(1-25-23) The Indiana State Athletic Association (IHSAA) seems to think that the recent format change to the boys and girls basketball tournaments will bring ‘an infusion of hysteria‘.

First Format Change since 2002

Highlights of article

Since 1997-98, the IHSAA state tournament has adjusted with the times, shifting from a single-class to a four-classification event, and beginning in the 2022-23 postseason, the spectacle will once more get an infusion of hysteria.

On June 23, 2022, the IHSAA Executive Committee approved to change the annual boys’ and girls’ basketball state tournaments, following a 15-2 vote by the group of school principals and athletic directors to make the regional round a single game and the semi-state round a two-game format. Previously, the formats were reversed for regional and semi-state and had been that way since 2002.

The recent state tournament alteration, according to IHSAA Commissioner Paul Neidig, will not only potentially increase semi-state attendance but will also generate more statewide interest prior to the State Finals games at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Semi-State Drawing…is suppose to benefit the TV coverage…

On the Sunday following regional competition for both the girls and boys, the IHSAA will conduct an additional random draw and announce the semi-state pairings during a live broadcast on IHSAAtv.org.

The new in-tournament semi-state pairings shows will allot the IHSAA Champions Network an opportunity to highlight several of the advancing teams.

IHSAA Assistant Commissioner) Brian Lewis

“We draw the sectional, and we have already drawn what sectionals will face each other in the regionals, and you get two weeks through the tournament and then we have the opportunity to go on live television and almost reset.”.

“There are so many things we can do with it. I think those are ideas we can continue to talk about with our Champions Network. We can continue to build that show whether it’s bringing coaches in live, Zoom interviews, watch parties; there are a lot of things that can develop around this. We’re really excited to have another Sunday focused on high school basketball in Indiana.”

Ping Pong Balls

If the IHSAA really wants to adjust to the times (as the article states)…they will seed teams and dump the ping pong ball system of picking the tournament brackets. If the commissioner did a survey on the change of doing a one game regional and a two-game semi-state he can do a ping pong ball survey…right.

Tournament format survey results –

  • survey of principals, athletic directors and boys’ and girls’ coaches with 73.4 percent of those 781 respondents voting in favor of the change with at least 70 percent in all four groups approving

About the Draw – IHSAA
To conduct the random drawing for the girls basketball state tournament, the IHSAA places ping-pong balls representing each school in each sectional into a lottery-style air mix machine. A motorized fan in the bottom of the machine blows the balls around the inside of the transparent container and air then forces each ball up through a tube in random order.

For example, the first ball retrieved from the machine will be the visiting team in game one with the second ball representing the home team in game one. The third ball to come out is the visitor in game two and the fourth ball the home team in game two. That same method is followed through all 64 sectionals and 16 regionals.


  • Where is it listed in the by-laws of using ping pong balls in deciding tournament brackets?
  • What year was the first time it was used?
  • Why is it used?