If you ask the Madison Lady Bulldogs whether the Sweet 16 format is good for Class A volleyball, they would say "Yes" without hesitation.
For the past few years, Madison has run into a buzz-saw called Sioux Falls Christian. The Chargers have been one of the best teams in Class A for a number of years, and Madison and SFC are in the same region. Up until this season, only one team from each region would advance to the State Tournament.
This season, the Class A teams have gone to a Sweet 16 format with the top two teams of the region moving on to be one match away from the State Tournament.
Only two regions (3 and 5) will be represented at the State A Tournament in Watertown with two teams each. From Region 3, Madison and Sioux Falls Christian both made it; from Region 5, Bon Homme and West Central both qualified.
Now, have you been doing the math? Two regions have two teams in the State Tournament. That means these two regions have half of the teams. That means there are only four spots left with six regions; two regions will not be represented.
Getting one team in were Region 1, 2, 4 and 6 (Milbank Area, Sioux Valley, Dakota Valley and Mobridge-Pollock).
Regions 7 and 8 have no team in the tournament this season. Ask them about the Sweet 16 format and they might not be filled with the joy like Regions 3 and 5.
However, this should bring the best eight teams together to make the State Tournament a quality tournament.
By the way, Madison is the seventh seed in the State Tournament and, of course, plays Sioux Falls Christian in the first round. So the Lady Bulldogs will still need to get past the Chargers to win the State Tournament.