IHSA State Championship returning to Champaign

State Farm Center Illinois Men’s Basketball vs. Maryland in Champaign, Illinois.

By: Alec Busse

For the first time since 1995, the IHSA boys basketball state championship will be in Champaign at the State Fram Center.

Starting on Thursday and going through Saturday, there are 16 teams competing across 16 games to determine the first, second, third and fourth place teams across the four classes. It is the first time since 1971, that the IHSA is holding the event over the course of two days, instead of four. IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said, “we are incredibly excited and that goes from our IHSA staff, member schools, board of directors and I think ideally those who have qualified to play at the State Farm Center.”

Since 1995, the State Championship has been held in Peoria, Ill., on the campus of Bradley University at Carver Arena. But Champaign was able to win the most recent bid for the event, and the renovated State Farm Center was an attractive piece in bringing the event back to Champaign. The IHSA has already seen an increase in ticket sales in comparison to the most recent state championship, which was held all the way back in 2019. There were no state playoffs in 2020 or 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s all part of what we hoped would happen with there being some renewed excitement with us returning to a place we haven’t been in a while, all the changes of State Farm Center since the last time we were there 26 years ago. All those things, we thought would lead to an excitement that would lead to an increased fanbase, as well as our school fan base. We are hearing great things on ticket sales.”

“Last year was supposed to be at the State Farm Center, but we couldn’t conduct a state final last year,” Anderson said. “We are just excited for the opportunity to be back in Champaign, but we know the people in and around the Champaign community, the university are excited to host us. We are looking forward to a great weekend.”