Thumbs up for home sites in early round basketball tournament games
The new format has a couple notable advantages:
-- It reduces travel for at least one of the teams, both in many cases. A good example is the girls Division III North Ridgeville District. The sectional final round featured Gilmour hosting Richmond Heights and Beachwood visiting Kirtland. Previously, those games would have been at North Ridgeville, which is 35 miles from Gates Mills and 44 from Kirtland.
-- More fans means more revenue.
It's not perfect, of course. If you're a gym rat, the old sectional doubleheaders are gone. Also, if you're in favor of a tournament atmosphere for all postseason games, you'll have to wait until the district semifinal round.
That's not necessarily bad, though. Often, the so-called tournament atmosphere includes the echo of the ball bouncing in a nearly empty gym. Those 6:15 p.m. openers, especially in the smaller divisions, are friends-and-family affairs.
I would imagine coaches who felt their teams were under-seeded -- you never know how the voting at those meetings is going to go -- are probably upset about having to play a road game. But I'd like to think the process works well enough that teams end up where they should be, or close to it.
The next step would be blending the district meetings for Divisions II, III and IV. Exhibit A: The Garfield Heights Divsion III boys district.
-- Howard Primer