The men's NCAA Final Four floor may have gotten all the attention this year, with a media blitz and even its own parade, but it's the basketball floor for the women's Final Four that turned heads for its innovative design.
The floor was in the spotlight last night in Denver's Pepsi Center, when Baylor triumphed over Notre Dame for the coveted crown. The portable maple court was stained to evoke the jagged, snow-capped-mountain landscape of its Colorado surroundings.
The design concept was hatched by Indianapolis-based Sport Graphics. Connor Sport Court International (Salt Lake City, Utah) built the flooring panels, while United Services Inc. (Idaho Falls, Idaho) applied the stain to make the mountains. "I think it turned out great, especially given the difficulty of working with stains," said Jeff Morton, director of marketing at Connor. A time-lapse video of the court's installation can be seen at the NCAA's website.
The floor echoes a trend for unique basketball floor designs and calls to mind two other unique NCAA courts HF covered in 2010 and 2011. The first is Kilkenny Floor at Oregon, home of the Ducks. A forest was painted on Oregon's floor, and then the entire court was stained with a "duck yellow" color.
The second is the court at Northwestern's Welsh-Ryan Arena. That court's design was chosen through a Facebook survey, and the interior of both three-point arcs and the court's perimeter line were stained purple.
Now that the 2012 edition of the Final Four is over, the question of what will happen to the floors comes to mind. Typically, Connor offers the winning team the opportunity to buy the floor, or the company may sell sections of the floor to the public. Sometimes, it takes the floor back to its factory and sands it down to use another time. As yet, neither Baylor nor Kentucky-which won the men's tournament-have confirmed they will take their respective championship floors.
Click the photos, courtesy of Connor Sport Court International, for larger versions.