Officials with the Minnesota State High School League and coaches for boys’ and girls’ basketball weigh in on the idea of an NCAA-style tournament format for Class 4A.


The high school league

“There is a difference between what coaches want and administrators want. We have to do what we believe in. We want eight geographical regions represented in the state tournament.” — league Associate Director Bob Madison, liaison for football and boys’ basketball


“This proposal has been brought up numerous times. Our concern is that philosophically it doesn’t align with what we do.” — Associate Director Lisa Lissimore, liaison for girls’ basketball


The view from boys’ coaches

“Anyone who loves and appreciates high school basketball and fairness of competition should be in favor.” — St. Louis Park’s David Breitenbucher


“As one of the few outstate schools in Class 4A, I know I’m in the minority with this stance. I’m sure an overwhelming majority would be in favor of it ... and completely understand why. I even have several reasons why I would like to see it as well. However, I do have strong feelings as to the ‘why’ that I’m against it.” — Owatonna’s Josh Williams


“You’ll most likely have the top teams and players facing off most of the time, but you’ll also get that Cinderella situation once in awhile that would capture the imagination of the state and bring in some casual fans who wouldn’t normally attend.” — Eagan’s Kevin McKenzie


The view of girls’ coaches

“I’m fully in favor of moving to an NCAA-style tournament program. Under the MSHSL’S current model … not only does this format leave some deserving teams out of the tournament, but it also rewards lesser quality teams for winning a weak section only to be blown out in the quarterfinal round. The NCAA bracket would take away some traditional section rivalries and would likely make for more work by coaches on the scouting front. The better the state tournament would be overall would make our game better for everyone.” — Elk River’s Jeremy Digiovanni


“I’m against a straight 64-team tournament, but would be in favor of a Sweet 16 tournament.” — Rochester John Marshall’s Phil Schroeder


“I’m definitely in favor of the NCAA tourney style. We benefited from being in Section 1 for so many years.” — Lakeville North’s Shelly Clemons


“I would be in favor of a NCAA-style seeding as long as they can figure out a fair system of rankings/seedings. Since not everyone will be able to play the same strength of schedule and some conferences are much tougher than others the system of ranking would need to be pretty good. I don’t think the current QRF (Quality Results Formula) system is adequate. Something needs to change as it’s not fair for many teams now. Seeding 1-64 would allow the ebbs and flows of each season to naturally adjust. In addition, we would no longer need to worry about trying to fit section opponents into our schedule.” — Buffalo’s Grant Stewart


“I know the teams outside of the metro in general want the current system since it ensures one of them will make the state tournament, but if that team would get killed by teams that are losing in the finals and even the semifinals of other sections then I do not believe they deserve to be in the state tournament. The bottom line is that the MSHSL has to ask and answer the question of: Who should be in the state tournament? If we continue to use the current system, then we have to acknowledge that our first priority is NOT to have the best teams at state year in and year out. If we go to a 64 team field there will be much discussion on how to pick and seed those teams, so I get that going to that system brings a new array of issues but the current system does not allow for the best teams to compete at state. It is time to do something.” — Eden Prairie’s Ellen Wiese


“This (a seeded tournament) is what the coaches have wanted for a long time.” — Pat Barrett, league liaison for the girls’ basketball coaches association