Last season, Division I state tournament second-round games were scheduled to be at home. But two of them moved to neutral sites because the home venues were too small and others were also considered to move.
This year, there will be no debates: the CIAC mandated all second-round games will now be held at neutral sites. So the top 12 teams in the division will not get to play a home game because all will receive a first-round bye.
“The committee felt that it was unfair that some schools were allowed to play a second-round game in their own gym while others were forced to play in a neutral gym,” CIAC associate executive director Gregg Simon said. “You could have the number one seed playing in a neutral gym with no home-court advantage while the number four seed gets to play at home simply because they have a larger gym.”
The CIAC also has the right to move any state tournament game in any of the five divisions “to a neutral larger site for safety reasons and to allow all spectators to see the game,” according to the CIAC boys basketball packet.
Jon Carroll said it’s not ideal to have 10 days in between games 19 and 20 to complete the regular season schedule for the state’s No. 1 team, but maybe Sacred Heart could use some time to rest.
A NVL game against Naugatuck was originally schedule to be played this week, but the game was moved to Dec. 16 as part of the GHPA Spirit of Doc tournament held at Trinity College. So that left the Hearts with a big gap after last Friday’s win over Holy Cross and the finale Feb. 19 against Torrington.
“The only large gap I remember was between an early NVL tournament exit and the start of a state tournament one year,” Carroll said. “I told the guys we’d be doing boot camp, going back to basics. We may look around for a scrimmage just to get up and down against someone else. It will be a good time to try and put a couple of new things in.”
Carroll gave the Hearts off this past weekend and they won’t practice Saturday. The NVL tournament begins Feb. 23 and concludes Feb. 27. Then the Hearts will have a week off before their second-round game in the Division I tournament.