Post-season excitement lost in sub-district format
The numbers from last night’s Class C-1 sub-district matches are kind of mind numbing to look at the morning after. If you love volleyball — and I know there are thousands of people in our awesome state who love it…
The numbers from last night’s Class C-1 sub-district matches are kind of mind numbing to look at the morning after. If you love volleyball — and I know there are thousands of people in our awesome state who love it more than me — it should almost make you angry.
In an effort to improve their state tournament last year, the Class C coaches adopted the sub-state format similar to Class B to determine the eight teams that advance to the state tournament next week in Lincoln.
They kept the existing 12 sub-district tournaments as normal. But, instead of playing the normal six district finals and adding two wild cards, they now place the 12 sub-district champions with four wild cards to the 16-team sub-state format.
Winners to Lincoln, with a re-seeded bracket of survivors. Seems like a pretty good idea, right? Get 16 of the best teams to play on Saturday for a trip to state. But, because of geography, and the bullheadedness to keep geographical districts, it has ruined tonight.
Some of the real great games — Malcolm and Lincoln Christian, Neumann and Concordia, St. Paul and GICC — all happened last night. All of them deserved a better stage.
Oh sure, tonight, there will be some great games. Wahoo will play cross-town rival Bishop Neumann in the C1-3. Lincoln Lutheran and Lincoln Christian in the C1-5. But that’s it. Those are the only two matches (there are eight total) that have two teams in the top-12.
Of course two have advanced already, GICC and Mitchell. They are second and fifth, respectively this morning. Four of the top-10 are out. Watching. One of those, Ord, the vicitm of an upset to No. 19 Broken Bow.
Of the 15 teams playing in tonight’s remaining finals, only four are in the top-10 in points. A full 12 teams from No. 11 Syracuse to No. 42 Fairbury will lace their shoes up one more time. And four of the top-10 aren’t even playing. Amazing.
But, why? Why don’t school officials, athletic directors and coaches want the best teams playing matches tonight? It seems to make little sense to anyone who cares about volleyball.
If you want the 16 best in sub-state why don’t you eliminate preseason districts like Class A does? Protect your top-16 teams and give them the opportunity to host games in a district format.
Please don’t give me the East-West thing here. If we did it this year and used 281 as a line, you have nine east and seven west. That seems about fair. With 55 teams in Class C-1 the top nine seeds would get a bye (only have to win one game AT HOME for a trip to the Saturday 16). Seeds 10-16 would play two games. Berk Brown then says we group the teams outside the top-16 to their closest protected opponent and play away.
The other thing this does? No more five-team sub-districts that result in a two-night format. Yes, you have four more sites, but each site would only play for one night.
I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how no one — not a single coach or administrator — would be against this format. Quite frankly, I’d love to know the downside to this.
We can do better than last night, when Neumann and defending champion Omaha Concordia (8 and 10 in the points) played a sub-district semifinal match as the two and three seeds. As did Malcolm (6) and Lincoln Christian (12). Heck, 18th-seed Douglas County West was in a BUNNY BRACKET GAME AS A FOUR SEED.
You know who else played a 2-3 semifinal? Falls City and Fairbury, seeds 42 and 49. Something doesn’t seem quite right with that picture and the “geography” tells me those teams aren’t that far apart.
We could go on and on with the other three classes. But, bottom line. we can do better folks. We should do better. For our kids and the championship experiences they deserve in high school sports.