by Alan B. Gibson
Sweet 16 format change approved
Call me old-fashioned, or just call me old, but I still think the format of playing the KHSAA Sweet 16 with a pair of semi-final games on Saturday morning, followed by the championship game on Saturday night, was the most fun for the average fan – and it’s the fans who pay the bills.
But, that will not be the way it’s done any more.
Fans will remember that because of a scheduling conflict with the University of Kentucky and Coach Cal’s desire to play against Florida in Rupp on the same Saturday as the semi-finals and finals of the KHSAA Sweet 16 were slated to be played, a “temporary” change in the format was made this past year that saw the semis being played Saturday night and the championship game on Sunday.
That “temporary” turned to “experimental” as the season progressed, with the boys’ tournament going through the new format while the girls’ Sweet 16 remained the same (Saturday-Saturday).
Well, after reviewing the tournament results, “temporary” has become “permanent” following action taken last week by the KHSAA Board of Control, who voted in favor of the proposal presented by Commissioner Julian Tackett, to move the championship game for both the boys’ and girls’ tournaments to Sunday, beginning with the 2014 events.
According to a press release issued last week from the KHSAA Commissioner’s office:
“We examined the format of our basketball tournaments from a number of different perspectives, and in the end, felt like it was time to move the championship game to Sunday. Separating the championship game from the semifinals, really makes an event out of the Saturday games for those final four teams,” said KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett. “We think the added rest leading up to the championship game will not only benefit the health and safety of the students, it will also have an impact on the quality of play, and provide coaches a chance to better prepare their teams for the most important game of the year.”
Sunday’s championship game did draw nicely, a reported 17,351, which was supposedly the largest crowd for a championship game since 2009.
I would still like to know the true “turnstile” number in attendance for Sunday’s game as that attendance number being reported is a total of tickets sold, rather than tickets scanned. Those of us who attend the entire tournament with a ticket package and were faced with a long drive ahead who returned home Saturday night or Sunday morning, did so with paid tickets in our pockets.
Still – it’s the Greatest Show in Hoops, and I’ll be back next year . . . at least through Saturday night. If it looks like a great game on Sunday, maybe I’ll stick around. Make it two Louisville schools or a Louisville-Lexington match up – I’ll be on the road.