Sunday, March 30, 2014

Why does the NCAA insist on playing every tournament game on the same boring floor?

This is Spokane, Washington. Can't you tell?
As I'm writing this, UConn is battling Michigan State for the chance to go to the Final Four.  The game is being played at Madison Square Garden, the world's most famous arena, and a building where Connecticut had some very memorable Big East Tournament moments over the years.  But you'd never know from watching on TV where this contest is taking place, because the NCAA imports the same generic court for every single tournament matchup.

What would the NCAA have to lose by using the orange and blue surface featuring the New York Knicks logo?  Don't worry, nobody is going to forget the name of the organization running the college hoops tournament (and they could easily just add their letters to the existing floor).  If the NCAA is worried about competing with the pros, trying to pretend the NBA doesn't exist probably isn't the way to go (and it's not only NBA courts, it's often logos of schools that represent the NCAA which are removed).  When the tourney came to Boston two years ago they managed to take all the character out of the TD Garden by even removing the championship banners from the rafters.

A better way for the NCAA to promote their product might be to make each and every tournament game as memorable possible; something that is definitely not accomplished by having all of them look exactly the same.

The NCAA made the switch away from using local floors in 2008, and I'm shocked they haven't yet realized the error of their ways.  Next weekend the Final Four will be played in Arlington, Texas.  I have absolutely no idea what that court would normally look like, and it's unfortunate that I won't get the opportunity to find out.



  1. When the Final Four was down here in Houston recently, there was a good-sized spread in the paper explaing the prescribed NCAA seating configuration for domed stadiums (or stadia, if you'd prefer).

    Reminds me of the school district administrators who wanted/expected to hear the same lesson coming out of each Freshman English classroom as they did their "cock-on-the-walk" routine down the hallway.

    1. Haha. Variety is good. Simple lesson for the NCAA...

  2. I miss the old days where each court had a different design. You could instantly know which site you were watching based on the court. Now, you have no idea until you see the teams playing, check your bracket, etc. Even worse, it's the SAME court, EVERY single year. They don't even switch it up to a "new" generic design.

    It's also nice when seeing classic games - the orange & blue court: UCLA/Missouri 1995, ISU/Hampton 2001, etc. That feeling will be lost, too.

    The unique courts add charm & familiarity with past tournaments.


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