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The substate and district pairings for Class 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A have all been released in anticipation of what should be an entertaining postseason for boys' basketball. The 21 area schools in North Iowa have been dispersed among eight different substates and districts, and although we're waiting for particular seedings and first-round matchups to be released, we have a big-picture look at how and when the postseason will unfold.

The Iowa High School Athletic Union has a 19-page postseason manual detailing key dates, rules, and other various stipulations. After drudging through nearly 20 pages of terminology and information, I've narrowed some important information as you prepare for the postseason. We'll also release a girls' version of this after the 4A pairings are released. For now, here's a look at dates to circle on your calendar, as well as some interesting facts and odd rules. 

District and substate play

Class 1A and 2A are divided into districts, while 3A and 4A are separated into substates. Here's a summary of the similarities and differences among those classes.

  • 1A: Sixteen districts with nine or 10 teams in each.
  • 2A: Sixteen districts with six teams in each
  • 3A: Eight substates with eight teams in each
  • 4A: Eight substates with six teams in each

In Class 2A and 4A, the top two seeds in each district or substate have a first-round bye. 

Eight teams from each class advance to the 2019 Iowa Boys State High School Basketball Tournament, so the eight substate winners in Class 3A and 4A book their tickets to Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. 

However, winning the district won't be enough in Class 1A and 2A. Each district winner will have to defeat a fellow district champ before advancing to the state tournament.

Key dates

Feb. 11: 2A first-round games

Feb. 14: 1A first-round games; 2A semifinals

Feb. 18: 3A first-round games; 4A first-round games

Feb. 19: 1A semifinals; 2A district finals

Feb. 21: 1A district finals; 3A semfinals

Feb. 22: 4A semifinals

Feb. 23: 1A state-qualifying games; 2A state-qualifying games

Feb. 25: 3A state-qualifying games

Feb. 26: 4A state-qualifying games

The state tournament, held at Wells Fargo Arena, begins March 4. All four championship games will be played March 8, with the 1A championship beginning at 2:10 p.m. The final game of the night, the Class 4A championship, starts at 8:35 p.m. 

Interesting information

A bevy of interesting information is buried in the 19-page manual provided by the IHSAA. Here are some noteworthy rules, among other observations.

Seating capacity: Schools hosting district and substate tournaments have different minimum capacity for postseason games. Class 1A must provide seating for 800 people. Class 2A (1,000), Class 3A (1,200) and Class 4A (1,400) follow. 

Pregame practice: Teams hosting a district or substate tournament might have homecourt advantage, but they won't have the luxury of practicing on their court before their opponents on game day. Neither team is allowed to warm up or practice on the court until 35 minutes prior to the start of the game. Violators of this practice rule will be automatically eliminated. 

Teams wishing to practice in a secondary or an auxiliary gym in the same school are out of luck, as well. Those areas will be declared off-limits to all schools 90 minutes before the game begins. 

Prohibited procedures: Several aspects of regular-season games won't be permitted during IHSAA-sponsored postseason events, including the following: prayer, dimming of lights or the use of music during starting lineup introductions (with the exception of neutral-site games), fan-made signs, and pregame or halftime entertainment. 

Video-sharing: Coaches of teams that advance to the state tournament are required to furnish videos of three games from the current season. If the coaches are unable to come to an agreement on which videos will be exchanged, they'll be required to trade videos from their previous three postseason games (Class 1A, 2A and 3A). Class 4A coaches must provide their substate final and semifinal footage, as well as footage from one of their final five regular-season games.

Money matters

Tickets to the first couple of rounds during district or substate play will run you $6. Admission to district and substate finals will cost $8, and tickets in Des Moines are $10. 

Schools traveling to Des Moines for the state tournament will be reimbursed $1.85 per mile, one way, on their most direct route for each trip, including $50 for miscellaneous expenses. 

Schools traveling fewer than 100 miles will receive an allowance of $10 per traveling person, and $20 for schools traveling more than 100 miles. 

Schools traveling more than 100 miles that also need lodging will be given $20 per traveler (up to the allotted 25 players, coaches, cheerleaders, trainers and a bus driver). 

Schools hosting substate or district tournaments receive 23 percent of the aggregate gross receipts up to receipts of $5,000. Schools receive 10 percent once the $5,000-mark is reached. Host schools will be paid a minimum of $200. 

Finally, postseason action has a certified ball that must be used: a wide-channel Spalding Legacy basketball. Schools will have $30 deducted for the purchase and use of the ball, which will become property of said school after the conclusion of the tournament. If that basketball is not used for the games, the host school forfeits all remuneration expenses it received for hosting the tournament. 

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Reach Sports Reporter Luke A. Garza at 641-421-0540 or follow him on Twitter @LukeAGarza

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