Commentary

Voting begins in Great State Debate

Updated: January 26, 2009, 4:23 PM ET
By Mark Tennis | ESPNRISE.com

Get out those shears …

Great State Debate

The results are in, and Indiana and Kentucky have made the cut and will advance into the Great State Debate.

Kentucky Greats

Indiana Greats
Highlights

More Great State Debate

The first vote in the ESPN RISE boys' basketball Great State Debate will fill the final two spots in the eight-state bracket and eliminate four states from the competition.

The six states on the chopping block are Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Two of those states will join six selected by ESPN RISE editors -- California, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania -- in the bracket. Last week, each state made its case. Here are the highlights:

Georgia: No. 1 NBA picks Dwight Howard and Kwame Brown, and current high school sensation Derrick Favors. … Atlanta coming on strong as one of the nation's top hoops cities. … "Sweet Georgia Brown" playing loudly as the Globetrotters do their show. More

[+] EnlargeChris Bosh
Vernon Bryant for ESPN RISEWill Chris Bosh and Texas make the cut?

Indiana: Small towns everywhere cramming into bandbox gymnasiums. … Baskets hung on the sides of barns. … The nation's No. 1 team in 2006. … Larry Legend, The Wizard of Westwood, The Big O. More / Highlights

Kentucky: Sweet 16 crowds of 16,000 to 20,000 people per night. … King Kelly Coleman and Wallace "Wah-Wah" Jones. … Adolph Rupp and other college coaches firing up the populace at all levels of the game. More

North Carolina: Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Pistol Pete and David Thompson defying gravity. … Intense rivalries everywhere, fueled by the ultimate rivalry in college basketball. More / Highlights

Texas: A young monster in the middle named Shaq. … The winningest coaches around, led by Robert Hughes. … The nation's No. 1 team in 2002, led by Chris Bosh. … Big crowds at the state finals in Austin. More / Highlights

Virginia: Some of the game's best big men ever, including Moses Malone, David Robinson, Ralph Sampson and one who just retired, Alonzo Mourning. … Oak Hill, a prep school in Mouth of Wilson that every other school in the nation tries to match. More

Will Texans show the same support for basketball that they've shown for football? Will the passionate support for basketball in Indiana translate into SportsNation votes? Will Michael Jordan's popularity carry the day for North Carolina?

Mark Tennis is the deputy sports editor of ESPNRISE.com.