the player is inside the arc, or touching the line, it is a blocking foul.

The 3 point line

Another dimension that’s different is the 3-point arc. College 3 point line measurements for a unified arc that is 20-feet 9-inches at all points on the arc for women’s college basketball. The men’s three-point outside edge extends to 22 feet, 1.75 inches.

The NBA 3 point arc is 23-feet 9-inches from the center of the basket until it reaches 14-feet from the baseline. The arc then goes straight to the baseline, 22-feet from the basket.

These are the only instances where the college basketball court dimensions and the NBA court dimensions differ. Each difference accounts for the higher skill level of pro players. One might assume that there would be a different size rim between the two. So, is the NBA rim a different size than college?

Is the NBA rim bigger than college?

The rim diameter at all levels of basketball, NBA and college included, is the same. There is no different in rim diameter from grade school all the way through the pro ranks. There are differences in the size of the ball at youth levels and in the women’s game.

All levels of play have the same dimensions as the NBA Rim size

However, all levels of basketball use the same rim dimensions. The rim, or goal in many rulebooks, is a steel ring, 5/8-inch thick. The steel ring has an inner-diameter of 18-inches. Eyelets are space even around the underside of the ring. A net, 15 to 18-inches in length, attaches to these eyelets and drapes down from the ring.

Is the college and NBA rim height 12 feet?

The rim is positioned at the same spot on each of the two standard backboards, rectangle or fan-shaped. Beginning at the junior high school level, the front tip of the rim is exactly 10-feet off the floor. Frequently, youth leagues will play with adjustable rim heights that are less than 10-feet.

High school, college and pro players, men and women, all shoot at a rim 10-feet off the floor. The spectators may be closer, or the court markings a different color; but the rim in basketball at all levels will always be the same.

NCAA basketball court dimensions and NBA court dimensions are the same except for 3 minor differences

There are rule differences between the NBA and college basketball. However, in general the basketball court dimensions for both levels are exactly the same. Despite a few minor changes, each court is marked the same. One other important thing is the same at every level of basketball is the rim. The size and height from the floor of the goal never change.

It brings to mind the brief scene towards the end of the beloved basketball motion picture, Hoosiers. In awe of the massive court and huge arena compared to Hickory’s tiny home gymnasium, the head coach had the players measure the distance from the rim to the floor. It was the same as every other basket they had ever shot at.


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