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Thread: Should I find it telling...

  1. #1
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Should I find it telling...

    Should I find it telling that the 2008-2009 IHSAA State Basketball Championshipsssssssss were just played over the weekend and nobody has posted about it?

    I do find it telling...

    Class basketball has relegated Indiana HS basketball to just another HS sport to be embraced by friends and families of the teams and their hometown. Outside of that, it's largely now irrelevant.

    For those that never experienced Indiana High School basketball and it's grand 1 winner take all tournament, you'll never understand the difference. The whole state embraced the sport and tournament. Sectionals meant something. The passion wasn't limited to small pockets where the teams were located, it was statewide.

    The Indiana HS tournament would garner national press. ESPN even broadcast the games.

    And now?

    I wonder how many people didn't even know the championships were this past weekend...



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  2. #2
    Wasting Light Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    But now we have four winners! YAY!

    Signed, someone barely old enough to even remember the older system, but still gets it.

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    Huge Member heywoode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    I'm in the same crowd as Hicks, and I'm also in the crowd of didn't know the championship was this past weekend.

    I think the results as you describe them are irrefutable.

    Bring back the chance to make Hoosiers II every year!!



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  4. #4
    woman without a team
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    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    I'm in the crowd that knew it was this weekend, but didn't care.

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    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    I bought a Bloomington South Championship T-Shirt today.

    Haha, I didn't even go there!

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    Go Colts! Shade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Agreed with everyone. The class system just isn't nearly as exciting. It really closed the door on the underdogs and even killed some formerly major rivalries.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Illinois went from two classes to four a few years back, and the competition was so watered down. Two used to make sense -- there would never be a single-class winner south of Champaign.

    Just in our coverage area alone, we've had a myriad of below-.500 regional winners (that's equivalent to an Indiana sectional).

    The 1A winner this season was probably good enough to get to the 2A state tournament, so it's pretty unfortunate they didn't get the chance.

    It's worse in girls basketball, where there's a lot, lot, lot of bad basketball being played deep into the playoffs.

  8. #8
    Tree People to the Core! indygeezer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    I was shocked when I read it in Sunday's paper, and I believe the stories were relegated to page 3 IIRC. THere was one little comment at the bottom of page 1 telling you to turn to page 3.

    To show you how bad it is, NCAA tourney with NO Indiana teams in it and a story about the Pacers were on Page 1 with the barest of mentions of the IHSAA.

    I could care less anymore and I used to go to every local Sectional and at least an occasional Regional game. I have attended several Finals including the last 2 single champion tourneys but I haven't even seen a finals game since. One of the ioriginal reasons for creating the class system was to allow for more winners. But I don't think they realize they now have alot of teams that have to live with the fact that they can't even make it out of the 1st round of a watered down Class A (or anyother class for that matter) The unintended consequence is that instead of having 4 winners we now have numerous LOSERS. There used to be no shame for Charlottesville or Middletown (W/E) if they lost to New Castle in the Sectional....but now Middletown has to live with the fact that they lost to Charlottesville in the sectional of the unheralded Class A tourney.

    I really don't think it matters anymore. Basketball is no longer relevant in Indiana. HS football has taken precedence. Hell, I see more people at the HS Marching Band Competitions than I do at tourney games and yes, I go to both. I'll bet anybody a cup of coffee that I can get a ticket to 99.95% of the Indiana HS bball games on game night just by walking up to the ticket window and plopping down my money. I'll tell ya from experience, 50 years ago it wasn't that way.


    I suggest that you might want to attend a Butler bball game. In my mind that is the closest to what it used to feel like...but maybe that is just the Butler atmosphere.
    Last edited by indygeezer; 03-31-2009 at 06:20 AM.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    BBall's OP is right. I'd suggest, though, that the main cause of the decline is not the loss of the winner-take-all mystique. Rather, it is that class ball takes away the community rivalries and pits teams against opponents they've never heard of.

    My small, rural high school (class A Southern Wells) was never going to repeat the Milan Miracle. We knew that. I don't think anybody ever even imagined it. But there was always a chance that we could beat %$#&-ing Norwell. (Norwell being three times as big and much richer.) Or we could at least score against them and keep it close. That would show 'em!

    Now, instead of that, Southern Wells (and everybody else, too, except the big city teams) plays in a sectional against schools from non-contiguous counties. The opponents often mean nothing to a school. Maybe they were on the schedule during the regular season, but we don't know anybody from there and don't feel any particular zeal about playing them or beating them. Plus, winning the sectional these days just means you have to play a "regional" in what seems like South Dakota.
    Last edited by Putnam; 03-31-2009 at 08:13 AM.
    And I won't be here to see the day
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  10. #10
    100 Miles from the B count55's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    In the one class tournament, the tournament itself was the event. You were watching the event, and it didn't matter if your team

    With four classes, you have to have a dog in the fight to care. It hasn't just watered down high school basketball in Indiana, it's rendered it irrelevant to me. It is now just some generic games being played at a very low level of skill.

  11. #11
    It is ka Thankee sai Major Cold's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Why can't the four winners then ball for all the marbles.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by Major Cold View Post
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    Why can't the four winners then ball for all the marbles.
    For the same reason they don't make the winners of the Special Olympics go against Michael Phelps.



    I think that tournament of winners idea was discussed, but nobody wants it. The big schools would have nothing to prove, and the little schools would gain nothing from the trouncing.



    .
    And I won't be here to see the day
    It all dries up and blows away
    I'd hang around just to see
    But they never had much use for me
    In Levelland. (James McMurtry)

  13. #13

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    I'm in the camp that high school basketball should be primarily enjoyable for high school athletes, high school students, and the parents of high school students. And class basketball, overall, is more enjoyable to more of that demographic than single-class basketball.

    I'm 28, I could care less about what kind of system they're running, because it's not a product that I should be consuming. Once I have a child or 3 in high school, I'll probably be very excited that my son or daughter who will probably be going to a small school has a chance to be a state champion.

    Arguing against the class system is like arguing against weight classes in boxing, MMA, or wrestling.

  14. #14
    100 Miles from the B count55's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by Major Cold View Post
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    Why can't the four winners then ball for all the marbles.
    They did that the first few years...or they did something with the four champions...it wasn't particularly memorable, because I can't remember the exact details, or why they stopped...

  15. #15
    Member idioteque's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eindar View Post
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    I'm in the camp that high school basketball should be primarily enjoyable for high school athletes, high school students, and the parents of high school students. And class basketball, overall, is more enjoyable to more of that demographic than single-class basketball.
    Uh, no, not at all, did you read Putnam's post?

    I went to high school in Indianapolis but grew up in Shelbyville. Our old sectional was so much fun growing up because the smaller schools resented Shelbyville for being the most populated, wealthiest (but DEFINITELY not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination) town in Shelby County. Shelbyville had something to prove every year that we were better than the other little po-dunk towns in our county, and most of the time we did, but some years we didn't and oh my would we hear it from the smaller towns.

    Single-class basketball was like an expression of conventional warfare. It was a fun way for towns to express their geographical rivalries without anyone getting hurt. Now, I don't even know or care who is in the Shelbyville Sectional, none of those teams bear any relevance to the athletes, students, or parents. How could you think it would therefore be more entertaining?

    I'm 28, I could care less about what kind of system they're running, because it's not a product that I should be consuming.
    Maybe you don't, and you have every right not to care, just like people who care about what is the quinessential Indiana tradition have the right TO care.

    I'll probably be very excited that my son or daughter who will probably be going to a small school has a chance to be a state champion.
    Because everyone gets a trophy, right?

    Arguing against the class system is like arguing against weight classes in boxing, MMA, or wrestling.
    Apples and oranges.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by dcpacersfan View Post
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    Uh, no, not at all, did you read Putnam's post?

    I went to high school in Indianapolis but grew up in Shelbyville. Our old sectional was so much fun growing up because the smaller schools resented Shelbyville for being the most populated, wealthiest (but DEFINITELY not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination) town in Shelby County. Shelbyville had something to prove every year that we were better than the other little po-dunk towns in our county, and most of the time we did, but some years we didn't and oh my would we hear it from the smaller towns.
    Uh, maybe fun for you. Not so much for the kids from the smaller schools who knew that their only hope was to beat a huge school so that they could go on to lose to another huge school. Since it's story time, I went to Lutheran, population 260, and winning a sectional was a big, big deal. It was exciting, but that excitement was alway stamped down by the knowledge that no matter how hard we practiced, how hard we played, it was almost as likely that our parents would win the lottery as it was that we would win a state title in basketball.

    For a reference point, Lutheran still hasn't won a 1A state basketball title, but they made the final game last year, and I can guarantee you that there was much, much more excitement for that game than there was the time my sophomore year when we had a chance to lose in our sectional against Shelbyville.

    Single-class basketball was like an expression of conventional warfare. It was a fun way for towns to express their geographical rivalries without anyone getting hurt. Now, I don't even know or care who is in the Shelbyville Sectional, none of those teams bear any relevance to the athletes, students, or parents. How could you think it would therefore be more entertaining?
    More entertaining for those who should be emotionally invested in the game (players, students, parents), not 30-something men who really should have more important things to do than spend a Saturday evening in a gym watching teenagers play sports.


    Because everyone gets a trophy, right?
    Nope, only 3-5 teams per year, out of the hundreds of competing teams. This is far and away a different thing than a participation trophy or a league for 5-year-olds where they don't keep score.

    Apples and oranges.
    Give me one good reason why this is different. You wouldn't want your 105-lb son who is a great wrestler to have to wrestle someone who is 220 lbs, why should I want my kid to have to play against Greg Oden when there's no way a Greg Oden would play for any school that won't allow him to be seen by tons of College and NBA scouts? If you're going to try to argue that a school with 250 students is on a level playing field with a school that has 3000 and commensurate funding for equipment and training programs, we can just end this discussion now, because we're never, ever going to agree.

  17. #17
    Member idioteque's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eindar View Post
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    we can just end this discussion now, because we're never, ever going to agree.
    Haha, no we're not, but just remember a few things.

    1.) It was not like Shelbyville was a powerhouse or the biggest school in the state. In 1995 (approximately) we had to play Ben Davis in the semi-state and we got crushed pretty badly. The general feeling among the fanbase was, however, that we'd rather get beat in the whole scheme of things than win some charity title. Depends how you want to approach the issue I guess.

    2.) And I don't get your Greg Oden example because there are always going to be 2 or 3 teams that are nearly impossible to beat whether or not there is a class system. My cousin played for 4A Center Grove and had to guard Oden in HS and was accordingly massacred just as badly as some kid from almost any other high school in the state would have. There are some 4A teams that have little to no chance of ever winning the 4A title, should we create another class for "disadvantaged" groups like underfunded schools or something so that they have a reasonable chance to win a title, too?

    3.) You make think people are losers for going to High School Basketball games but just remember that it is a big part of Indiana history and people have the right to root for and be fans of the sport.

  18. #18
    Wasting Light Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    So "they" destroyed an Indiana phenomenon to make the participants feel better. ?

  19. #19

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by dcpacersfan View Post
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    Haha, no we're not, but just remember a few things.

    1.) It was not like Shelbyville was a powerhouse or the biggest school in the state. In 1995 (approximately) we had to play Ben Davis in the semi-state and we got crushed pretty badly. The general feeling among the fanbase was, however, that we'd rather get beat in the whole scheme of things than win some charity title. Depends how you want to approach the issue I guess.

    2.) And I don't get your Greg Oden example because there are always going to be 2 or 3 teams that are nearly impossible to beat whether or not there is a class system. My cousin played for 4A Center Grove and had to guard Oden in HS and was accordingly massacred just as badly as some kid from almost any other high school in the state would have. There are some 4A teams that have little to no chance of ever winning the 4A title, should we create another class for "disadvantaged" groups like underfunded schools or something so that they have a reasonable chance to win a title, too?

    3.) You make think people are losers for going to High School Basketball games but just remember that it is a big part of Indiana history and people have the right to root for and be fans of the sport.
    1.) See, we're viewing it from different perspectives. From my vantage point, Shelbyville was our Ben Davis. So, what does that make Ben Davis to us? Answer: not worth even thinking about. This is almost like our economy in a nutshell: the big schools get all the press, but the little schools make up more of the population.

    2.) I disagree on this point. Lutheran is a small school even for 1A, but it's only been about a decade, and we've already been to a championship game, despite having a weight room that is mediocre at best and a coaching staff that is shorthanded compared to most other schools.

    3.) Go ahead and root for the school and be a fan of the sport. The quality of the games hasn't changed. The teams that are in the 4A and 3A finals are generally the same teams that would have been the single-class final four. The only thing that is different is that fewer big schools get fewer cake-walk games on the way to the title.

    Virtually ever person I've spoken to who is in favor of single-class basketball went to a high school with over 1000 students. What's worse, these same people try to act like they're not wanting it for themselves, they're wanting it for all of these small schools. Guess what? The small schools (and those that play and have played for those small schools) prefer it this way. We don't want what you think we want. Sure, every well-coached team like Waldron is going to wonder how they would do against Lawrence North or Bloomington South, but I don't think they'd tradethe ability to win state titles within their division to find out.

    The best solution would be some sort of side tournament or even just a few games pitting some of the top teams in each class against each other. I'm sure the reason the haven't has to do with scheduling. But given the two options, class basketball does the most good for the most students and student athletes.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    So "they" destroyed an Indiana phenomenon to make the participants feel better. ?
    Is the purpose of High school basketball, and the IHSAA for that matter, to market itself and make money as a spectator sport, or to provide players and students an opportunity to show off their talents on a level playing field? That's really what this boils down to.

    These are kids, not professional athletes. The focus should be on providing students and student athletes with as exciting a product, for THEM, as possible. Not just for the top 2 1A schools who might be able to sneak into a semi-state, and certainly not for spectators who have no vested interest in the participants. If it was as bad as some of you make it out to be, the IHSAA would be losing money hand over fist and would have been forced to return to the old system, right? Clearly there is still interest enough to make the system viable, which is good enough for me.

    the NCAA tournament is a perfect format for you to follow a small school to their inevitable defeat in a basketball tournament setting. How about we make high school basketball about high school students, and not "fans"?

  21. #21

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Eindar, I wanted to argue with the points you made but when I'd thought about it a while I realized that you are right: "The quality of the games hasn't changed."

    The thing is, the quality of the tournament itself has changed utterly and changed for the worse.

    David the shepherd boy had no business going up against the Philistine champion, Goliath.

    A few hundred Spartans should never have even tried to block Thermopalae pass against the oncoming Persians.

    Col. Lettow-Voorbeck should have surrendered his troops at the start of WW1 to the vastly superior British East African corps.

    Steven Jobs should have looked in the mirror and thought, "I'm just a geek college kids. IBM is a giant corporation. If anybody is going to make computers, it's them."

    Reservoir Dogs, Eraserhead and any number of other independent films should never have been made. (Most of them should never have beem made because the directors didn't have the backing of a major studio. Eraserhead just shouldn't have been made. Yech!)

    Really great, unexpected things happen. Not often, but they do happen. It never happened to Lutheran and it never happened to Southern Wells. It never happened in our lifetimes. But it DID happen for Milan!

    Class basketball guarantees that it can never happen again.
    Last edited by Putnam; 03-31-2009 at 01:13 PM.
    And I won't be here to see the day
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    But they never had much use for me
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  22. #22
    Member idioteque's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eindar View Post
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    Guess what? The small schools (and those that play and have played for those small schools) prefer it this way. We don't want what you think we want. Sure, every well-coached team like Waldron is going to wonder how they would do against Lawrence North or Bloomington South, but I don't think they'd tradethe ability to win state titles within their division to find out.
    I don't know about that, I have often heard the opposite, but I'm not accusing you of anything, either. I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on most of the points but I understand your perspective much better through this exchange.

    I've always toyed with the idea of some sort of compromise system where Indiana High School basketball was basically a mirror of the NCAA, and teams could get bids into three different tournaments. That way the best small schools would have the ability to compete with larger schools that they could very well beat, while horrible 4A programs would actually have the chance to win something. Yes there would be a bit of controversy every year and there are flaws inherent in this system, but it would be interesting to say the least.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Point two: I think the single-class system engendered plenty of interest. I was never just a fan of the tournament apart from teams I cared about. But in the old days there were ALWAYS teams I cared about.

    In the sectional, I wanted my school to win. When it lost, as it always did, I wanted whatever team came out of our sectional to win in the Marion regional; unless it was Norwell, in which case I wanted them to get beaten by any other team except Marion. It was like that all the way to the end. There was always something personal about the games. There was always an underdog matchup. There was always North versus South. (How many of us learned Indiana geography from looking up schools on the map?) There was always a team that was in the tournament for the first time. There were so many story lines to the old tournament.

    All that's gone.
    And I won't be here to see the day
    It all dries up and blows away
    I'd hang around just to see
    But they never had much use for me
    In Levelland. (James McMurtry)

  24. #24

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eindar View Post
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    Is the purpose of High school basketball, and the IHSAA for that matter, to market itself and make money as a spectator sport, or to provide players and students an opportunity to show off their talents on a level playing field? That's really what this boils down to.
    I very much agree with this. Was the old tournament a great thing to market, talk about, get media coverage for, etc.? Absolutely.

    But how about the thousands of kids who could only hang their hats on a fleeting chance at making it out of regionals? Do those magical moments happen? Sure ... once every 10, 20, 30 years. And all the years in between?

    Well, at least all the non-vested people got to watch a 'true' state tournament.

    The problem I have with the Illinois class system is not that there are classes, but that there are too many. A big-school and small-school setup still had Carver Arena in Peoria pretty full, and little guys and mid-majors could still have a reasonable chance at making the state tournament.

    Nowadays, the Class 1A and 3A finals are played in the early afternoon to a half-empty arena. I don't think that's what the magical moment anyone wants.

    How would people feel about two-class basketball?

  25. #25
    Wasting Light Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    The thing is, it wasn't "just" Regionals or "just" Sectionals before. They could take pride in those wins. Let's not pretend they all walked home with their tales tucked between their legs feeling ashamed.

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