Olympic basketball operates under rules and regulations set by FIBA, the governing body for international basketball. For the most part, international basketball resembles what you see in major American professional (NBA, WNBA) and collegiate (NCAA) games, though there are some notable differences.

Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the rules of Olympic basketball.

How does scoring work in Olympic basketball?

In the 5-on-5 version of Olympic basketball, the scoring system is the same as you see in the NBA, WNBA, NCAA and other leagues. Two points are awarded for a field goal made inside the 3-point arc, three points are awarded for a field goal made from beyond the 3-point arc, and one point is awarded for a free throw. The team with the most points at the end of four quarters wins the game. If the game is tied after four quarters, a five-minute overtime period is played. The teams continue playing five-minute overtimes until a winner is decided.

How long is an Olympic basketball game?

Olympic basketball games are divided into four quarters lasting 10 minutes each. That makes them shorter than NBA games, which feature 12-minute quarters, but puts them on par with WNBA and NCAA games. (The main difference being that NCAA men's games are divided into halves instead of quarters.)

How many fouls are allowed in Olympic basketball?

In Olympic basketball, players foul out of the game after committing five personal fouls. This matches the rule for NCAA basketball, but differs slightly from NBA and WNBA regulations, which both set the individual foul limit at six.

Teams are considered "over the limit" once its players combine to commit five fouls in a single quarter. At that point, the opposing team is awarded two free throws for any defensive foul committed, even if the foul did not occur during the act of shooting.

Is there a shot clock in Olympic basketball?

Yes, there is a shot clock in Olympic basketball, and just like the NBA and WNBA, it lasts 24 seconds. After an offensive rebound, the shot clock resets to 14 seconds.

How many timeouts are there in Olympic basketball?

In Olympic basketball, teams are limited to two timeouts in the first half and three timeouts in the second half. In the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, however, a maximum of just two timeouts can be called. Additionally, each team will get one timeout per overtime. Each timeout lasts 60 seconds, and timeouts do not carry over between halves or overtimes. Timeouts can only be called in dead-ball situations, which means that players can not call a timeout mid-possession to avoid a jump-ball situation like they can in the NBA.

How far is the 3-point line in Olympic basketball?

In international competition, the three-point line for both men and women is 6.75 meters (about 22.1 feet) from the basket at its furthest point. The WNBA and the NCAA have adopted that distance as well, but the NBA line is a bit farther back at 23.75 feet.

Does Olympic basketball use jump balls or alternating possessions?

At the start of an Olympic basketball game, a jump ball will take place to determine initial possession. After that, alternating possession determines which team gets the ball in future jump-ball situations. (The team that loses the initial jump ball will get the ball next time a jump-ball situation occurs, and then possession rotates after that.) This is similar to NCAA rules but differs from the NBA and WNBA, which both use jump balls to determine possession throughout the entire game.

Is there goaltending in Olympic basketball?

Goaltending still exists in Olympic basketball, but it works differently than the NBA, WNBA and NCAA. If a ball is blocked before it hits the rim while in downward flight, that will still be a goaltending violation under FIBA rules. However, once the ball hits the rim, any offensive or defensive player can legally play the ball. In the NBA, WNBA and NCAA, there is an imaginary cylinder above the basket, and touching the ball while it's within that cylinder – even if the ball has already hit the rim – results in an offensive or defensive goaltending violation.

Any other notable rules differences to know about Olympic basketball?

In the NBA and WNBA, defensive players are not allowed to stay in the lane for more than three seconds unless they are actively guarding an offensive player. This rule, known as a "defensive three-second violation," does not exist in FIBA basketball, so players are free to camp out in the lane while on defense. A version of the "offensive three-second rule" does exist in international play, however.