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    State Tournament Upsets......Reasons?

    I have given some thought about why we often see upsets in the playoffs, and in particular, in the state tournament.  In this regard, I have broken down some reasons and assigned points for each item listed.

    Been There, Done That

    It is rare that a team advances to the state tournament for the first time, and wins it all. The first time a team gets to the state tournament, particularly to the championship semifinals, the diameter of the hoop seems smaller, the court la bit longer and the opposing team seems taller than they really are.  Players, particularly seniors, who have experienced this the year before react much better to these conditions. Seasoned leadership is a huge x-factor in state tournaments.   Add +2 points per game for a team with this quality.

    Home Cooking

    There is nothing better than to have experience playing on the court of the state tournament.  So those girls teams that have played previously in Brookings/Watertown/ Huron and the boys teams who have played in RC/SF/Aberdabber have a leg up. Consider, for example, the STM Cavalier boys.  If the male Cavs beat Custer they will have played four games on the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center floor this season, while their first round opponent will have traveled a long way to experience the Plaza for the first time. Throw in the daily routine of momma’s home cooking and a bed in familiar surroundings and the advantage starts to become clear. Add +1 point per game for a team that has experience playing on the court and +2 points for teams that are eating momma’s home cooking.

    Playing on a ‘Big Stage’

    See the ‘been there, done that’ item above.  The next best thing to having played in a state tournament previously is having played on a big stage in a marquee matchup, for example, at the Schoolers Classic or at the Hanson Classic.  Those events are the next best thing to state tournament experience. Add +1 point for those teams having played during the regular season on a ‘Big Stage’.

    Go East (or West) Young Man (or Woman)

    Of course traveling takes its toll on teams, particularly n the first round game. Little things like the hour time change can through the team off a bit, particularly if they are playing ‘out west’ in the nightcap game. Add +1 point for playing in the team’s normal time zone.

    Defense Wins ‘Ships

    State tournament games are often much lower scoring than during the regular season. There are many reasons for this, including teams and coaches getting conservative in their game plan and referees calling games much closer during the regular season.  Bottom line is that those teams that are used to low scoring affairs, call them defensive minded teams, tend to react to this situations better than those that tended to be more wide open on offense during the regular season.  Add +2 points for defensive focused teams per game.

    Point Guard Preference

    This one I picked up from none other than Jackalope, the true value of a point guard is often most fully realized during state tournament play. Why is this often the case? To me this one remains a bit of a quandary, but I hold it to be true as I have seen a point guard like Adam Peterka from Miller dominate games in ways in state tournaments unlike they would under similar circumstances in the regular season.  Add +1 point per game for a team with a quality point guard.

    So what do you think about my list and point distribution? Can you add to the list or refine it? 


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