Regionals remain, but number of state tourney teams up to 12
By Geno Ludwig/The Independent Staff
Yielding to the pressure from the schools it governs, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association recently announced that it will increase the number of entries into this year’s state high school basketball tournaments. With the new season right around the corner, the WIAA’s Executive Board voted to add four more teams to each of the 12 boys and girls state championship brackets, raising the total from eight teams to a dozen.
The new format, although somewhat complicated, will allow a total of 48 more teams to compete in this year’s state tournaments. The addition will allow more teams from the District 7—in which Chewelah competes—and from the Northeast Region to qualify for the state tournament.
The opening round of the tournaments will remain intact as it was in the past, with 16 teams from each classification playing at regional sites on the Friday and Saturday, February 24-25, prior to the state finale. Each regional tournament bracket will be split into two sections, both including eight teams.
These 16 teams will be ranked and seeded by their rate percentage index (RPI).
The top eight teams in the upper bracket, as seeded by their RPI, will play on Friday or Saturday, with the winners and losers automatically advancing to the state tournament. The winners of this round, however, will get a bye in the opening round of the state event. This round advances eight of the 16 teams into the state tournament.
The eight teams in the bottom half of the regional bracket, also chosen by their RPI, will play a totally different format. Their four Friday or Saturday games will be single-elimination, loser-out encounters. In other words, the four losers will go home, leaving 12 teams to continue.
On the following Wednesday, the state tournaments begin at three locations. The 1B and 2B tournament will be at the Spokane Arena, the 1A and 2A tournament at the Yakima Valley SunDome, and the 3A and 4A tournament at the Tacoma Dome.
In the first round of the state tournament, the four survivors of those lower bracket games will play the four losers from the upper bracket. The four winners of these games will advance to the second day of the state tournament.
The four losers will be eliminated. This round cuts the number of teams to eight.
The tournaments will continue on Thursday through Saturday, March 1-4, with an eight-team modified double elimination format. Six trophies will be awarded per gender per classification.
Two teams will go home without hardware.
The key to making this new basketball tournament format work will be the reporting of game results to MaxPreps, an online sports service that will use its formula to rank all of the state’s boys’ and girls’ teams. The formula for calculating the RPI is: RPI = (25% x Winning Percentage) + (50% x Opponent’s Winning Percentage) + (25% x Opponent’s Opponent’s Winning Percentage).
Complicated? Yes! But the week by week input will be calculated by a computer program, based on the scores reported to MaxPreps.
So, the entire state tournament ranking process will depend on every state high school basketball team reporting its scores so the numbers can be crunched. Although the rankings for all state teams will be available on the WIAA website beginning the first week in January, only the ones for the final 16 teams in each classification bracket will be used for state tournament seeding.
The RPI system will not be used in the qualification to regional sites. The WIAA districts will continue to control their respective qualifying tournaments to determine the 16 teams for each classification.
For Chewelah and the other seven teams in the Northeast A League, the annual district tournament will continue, as it has in the past, probably at some Spokane school like West Valley, Mead, or Mt. Spokane. Depending on whether it is an odd-numbered or even-numbered year, our District 7 will get either three or four boys’ and girls’ entries into the regional tournament.
The first basketball practice will be on November 14, which is less than a month away.