Mapping March Madness in Illinois

A spaceship has landed in Champaign? No, it is the State Farm Center, formerly known as Assembly Hall, home of the IHSA State Finals from 1963-1995.

The Illinois High School Association are purveyors of America's Original March Madness, holding basketball state finals since 1908 (Peoria High was the first champion). The University of Illinois had a longstanding tradition of hosting the boys basketball tournament, and the Assembly Hall provided the backdrop of my first memories of watching March Madness on television, as well as the first time I attended in 1995.

Peoria won the bid on the next contract and Carver Arena and the Peoria Civic Center has been the site for the tournament since 1996. March Madness begins this week (It is still February, I know, but close) for these basketball teams (Class 1A and 2A; 3A and 4A start next week) to advance in the tourney and get to "State" in Peoria.

From my early days of following the tournament, I always took interest in the schools/towns/cities represented in the "Elite Eight", and immediately located them on a map.  I also contemplated the tournament structure and how teams were assigned and grouped together for postseason competition. The interest in the Who, the Where, the How, and the Why is the impetus for presenting the tournament information along with a map for the 2016 IHSA State Boys Basketball Tournament. These maps (one each for Class 1A and Class 2A) were created in ArcGIS Online, and the content is presented though Esri Story Maps applications, of which there are many templates to deliver rich content to a variety of audiences.

 Esri's Story Map Series-Side Accordion Layout

Esri's Story Map Series-Side Accordion Layout

I used the Story Map Series-Side Accordion Layout template for this application. The user has access to tournament schedules and scores (via either side panel text or map features), as well as other information pulled from the IHSA site, such as TV broadcast information, historical record books, or the IHSA Archives on YouTube.

Here are the links to the "Road to Peoria" Story Maps for the Class 1A and Class 2A IHSA State Boys Basketball Tournament for 2016.