Thursday, March 1, 2012

A radical (Bradford) Plan to improve the NCHSAA basketball playoffs

GREENSBORO -- So I'm sitting on the sidelines at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center, watching Shelby and East Rutherford warm up for their N.C. 2A regional semifinal, and Demp Bradford, vice president of operations for the Greensboro Sports Commission sidles up next to me and delivers a wonderful idea.

I told him I was going to steal it, but end of the day, my wife makes sure I'm an honest man, so I have to give credit where it's due.

But I really like his idea.

Bradford would blow up the current three-week playoff format for the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs and replace it with another three-week playoff format, which I think could be better.

Right now, teams play three games in week one and then go to regional play, which consists of two more games in week two. The regional winner from the east and west then move on to the state finals in the third week.

Bradford would change that.

He would have teams play two games in week one, and then have a regional round where eight teams would play over two days in the East and West at four neutral sites, say, Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro and Fayetteville.

Bradford believes that would reduce schools' travel times and lead to larger crowds. And I've got to believe that if East Rutherford and Shelby had played their fourth meeting of the year in Charlotte instead of Greensboro that there would be more than the 1,000 or so fans I'm seeing watch the first quarter right now.

So under The Bradford Plan, which is kind of a catchy name, each class -- for boys and girls -- would be left with four teams after the new regional round.

Tell me if this is sounding familiar?

Now we go to whatever the two state final sites are on a Friday/Saturday with the East top seed facing the West No. 2 and vice versa in the Friday semifinals. That creates some new matchups fans don't normally see.

Usually you don't get major East-West matchups until the finals -- or the rare holiday tournament matchup. I think it's something that could be really good, especially if we get away from the new Pod system which has led to too many teams from the same conference meeting each other early in the playoffs -- when they should get a shot at new competition.

Other than that, I think The Bradford Plan could be a big winner.


Anonymous said...

Langster a few of my complaints:

1. Berry is out and West Meck is in! Even more ridiculous regarding Berry considering there are 64 teams per class.
2. Harding and North Forsyth meet in the second round of a six round playoff.
3. They go to a pod system to save on travel and end up having neighboring schools drive two hours to play one another. Olympic and WC (15 miles).
Harding and Berry (.25 miles?).
East Rutherford and Shelby (18 miles instead of 148).

Does Bradford Plan end up having multiple schools from the same city traveling 100 miles to play one another instead of 15 miles for a state title? Looks like it.

Do we still see a Greensboro school drive by the Coliseum on the way to ECU to play in the east regional?

Get with me Langster and we will come up with a plan. Hughes can even pitch in. btango