The Nebraska basketball postseason has long been one of the first signs of spring (and boy could we use some spring right now). And, let’s be honest, many of our neighboring states try to take cues from us to make their tournament better. That’s all something that should make us proud.
But, could we make it better? Should we? I guess it depends on what you like and if you think there is an answer. The FULL COURT PRESS preference? Read on.
A giant state tournament in each class. No losing and no wild cards. How do we do it? We’ll try to lay it out here as the top-team in the Class B girls point standings (Norris) takes on the number three team (Crete) in a “round of 16” game before the second round of “round of 16” games on Saturday. Confusing? Yeah. And a complete disservice to both teams.
Let’s first start with Class B (and A, if you wish). These need to be seeded tournaments. We can think of zero reasons why this should not be the case. It’s nearly this in Class A, but they stop the serpentine at the 7-seed, which means they play the 8-seed in a district final. All to save the wild card?
Why not the 7-seed play the 10? 8 vs. 9? Like a normal bracket. And, if you can’t beat the proper bracketed team maybe you don’t really need to move on. Virginia was done when UMBC beat them. No second chances. Class A currently has no travel concerns and this format would eliminate the few play-in games they have to save the wild card.
Class B — because of a little more geography — has a few things to work through, but not many. The current Monday, Tuesday, Saturday format is overkill. It should take no more than two games to get from 30 to the eight teams that need to go to Lincoln. Ideas?
- Seed the teams 1-30. The top-two teams would earn a bye and need to play just one game (on their home floor) to advance to Lincoln.
- Seeds 3-8 would also have home games. These seeds would host a four-team district. If travel is not an issue, games are played Friday, Saturday.
- What if Holdrege has to play Gering and the district host is Omaha Skutt? Really good question. Two options: play the game on Thursday at the high-seed OR play the game on Friday at the district host.
- Wait to seed! The other thing that delaying the start of the tournament does is it allows to delay seeding until the regular season is completely over.
As we move to Classes C and D, it can get bit more complicated. We’ll try to explain it and then give some graphics to help. First, a few starting points.
- Regions, not sub-districts. Prior to the season, the NSAA sets four regions, rather than 12 sub-districts. This gives us a better opportunity to get the good teams away from each other for a longer period of time.
- Serpentine the regions. At postseason, the four regions are put into a bracket and divided into eight districts. Two districts per region.
- Eight district champions. The top-seeds in each district are then seeded 1-8 and placed on a bracket that funnels to Lincoln. There is no re-seeding. District 1 winner played district 8 winner in Lincoln. A giant tournament.
- No bunnies. This format would also eliminate play-in games and save a night for schools. We can get from 54 or 55 or 56 down to 16 in two nights. Then, double header district finals for the regional final four. In the opening round, we’d propose the high seed in the “group of four” is the host school and in the second round the high seed in the district is the host.
Here are a couple examples this year. First, Class C-2 boys, where there is currently a sub-district where the 17th team in points is the fourth seed. Ugh.
Regions and seeding
And, a quick look of the Class C-1 girls field in this format.
Regions and Seeding
We’d love to hear your feedback. Connect with writer Tony Chapman on Twitter (@tony_chapman76) or send him an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. See you all in Lincoln.