The fight to hoist up a state championship trophy starts on Wednesday, but for #1 Fayetteville and #2 Bentonville, the journey to get to Hot Springs will begin a little later.
"I think it's good to have extra practices because I feel like we really need it," said Fayetteville guard Collin Cooper. "I think we'll do great though."
Starting out the tournament with a bye doesn't sit well for everyone.
"I hate it," mentioned Fayetteville coach Kyle Adams. "You get out of your routine. You're used to playing on Tuesday's and Friday's for the last six weeks and all of a sudden you don't play again until Friday."
"I think sometimes as a coach you like to play and keep playing. You're in a routine," added Bentonville coach Dick Rippee. "There's always some concern about that."
But when the top seeds finally get to play in the quarterfinals, they know what's on the line.
"It does mean more. Let's be honest," Coach Adams explained. "You don't want your season to end, so the kids understand the magnitude of what they're in."
"Obviously there's some added pressure," Coach Rippee added. "You know if you don't play well, there's not another game on our schedule."
Fayetteville hasn't won a state title since 2009, and Bentonville has never come out as champion. With defending champs North Little Rock and tough 6A-Central teams like Bryant in the mix, players know these games will be anything but a breeze.
"It's gonna be real tight," Bentonville guard Connor Deffebaugh predicted. "There's really not going to be any bad teams. Everybody in there is going to be good. Everybody in there has a chance to win the whole thing. It's going to be a dog fight the whole time."
You can find all state tournament brackets here.