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Postseason basketball formats up for discussion: Advisory committee to vote on Class A, AA postseason proposals

Advisory basketball committee to meet today

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Chamberlain's Hayden Evans (1) puts up a shot against Viborg-Hurley's Angel Johnson (3) at the Hanson Classic on Jan. 23 at the Corn Palace.

Two postseason basketball proposals will be on the table today.

At today’s South Dakota High School Activities Association basketball advisory committee meeting, two proposals that impact Class A and Class AA boys and girls postseason basketball will be voted upon.

The committee will vote on a SoDak 32 proposal in only Class A and a final four championship format for only Class AA state tournaments.

In Class A, the proposal states all eight regions would play their opening-round games until four teams remain in each one. Each team is guaranteed an opening-round game.

The four teams left in each region would be seeded No. 1-through-No. 32 based on seed points, while the top-16 seeds would host the SoDak 32 round games.

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The 16 winners would qualify for the SoDak 16 and would not be reseeded following the opening round. In the next round, the eight winners of the neutral-site games qualify for state.

Winner High School girls basketball coach Larry Aaker, who is the Class A representative on the committee, drew up the proposal and said it benefits regions with three-to-four quality teams.

“I think the SoDak 16 has done a good job of getting the best teams to the state tournament,” Aaker said. “I think this would also help. If you have a region that has three really good or four really good teams, they get a chance to get out of their region. That’s basically why I came up with the proposal.”

The quality of the regions vary from year to year, said Aaker, and it’s possible a region isn’t represented at state. But that’s also a possibility with the current SoDak 16 format. The potential for long road trips is also a concern. But Aaker’s proposal states the SoDak 32 round would be played on consecutive Fridays and it’s the same as teams traveling across the state during football season, he said.

Aaker also pointed to Region 6A as an example where long-distance trips are already the norm. In Region 6A, Chamberlain and McLaughlin are 200 miles apart and they could easily play on a Tuesday night, said Aaker.

Aaker has received mixed feedback from coaches about the proposal, but “I wouldn’t have gone forward with this proposal or proposed it if I got a bunch of negative feedback,” Aaker said. “I got more positive feedback than negative. So that’s why I went ahead and submitted it. Hopefully on Wednesday it will move forward and we will let the athletic directors possibly decide on it.”

In Class AA, 16 teams will qualify for the opening round and the top-eight seeds will host each game. In the next round, the eight winners would play in a doubleheader pod format at two locations or host sites or sites designated before the season.

The four winners would play in the Class AA state tournament over two days in Rapid City or Sioux Falls. The teams would practice on Thursday, while the tourney would be played the next two days. They would play out all four places.

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The two proposals need to pass by a majority vote in the seven-member committee. If passed, the proposals will be voted upon at the South Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association meeting on March 30-April 1. If passed, they will go before the SDHSAA board of directors on April 20-21, with the final reading on June 10.

The postseason formats could go into effect for the 2021-22 season.

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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