By Joe Henricksen

IHSA's worst hoops nightmare....

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By Joe Henricksen

There are more than a few skeptics of the four-class basketball system that is now in place. And when you're talking high school basketball coaches and Illinois prep basketball purists and enthusiasts, the skeptics are in the majority. In the end, there is even a nightmare scenario that could develop for the IHSA, the organization that has done a wonderful job in so many different areas of high school sports in this state. It still remains nothing more than a "What if" right now, but it's getting closer and closer to developing.

First, North Lawndale out of the Chicago Public League is two wins away from capturing the Class 2A state title. Marshall and Simeon, two Class 3A heavyweights, are heavily favored to reach Peoria. And Whitney Young has emerged as the favorite to bring home the Class 4A crown. Imagine, in the first year of the four-class system, three Chicago Public League teams bringing home three of the four state titles? And this following Marshall and Whitney Young winning the Class 3A and Class 4A girls state titles.

We could be looking at Marshall and Whitney Young both winning state championships in boys basketball as well. That would be four state titles between two Chicago Public League schools that are 3.1 miles away from one another. So much for representation from around the state. While four classes has certainly opened doors for some faulty, substandard teams to win weak, watered down regional and sectional titles, it's just making it easier for the basketball super powers to advance to the big stage.

But that's not the nightmare scenario. This is....

If these matchups materialize, with Marshall, Simeon and Whitney Young all in Peoria for the big school tournament, the crowds are sure to be small. Perhaps, really small. As talented as these three teams are -- arguably the three best teams in Illinois -- they don't bring fans to Peoria. The IHSA can be thankful Curie was beaten Wednesday night. But there are a couple of other schools that could potentially make it to Peoria that have not -- or will not -- bring a large fan base, either.

You have to wonder how many people will be in the stands for a potential state championship game in the middle of the afternoon (the 3A title game time) next Saturday if Marshall and Simeon were squaring off in the first All-Public League boys state championship game? The IHSA can only hope the local team, Washington, makes it. That team alone may bring enough fans to fill half of Carver Arena.

The big losers in this scenario, though, could be the people and businesses in Peoria. We are talking more than potential empty seats. We are talking hundreds of hotel rooms left open, meals not being eaten in restaurants and gas not being pumped. Again, the fanbase at Whitney Young, Simeon and Marshall will not be very well represented in Peoria. And even with Washington, the majority of those fans aren't hotel-staying fans, likely choosing to make the short trek east back to Washington.

The good news? As mentioned before, if the right teams make it to the Class 3A Final Four -- Marshall, Simeon, Washington and Decatur Eisenhower -- it would be the first time in a long time (maybe ever?) that the four best teams in a specific class of basketball were all in the semifinals. Lets just hope there are some fans in the stands to see it.

Time will tell.

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13 Comments

IT DOESN'T LOOK GOOD FOR WHITNEY YOUNG. MIKE FLAHERTY
HAS MT.CARMEL PLAYING AT ANOTHER LEVEL.
LOOK FOR MT. CARMEL TO UPSET WHITNEY YOUNG!
ALSO LOOK FOR TINLEY PARK TO UPSET T.F. NORTH AT THE
SECTIONAL AT RICH SOUTH.
ATTENTION COLLEGE RECRUITERS-LOOKING FOR A POINT GUARD
TINLEY PARK HAS A GOOD ONE.

Empty hotel rooms, lack off customers in restaurants. I thought the purpose of the state tournament was to get the best teams to play for a championship.If the teams from CPS are the best in the state then so be it. Don't get upset because they are the best.You don't say the same about football because CPS hasn't broken through yet. But that day is coming soon. When that happens will you say the same thing? This should be about the kids and how they work hard and come together to achieve a goal, not about empty hotel rooms. What that says to me is that you don't think that the kids from CPS deserve to be there even if they play by the rules. Your column shows some bias against the kids from CPS when all they have done is to work hard and abide by the rules to reach the point that they are at.

Derek .... In reading -- and posting -- your response, I have no idea what you are talking about. Did you read the same blog as I wrote? I want, hope, am pulling for the Chicago Public League teams to make it to Peoria, because, as I have noted 234 times this year, they are the best teams and most worthy in the state. It would provide the best possible matchups and basketball. It's what most people want. Where do I indicate getting upset if it happens? And getting the best teams to play for a state championship is exactly my point, which is why I don't like four classes in high school basketball. If you read the headline at the top, this is from the IHSA's perspective and the businesses of Peoria. I could care less if there are empty hotel rooms. This is about great basketball teams that do deserve to be there but don't have large fan bases, with the potential of playing in front of small crowds, which would impact the IHSA, the city of Peoria and the perception of high school basketball in this state.

Joe if the IHSA is worried about the impact of the teams playing in front of small crowds then move the tournment to Chicago. It is our state's biggest city and you talked about the schools small fan base, I bet that if the game was here you would see bigger crowds for The Marshalls and Whitney Youngs of the world. Most of their fans cannot afford to travel downstate to Peoria. That why CPS teams don't travel well, because of economics.

The sad thing is the fans who will be watching those great 3A teams are people with no really connection to any of the schools! Just the loyal basketball fans who love the state tournament and go every year. If that is the case, I would assume that Peoria and the IHSA would take a beating because that has to be Peoria's biggest money making event - why else would you go to Peoria? Interesting points made in this blog! Oh, and Derek you do need to read this blog again because you were way off on the writers point of the story! Not once did the writer say or insinuate that he doesn't want those teams there. It's just an interesting and realistic possibility concerining the atmosphere.

WHY WOULD THE IHSA BRING THE STATE TOURNEY TO CHICAGO?
ISN'T THE WHOLE IDEA-GOING DOWNSTATE, NOT UPSTATE!
STOP SAYING THE CPS DOESN'T TURN-OUT FOR DOWNSTATE
ACTIVITIES, SIMPLY NOT ACCURATE INFO!
PLUS YOU GO DOWNSTATE NOT ONLY TO CONNECT TO THE
SCHOOLS, BUT TO FELLOWSHIP WITH FRIENDS, COACHES,
FORMER PLAYERS, AND TO WATCH THE CURRENT PLAYERS.
THE ACTIVITIES IN PEORIA ARE SECOND TO NONE!
AND ISU FOR THE LADIES IS A GREAT VENUE!
WOULDN'T IT BE GREAT IF THE CPS WINS THREE CLASSES
THIS YEAR!
NORTH LAWNDALE 2A CHAMPS
SIMEON OR MARSHALL 3A CHAMPS
WHITNEY YOUNG 4A CHAMPS

One of the following three "downstate" teams WILL be in the 3A final 4 in Peoria: Washington, Geneseo, or Sterling. Whichever of those three make it, they will bring a TON of fans with them. Crisis averted.

G-Dub ... You are right on, especially with the Washington scenario -- a huge fanbase and local team. However, it would be interesting to see how many fans were at the afternoon session on Saturday for the 3A title game if Simeon plays Marshall, which would follow the third-place game that, as history has shown, no one goes to (and that was when it was played on Saturday night!).

WIN AND THE PEOPLE WILL COME, YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER
EACH TEAM ONLY PLAYS TWO GAMES DOWNSTATE, NOT THREE
LIKE IN PREVIOUS YEARS.
IF SIMEON PLAYS MARSHALL FOR THE 3A CHAMPIONSHIP,AND
WHITNEY YOUNG PLAYS THAT EVENING FOR THE 4A CHAMPION-
SHIP, CHICAGO WILL ROCK THE HOUSE IN PEORIA!
HEY G DUB IF YOUR TEAMS GET TO PEORIA, IT IS A WIN-WIN
SITUATION.
TO JOE H, REMEMBER THIS IS A NEW SET-UP.
FOUR CLASSES THIS YEAR!
FESS UP GUYS, YOU JUST DON'T WANT THE PUBLIC LEAGUE
TO WIN THE 3A AND 4A CHAMPIONSHIPS.
THE GATE WILL BE GREAT!

I live in the south burbs, a Bloom alum, a school with a large fan base, yet love CPS basketball. However, although its about great basketball, you have to understand it cost. peoria put pon a great event each season, and the large crowds allows them to get a return on their investment. The tourney has expenses as well, and although we look forward to great basketball, somebody has to pay the bills.

Anyone have directions to P-E-O-R-I-A? Zion-Benton Zee-Bee's will face Evanston Friday night...and this will be the first team from Zion to advance past a Super-Sectional. Zion has been ranked below CPS schools all year long. Now with a 31-3 record, someone should take notice. Zion H.S. is as far north in IL as it gets. We will make the long drive to support our team...and spend some money in P-E-O-R-I-A...if we can find it.

ZION-BENTON MUST BE THE REAL-DEAL FOR THEM TO BE
INVITED TO THE PROVISO WEST CHRISTMAS TOURNEY!
GOOD LUCK FRIDAY NIGHT, EVANSTON WITH BOBBY LOCKE
AT THE HELM ARE CLICKING ON ALL CYLINDERS, SHOULD BE
A FLAT-OUT WAR!
EVERYONE GOING TO PEORIA HAVE FUN, BUT PLEASE SPORT
A WINNING ATTITUDE!
LET THE REFS REF, LET THE COACHES COACH, LET THE
PLAYERS PLAY!

the 4 class system is mumbo jumbo.go back to 2 classes.let 16 teams go and seed them from 1 to 16 or else there will be no interest except just a waterdown tourney.maybe this is just for those small illinois towns nobody does not know about wanting a trophy!

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on March 5, 2008 10:04 PM.

Lewis recruiting haul just got bigger was the previous entry in this blog.

This is why you hire Mike Flaherty is the next entry in this blog.

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