Every high school basketball coach in the Mountain State should be patting themselves on the back following the state tournaments at the Charleston Civic Center. That's because they got it right.
Six championship games were contested over the last two weekends and in each case the coaches' No. 1 and No. 2 seeded teams competed for the title.
Maybe the NCAA's selection committee should give state coaches a call before next year's March Madness and possibly we could see four regional championships where No. 1 meets No. 2 for the title.
All kidding aside, however, after years of trying to convince the powers-that-be at the Secondary School Activities Commission that seeding the state tournament could be accomplished and that it would provide for better games on the final day of each tournament, someone listened.
The new system has the coaches of the 16 regional qualifiers in each division rank all the schools except their own, with the final tally determining the seed the teams will receive upon reaching the Elite Eight.
This year's No. 1 seeds in girls were North Marion in Class AAA, Summers County in Class AA and Huntington St. Joseph in Class A while their counterparts in the boys' tournament were Logan, Wyoming East and Charleston Catholic.
Only two of the six-the boys teams from Wyoming East and Charleston Catholic-failed to live up to their No. 1 billing as No. 2s Oak Hill and Parkersburg Catholic kept it from being a sweep by the top seeds.
Fans attending the games that make up Championship Saturday were treated to games that may not have been nail-biters, but certainly weren't the blowouts all too prevalant under the old system.
Is the new system perfect?
No. Call me old fashioned, but I can't, and won't, agree to a system that advances a losing team during tournament play.
Do you think the players on the University of Kansas squad would like to have a "do-over" after losing to Northern Iowa on Saturday?
Sure, they would.
But, if the NCAA adopted the idea of allowing teams to continue to play after a loss, the college season might stretch as long as the NBA.
An even better system for the state tournament would be to do away with the antiquated sectionals, seed the regionals and play them out until you have your final two teams. Then, continue to seed those final eight schools.
Will that guarantee the "best" eight schools will be playing in Charleston every year?
As long as we have unbalanced regions, we are going to have some teams reach the Elite Eight who might not belong there. And, as long as school administrators from around the state demand "regional representation" at the state tournament, you are going to have those unbalanced regionals.
Contact Jim Butta at firstname.lastname@example.org