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With Lincoln arena unavailable in early March, boys and girls state hoops tourneys will coincide in 2022
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With Lincoln arena unavailable in early March, boys and girls state hoops tourneys will coincide in 2022

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York vs. Norris, 3.5

Norris and York warm upΒ during a Class B girls state tournament semifinal game on March 5 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Much like it did this year, March Madness β€” the high school kind β€” will look drastically different in 2022.

Get ready for six consecutive days of big shots, pep bands and emotional highs.

The NSAA announced Wednesday that the boys and girls state basketball tournaments will, for the first time, coincide during the same week (March 7-12) next year.

For years, the girls state tournament has run during the first weekend of March, and the boys played the following week.

But Pinnacle Bank Arena, the premier stage for the tournament, will not be available during the first weekend of March 2022 because it will be hosting the Big Ten wrestling championships.

"We've kind of known about this for a while," said Jon Dolliver, who oversees basketball for the NSAA. "We felt like this was something that was positive for them and for us to be able to try something different after this year."

Dolliver said the NSAA is still working out details on what a weeklong tournament schedule will look like. Those details will likely be ironed out and voted on during the NSAA's May board meeting. A possible scenario is following a Monday-Wednesday-Friday and Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday format.

What is known is Pinnacle Bank Arena will host the 12 state championship games on Friday (March 11) and Saturday (March 12) of that week, and NET will broadcast them all.

"A big piece of this was us getting on television that Friday, and NET is going to come through for us," Dolliver said.

Like it did before the 2021 state tournaments, the NSAA will utilize Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Devaney Sports Center and two high school sites for the 2022 tournament. The semifinals will take place at Devaney and PBA.

The Devaney Sports Center was not available for this year's tournaments after Nebraska's volleyball season was moved to the spring. That forced the NSAA to adjust on the fly and each tournament was expanded from the normal three days to five.

The change received positive reviews. The expanded format put more games in Pinnacle Bank Arena and gave the smaller classes a bigger spotlight.

Now the NSAA looks to make the most out of a six-day event.

"It is going to be a challenge because we have six days of basketball, and it will be a lot at once, but we're looking at it in a positive way," Dolliver said. "It will be something unique in ’22 and we'll try to make the most of a situation kind of like what we did this year, which we found some positivity in."

Dolliver said the state tournament change will also lead to modifications in the district and subdistrict schedules, especially for the girls, who essentially get an extra week added to their seasons.

For example, the Class B district finals, which take place nearly two weeks before the start of state, will likely need to be adjusted.

"We'll look at the back end of that postseason tournament and have to make adjustments, because we don't want teams off for two or three weeks before they play in the state tournament," Dolliver said.

Reach Clark Grell at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter at @LJSSportsGrell.

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