IHSA boys basketball state finals moving back to Champaign

The IHSA boys high school basketball state finals are moving back to where it called home for 76 years. After spending the last 25 years being held in Carver Arena at the Peoria Civic Center, the IHSA board of directors voted to accept the Champaign-Urbana bid to host at the State Farm Center. The state finals had been held at what was Assembly Hall on the University of Illinois campus from 1919 until 1995. “We spent a great deal of time in Peoria,” said Craig Anderson, IHSA Executive Director. “We’re transitioning the format of the tournament. (With games being played) to a single weekend – three days. And the things Champaign-Urbana have done, along with the renovations to State Farm Center, really I think tipped it to that direction to have the board move it to Champaign-Urbana.” The board voted to keep the girls’ finals at Redbird Arena on the Illinois State University campus in Bloomington-Normal. The format change includes a day of champions with the girls and boys state finals in all four enrollment classes being played as part of a three-day weekend. The girls will play March 4th through the 6th, the boys will play March 11th through the 13th. The girls and boys finals before were played over four consecutive weekends only on Fridays and Saturdays. Anderson says the March Madness Experience which was a volunteer-lead fan festival inside the Peoria Civic Center “can’t be duplicated” because it’s “definitely unique to Peoria.” But a tailored version of the Experience will most likely come to Champaign.