Thoughts on CIF hoop finals at Cal

Yikes, the first images of having to go to UC Berkeley’s Haas Pavilion for next season’s CIF state basketball championships is of driving around in a daze wondering where to park the car.

The CIF had to find a venue for next season because Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento will be one of the four regional final sites for the 2015 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championships. Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena (which hosts the CIF wrestling state finals) was used the last time an NCAA event conflicted with the CIF state finals and let’s just say attendance was not very good.

At Cal, all it took was a quick search of the school’s academic calendar to discover why the parking nightmares that often come with any trip to Berkeley won’t be that bad. From March 23 to March 27, it will be spring break. School won’t be in session until Monday, March 31. If there are 50,000 people who can get to a Cal football game without school being in session on Saturday, it should be at least tolerable for far fewer people trying to get to Haas Pavilion. Using BART and other forms of public transportation also is an option, although for fans not from the East Bay wanting to see just their school play for 90 minutes might think twice about all the effort that would be required.

I’ve always said the CIF state basketball finals when they were in Oakland were the best. The odds of multiple East Bay teams being in a state final are always great compared to the rest of Northern California and the East Bay fans seemed to always get more pumped up to see a phenom from Southern California that they’ve never seen compared to fans from Sacramento.

The CIF would never admit it, but having the 2015 state finals in Berkeley makes sense because one of the nation’s top players for 2015 will be playing a few miles away at Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland. And if Ivan Rabb, Paris Austin and the rest of the expected top returning players for the Dragons happen to be in the Open Division final once again, it will be good for the CIF. The Bishop O’Dowd girls also will be great in 2015 as will the Miramonte of Orinda girls. Miramonte is just over the hill from Berkeley.

Sleep Train Arena is Sacramento will once again host the CIF basketball finals at the conclusion of the 2016 season.

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