March Madness is upon us, and yesterday certainly was crazy in the world of Men’s College Basketball. Iowa State getting upset by University of Alabama – Birmingham probably had many people tearing up their brackets. And it seemed like every other game yesterday came down to the wire – none more exciting than Georgia State’s unbelievable win over Baylor. From our perspective it is interesting to think that millions of people will be watching these incredibly exciting basketball games this month, and while doing so they will also be staring at some of the finest hardwood flooring in the country. Basketball courts have always been some of the best examples of hardwood flooring, and more recently teams and organizations have seen the court not just as a sports floor but as an effective marketing tool.
Back in 1891 when Dr. James Naismith invented the game of basketball at Springfield College in Massachusetts he used peach buckets for hoops and did not list any specific dimensions for the court in his original 13 rules of the game. Today, the NCAA Men’s Basketball courts that you will see measure 50′ wide, by 94′ long (4,700 sqft). However, most basketball courts include a lot more wood flooring around the perimeter of the playing boundaries. This year’s Final Four Men’s Basketball court will measure a total of 70′ wide, by 140′ long (9,800 sqft). Courts are typically made from maple flooring, and finished with a specialized urethane coating that gives the players the right amount of friction to play with.
With the court being so prominent in televised broadcasts of college basketball games it has become a favorite way for teams to market their school’s brand. The best example of this is the University of Oregon’s stunning court in the Matthew Knight Arena which uses stain instead of paint to create a visual of a tall stand of fir trees. A nod to the university’s beautiful Pacific Northwest setting, and their 1939 National Championship team which was nicknamed “The Tall Firs.”
A lot of effort goes into creating these sports floors for various college and pro teams and tournaments around the world. For the NCAA basketball tournament, the NCAA owns special courts that are able to be broken down and shipped across the country for the various regional tournament sites. These floors are custom-made and branded with the NCAA logo at center court, and are re-used each year until they need to be replaced. For the Final Four and Championship games, the floor is made special each year.
Connor Sports is the Official Court of the NCAA, and specializes in manufacturing basketball courts around the world. Connor Sports spends time to actually choose the Northern Rock maple trees from Wisconsin that will be cut down each year for the Final Four court, and even takes the floor on a tour of the country before the final games are played. After the final game, the court is typically offered for sale to the winning team and sometimes is cut up into hundreds of pieces to be used as gifts or auction items for supporters of the school.
As you watch college basketball this month, take note of the beautiful maple hardwood courts that will be the backdrop of so much excitement – and heartbreak – for countless players, coaches and fans. This is definitely college basketball’s and hardwood flooring’s prime time of the year.