The Regional Round in High School Basketball. The girls get their chance at a Regional this weekend. As I thought about this round, I have come to find it is my favorite round of the entire tournament. Let me count the ways I love this round...
1. 90 percent of the teams in that round are good to excellent. The typical resume of teams in that round is a team with four of less losses on the year. However, it is not unusual to find a near-.500 or sub-.500 teams sneak through-- and sometimes do significant damage.
2. It is the only state championship round in the new class format of basketball that has a two-game, one day format. It is the ultimate test of a team-- can you win the morning game, and then turn around six hours or so later and defeat another great team-- with a title on the line?
3. It is amazing to me the amount of hype that can be raised in six hours. For example-- if Rivet defeats New Washington Saturday morning, and see Northeast Dubois in that evening's final, how juiced with the fans be for that matchup? All is a six-hour time span....
4. The teams are close enough--usually-- to relate a sense of rivalry. Class basketball has blurred that a bit, but there are still significant rivals seeing each other at Regional round time.
5. All the teams involved are already champions-- they all won Sectional titles the week before.
6. The two-game, one-day format is a bow to tradition. How many fans remember the days when the last three weekends of the old format were held that way?
7. The Regional is the ultimate crucible to determine a worthy team to move into the next week's Semi-State- the Final Four of their class tournament.
There are just some of my reasons... maybe you have thoughts of your own. But for now...
That's my take-- I'm Tom Lee.