MHSAA to switch skeds for tourneys

EAST LANSING — The boys’ and girls’ state basketball tournaments will switch schedules for the 2018-19 season, according to the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Representative Council which approved the change during its fall meeting Dec. 1.

Since the girls’ season moved from fall to winter in 2007-08, their semfinals and finals have been played first, with the boys’ semifinals and finals taking place the following week. Both have utitlized a format of semifinals on Thursday and Friday and all four finals on Saturday.

In March 2019, however, Michigan State University’s Breslin Center will not be available for the traditional boys’ championship weekend due to the possibility of the MSU women’s basketball program hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.

The Breslin Center is the only available arena in Michigan large enough to host the boys’ semifinals and finals. For that reason, the Council voted to switch the schedule so the boys’ tournament can finish in East Lansing during the weekend of March 14-16, 2019.

Girls’ semifinals and finals were also played at the Breslin Center the past several years, but will be moved to Calvin College’s Van Noord Arena in Grand Rapids for the 2017-18 season.

Championship weekend for the girls is set for March 21-23, 2019, also in Grand Rapids.

The switch for 2018-19 also includes a change of starting dates when practices may begin and the first games played.

Typically, practices for both begin in the first two weeks of November, with girls’ teams allowed to play their first games the Monday after Thanksgiving and the boys starting a week later.

In 2018-19, however, the first boys’ games will be played the Monday after Thanksgiving and the girls will start a week later. The boys’ district and regional tournaments will also take place a week earlier than the girls’ tourneys.

“Although it is not our preference to change schedules of events that continue to run smoothly, switching the girls’ and boys’ schedules in this way allows us to keep the current tournament format and traditions that help make these two of our most popular Finals every school year,” said MHSAA executive director John E. “Jack” Roberts. “This will keep the boys at the venue most capable of hosting them and the girls at a venue we’re excited to move to this season.”

Roberts also noted that the switch, at this time, will be only for the 2018-19 season. The current NCAA calendar would allow for the MHSAA girls’ and boys’ tournaments to move back to their traditional weekends with semifinals and finals played at a Division I college venue, although that is not decided. Other options will be examined during 2018.