I’ve always been a fan of March Madness and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which started this week.
The University of Utah’s Huntsman Center hosted part of the tournament this season.
But if the basketball season were just a little bit longer in high school, wouldn’t it be fun to fill out a bracket full of boys’ basketball teams? After Sunday’s finals votes were completed, it gave me an idea about how we, as local fans, could enjoy a basketball tournament that includes Davis County teams.
I believe basketball is one of those sports that is more about talent and a complete team from top to bottom, leaving room for a 4A team to beat a 5A team, or even a 3A taking down a 4A or 5A team.
Adding to my thinking process is this aspect of voting for a bracket. One thing that can be done is to take the top 12 ranked teams from each class and hold a classification tournament for 5A, 4A, etc. For instance, the 5A tournament could include Lone Peak, Brighton, Weber, Alta and American Fork, which finished in the top five, just for starters,
The remaining seven teams could be chosen by a committee, either of coaches or outside sources (newspaper writers, for instance), which would mean that teams that finished even as high as third in their respective regions may not make the tournament.
From there, an NFL-style playoff ensues. The top four seeds get a “bye” game and the remaining teams play an opening-round game in order to advance. Those remaining would play the top four “bye” teams, and then the bracket gets completed when the championship game is played.
This gives teams that played well a chance to rest before their first playoff games, and gives them a chance to scout their opponent before hitting the floor.
Another idea, and one that’s a little more out in left field, would be to make an NCAA-type tournament involving all five classifications, allowing for a bracket of 64 teams to play for one, and ONLY one, state title.
For this method a lot would have to change, such as figuring out which teams get an “automatic” bid and which ones will need to “show that they belong.”
It’s a bit more confusing, just like the NCAA bracket, but I think it could allow for a team from any of the five classifications to get a chance at saying it is the one true state champion.
Could make for some crazy games, right?
Imagine a team like 1A’s Layton Christian having to face a team like Alta, Northridge or Lone Peak in the first round. Initially it’s like watching a No. 1 seed walk through a No. 16 team, but if a talented “smaller” team can face off against a well-covered, well-known powerhouse team, a scenario might happen where an upset win could have people watching more games.
Think Kansas against Western Kentucky, this year’s No. 1 and No. 16 teams in the South Region of this year’s NCAA Tournament: Sounds like a blowout for No. 1 Kansas, but then again, you never know until the game is over.
The way the system currently is for most high school sports, as many as two-thirds of the teams in each classification make the playoffs every year. In sports such as basketball, it only takes a handful of region wins to get in, rather than having a solid overall record with wins against strong teams.
I may just be crazy about the whole “bracket” thing, but it could make for some interesting basketball games from start to finish. If it doesn’t work, the UHSAA could always go back to the way things were.