D-II teams finally drawing someone their own size
Published: February 15, 2011
When the divisionally divided European basketball tournaments open next Wednesday in Mannheim, few teams will welcome the change more than the Division II schools of Regions I, II and III. They'll finally be getting a chance for a level playing field.
That's not the case during the regular season. The regional play concept — introduced in 2007 to reduce missed-school time and travel costs, and to enable athletes to perform before parents and friends by keeping them closer to home — means smaller schools routinely take on bigger, deeper teams, with a predictable degrading of their overall season records.
Going into Tuesday night's play, for example, the eight D-II schools in Regions I, II and III, had a combined overall record of 70-114 against all comers. The D-II boys in question were 41-53; the girls were 29-61.
AFNORTH's boys and girls are the success story of the eight. As the only D-II school in Region I, the boys are 9-3 and the girls 8-4 as of last weekend. But the regular-season schedules for the Lions and Lady Lions includes games against the region's three D-III schools, tiny Alconbury, Brussels and Menwith Hill.
Things are different in Regions II and III, where the seven remaining D-II schools of Germany are grouped against D-I powers such as Ramstein, Heidelberg, Kaiserslautern, Patch and Wiesbaden. Just two D-II boys teams, Bamberg and Hohenfels, and two D-II girls teams, Ansbach and Black Forest Academy, have been able to post winning records. Contrast that with the records of the six D-I schools in the two regions, where only the Vilseck boys have a losing record. All six D-I girls teams, on the other hand, are .500 or better.
The questions then become: Is it better for smaller schools to play better teams and thereby improve the quailty of their own skills? Or is it too discouraging to be so frequently outclassed by the big guys?
Conversely, does it degrade the skills of the bigger schools that frequently have to hold down the score against an outgunned opponent? Or can the use of substitutes improve team depth?
If you're a player, coach, parent or fan, let us know what you think. Are high school sports better or worse for the regional concept?