A Guide to Basketball Game Durations: NBA vs. NCAA

A Guide to Basketball Game Durations: NBA vs. NCAA

Basketball is a beloved sport watched by millions across the globe. It has distinct variations and rules depending on the league and the region. One of the most frequently asked questions by newcomers to the sport is about the number of periods in a basketball game and the duration of each. Let’s take a look at the structure of basketball games and insights into how to book the best NBA Christmas game tickets to experience it all for yourself.

How Many Periods Are There in an NBA vs. NCAA Basketball Game?

In the NBA, a game is divided into four quarters, each lasting 12 minutes. So, in total, the regulation time for an NBA game is 48 minutes. On the other hand, NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) basketball games, played at colleges and universities, are divided into two halves, each lasting 20 minutes. That means the regulation time for an NCAA game is 40 minutes.

What’s the Deal with Overtime?

If a game is tied at the end of regulation, an overtime period is used to determine the winner. In the NBA, overtime periods last 5 minutes. Similarly, the NCAA also uses a 5-minute overtime period. Multiple overtime periods can occur if the game remains tied after each one, adding more tension and excitement to the match.

Factors That Extend the Duration of a Game

Number of Minutes

While the raw game time for the NBA is 48 minutes and 40 minutes for the NCAA, this doesn’t account for stoppages in play, timeouts, and breaks between quarters or halves.

TV Timeouts

Especially in professional leagues like the NBA, TV timeouts can extend the length of a game. These are breaks intended for broadcasters to air commercials, and they don’t count against the team’s allotted timeouts.

Number of Timeouts

Both teams in an NBA game get a total of seven timeouts. Each timeout can last as long as 75 seconds. In NCAA games, each team gets five timeouts, two 30-second timeouts, and three 75-second timeouts. These timeouts, while strategic from a gameplay perspective, also add to the total duration of the match.

With all of these factors, an NBA game can take anywhere from 2 to 2.5 hours (or more, with multiple overtimes), while an NCAA game typically takes around 1.5 to 2 hours.

Contact NBA Trips for NBA Christmas Games Tickets and Exclusive Packages

If you’re a basketball fan and looking to experience the thrill of an NBA game in person, NBA Trips has iconic NBA Christmas Games tickets. We also provide exclusive packages that can enhance your game-day experience. Don’t miss out on witnessing basketball magic and contact us to book today!


Skip to content