Things I'm Looking Forward To: An Early Start to the High School Season
This season, the WIAA state tournament is being held March 7-9. At first glance, that seems unimportant, but to an obsessive basketball fan in Wisconsin, this is huge. Usually, the WIAA tourney coincides with the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. This year, the WIAA tourney is taking place two weeks prior to the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament. I have some friends that will tell you that it’s better when both tournaments are the same weekend, since there’s a certain joy in watching the Milwaukee Vincents and Madison Memorials of the world and then dashing to a bar to check in on college scores. And those friends are wrong. All that happens when you’ve got two tournaments going on at the same time is you can’t watch one of them. Shift the WIAA tournament to another weekend and voila! You’ve got another weekend of basketball watching. That’s a much better result than having one weekend where you’re overextended and can’t possibly watch everything you want to see.
Aside from that obvious point, there are three other things that make this shift perfect. One, the WIAA tournament is being moved back not just one week, but two. Thus, not only is there no conflict with the NCAA tournament, there’s also no conflict with the week when the major NCAA conferences have their tournaments. So mark down three great weekends of hoops in March. Two, because the WIAA tournament is taking place two weeks earlier than usual, we get high school basketball two weeks earlier than usual. I’ll never object to that. And on a third, more personal note, because some of my friends have insisted on perpetually having our annual fantasy baseball draft on the weekend of the NCAA tournament, I’ll finally have a championship Saturday where I can watch high school games instead of spending eight hours at a bar trying to pretend that I know something about baseball.