Champaign, IL (WCIA)
For the first time since 1995, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Boys’ State Basketball Tournament will take place at the State Farm Center in Champaign, March 10-12. Sixteen teams representing four classes will compete over sixteen games over three days, marking the first time the tournament has been held over a weekend since 1971. “We have been working on the return of IHSA Boys State Basketball for many years. , so to see it finally happened, it’s amazing,” exclaims Jayne DeLuce, President and CEO of Visit Champaign County. “Our community supporters, the University of “Illinois and the State Farm Center have helped us bring the tournament back to the rightful place of the championships. Their support will provide these student-athletes, their families and their fans with memories that will last a lifetime.”
“We are extremely excited about the return of America’s Original March Madness to Champaign-Urbana and the University of Illinois campus,” said Craig Anderson, Executive Director of IHSA. “I truly believe that high school student-athletes representing their communities as they compete alongside their classmates is the purest form of sport. To be able to bring that experience to IHSA schools in a renowned venue like State Farm Center while receiving incredible support from the CU community are the ingredients for a truly special experience I would urge anyone in the state who has never been to the IHSA Boys Basketball State Finals to consider to join us March 10-12 to celebrate the accomplishments of youth across the state.
The IHSA opened the basketball tournament bid after 25 years of playing in Peoria. Visit Champaign County, the University of Illinois Intercollegiate Athletics Division, the State Farm Center, the cities of Champaign and Urbana, and area municipalities and business leaders have joined forces to create a complete and convincing application file. COVID-19 has delayed the return of the tournament until 2022, when the three-year deal officially begins.
The tournament kicks off on Thursday, March 10 with semi-finals 1A at 10:00 a.m. and match two starting 30 minutes after the conclusion of match one. The 2A semi-finals begin at 2:30 p.m. and the second match begins 30 minutes later. The same schedule will be followed on Friday for games 3A and 4A. The championship games will all take place on Saturday March 12 from 11:00 am.
In addition to the Boys State Basketball Tournament, the IHSA-Special Olympics of Illinois (SOILL) Unified Basketball State Tournament and IHSA Wheelchair Basketball State Championships will be held at the Activity and Recreation Center. Recreation (ARC) on the University of Illinois campus. The Unified Basketball tournament will take place on Friday, March 11 starting at 1:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 12 starting at 9:00 a.m. The Wheelchair Basketball Tournament will take place on Saturday March 12 from 10:00 am. the games are free and open to the public.
“We are thrilled to provide state-of-the-art facilities for all of these awesome student-athletes,” says Mike Koon, Director of Sports, Events and Film for Visit Champaign County. “We work hard to make sure their experience in our community is top notch as soon as they arrive in town. From police escorts to the arena, to community hosts who will be their dedicated guide, teams will experience the hospitality our community is known for before even heading to court.
In addition to the fierce competition, fans will be treated to several amenities throughout the State Farm Center. For children present, they can participate in various activities at the ChambanaMoms.com KidsZone, located in the Orange Krush Club. Scheduled activities include face painting with Wild Style Design Company, Dan Wild caricatures, dance party with DJ Silkee, button making, BINGO scavenger hunt and photo ops. In the Traditions Club you will find the TechZone where the University of Illinois Innovation Studio & VR lab will offer 5-minute virtual reality experiences and the Illini eSports club will offer mini-games. On Fridays only, students will have the opportunity to visit the University of Illinois College Fair, where they can learn about admissions and programs for various colleges at the university.
In the Upper Lobby, fans can tour the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Historical Exhibit featuring memorabilia, historical information and other interesting visuals celebrating their 50th anniversary of service to the basketball community of our state.
There are no additional charges for any of the events beyond the tournament admission cost.
“We anticipate the tournament will bring over $4 million in economic benefits to the community,” Koon said. “From accommodations to restaurants and shops to the many services provided to create a hospitable environment, the tournament will support our local businesses, support our frontline hospitality staff and generate local taxes to reinvest in our communities. “
Tickets are available for purchase for individual sessions or for a season pass for 1A/2A or 3A/4A games at statefarmcenter.com or by calling 866-ILLINI-1. Details on the tournament and all surrounding activities can be found at legendsplayhere.com/ihsa-boys-basketball.