Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cowboys (Football) Stadium for Texas vs. UNC Hoops

The new Dallas Cowboys' football stadium hosted a college basketball game today between defending NCAA men's champion North Carolina and up-and-coming hoops power Texas. The court design was pretty conventional, as shown in this Houston Chronicle slide show. The Cowboys-style stars in the corners added a nice touch, though.

[Previously, I said the game was at Reliant Stadium, home to the NFL's Houston Texans. I have edited the posting to correct this error.]
***

On a separate matter, I noticed in some ESPN highlights of today's West Virginia at Cleveland State game that the Vikings have a pretty elaborate center-court logo. Here's a screen capture from ESPN360.com's archived video of the game.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Shellac Attack!


Here are two schools that use shellac in opposite ways to darken sections of their respective courts and set up a contrast with the lighter wood. Michigan's floor is predominantly light, but has a darker area between the key and the three-point arc. Alabama's is just the opposite: predominantly an enhanced shade of wood, with the area between the key and arc lighter than the rest.

Monday, December 7, 2009

PAC-10 on UCLA Pauley Pavilion Floor


Matt Rachmiel notified me about a "PAC-10" wordmark that appears new on the floor of UCLA's Pauley Pavilion. It'll be interesting to see if the wordmark is permanent, or was just used for the Kansas game in the Big 12-Pac 10 Hardwood Series. Here's the original source for the video capture.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Neat Center-Court Design from Texas High School

Via Matt Rachmiel: If you go to today's Uni Watch entry, then scroll down to "News Ticker," you'll see an item about the center-court decoration for the Kerrville Tivy High (Texas) Antlers. Click on the link there to see a very intriguing design.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Palestra: Penn's Classic Gym

Matt Rachmiel sent me a picture of himself (taken by Jeremy Fishman) from a recent game at the Palestra. Located on the University of Pennsylvania ("Penn") campus in Philadelphia, the Palestra is one of the classic arenas in college basketball. It hosts games not only of the host school, which is in the Ivy League, but also selected games involving other Philly schools who, along with Penn, make up a collective known as the Big 5. Having previously sported painted-in keys, the Palestra has switched in recent years to empty ones.
UPDATE: August 2013: I (Alan Reifman) recently had a chance to visit Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania. I took some photos on campus, including of the Palestra. These are available on my college-campuses website.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Original Allen Fieldhouse Center Court


Jeremy Boden, one of our Texas Tech graduate students, recently attended an academic conference at the University of Kansas (KU). While there, he took a bunch of photographs of the campus, including some in the school's athletic hall of fame. The latter houses a number of Jayhawk athletic artifacts, including the original center-court hardwood (above) from legendary Allen Fieldhouse, which opened in 1955. The KU court has featured a few different looks in recent decades, including one dominated by the cartoonish Jayhawk mascot (which is cute in its own right). Allen Fieldhouse, by the way, has recently undergone renovation to improve amenities for the fans.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament


I'm not crazy about how the circle at the top of the key was designed at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico, home of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off college basketball tournament (the screen capture is from the Dayton-Georgia Tech game, the larger set of highlights of which can be viewed here).

For one thing, many college courts no longer even depict the semi-circle inside the free-throw line (i.e., the key is a solid rectangle, as seen in this example), because the held-ball/alternating-possession rule has eliminated the possibility of a jump-ball in the free-throw circle. Also, I find a white free-throw stripe on a light wood floor hard to discern, sometimes.

On the other hand, the unusual key give the Puerto Rico court some uniqueness, which is sadly missing from a lot of other courts.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hall of Fame Showcase from St. Louis

Super-contributor Matt Rachmiel notified me about the funky court used a couple of nights ago in St. Louis for the Hall of Fame Showcase game between Louisville and Arkansas (a Kansas-Memphis rematch of the 2008 national championship game was also on the bill). I encourage readers to watch the highlight video from ESPN.com. I made the following screen capture to give everyone a preview (on which you can click to enlarge).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Welcome to the 2009-2010 Season!


With the NBA season a couple weeks old and college basketball heading into its first big weekend of play, I'd like to welcome everyone to another season of my Basketball Court Designs blog! I invite all visitors to add comments to any of the postings (or e-mail me via my Texas Tech faculty webpage at the top of the links column to the right) with any ideas, suggestions, or questions you have. If you discover a team that has a new court design this season, please let us know!

I am pictured above on the floor at Texas Tech's United Spirit Arena, by the giant Double-T center-court logo (photo by Michelle Flores). If you've taken photos of basketball courts, I'd be happy to post them, too.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Early Reports of College Court Changes

Sports uniform guru Paul Lukas, in previewing college basketball teams' new duds for the coming season, also alludes to a few floor changes. The specific passage, which appears down near the bottom of the linked article, is:

Several teams have new court designs, including Arizona..., East Tennessee State, Marshall, Minnesota..., Mississippi State, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech.

In Lukas's article, you can actually click on the school names and other links to see pictures and videos of the new court designs (hat tip: Matt Rachmiel).

I really enjoy seeing videos and slide shows of the court-design process, including the use of decals, stencils, and paint. Here's a clue about one of the aforementioned changes: Arizona will no longer have the McKale Center court adorned by the cactus logo.

Monday, October 26, 2009

2009-10 NBA Court Designs

Matt Rachmiel, a frequent contributor to this page, has provided the link to a page that depicts this upcoming season's court designs for all NBA teams.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Courts of Former NBA Teams: Baltimore Bullets


The modern-day Baltimore Bullets were an NBA team from 1963-1973, before moving 35 miles to the District of Columbia to become the Capital Bullets, Washington Bullets, and finally Washington Wizards (franchise history). Before changing cities, the team played at the Baltimore Civic Center (shown above), now known as the 1st Mariner Arena. The above photos are from screen captures I did off of YouTube; judging from the on-screen logos, the video appears to be from ABC's telecast of the 1971 NBA finals between the Bullets and the Milwaukee Bucks, from the vaults of NBA TV.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Courts of Former NBA Teams: Buffalo Braves

A new feature I'd like to introduce is the documentation of court designs for NBA teams that are no longer in existence (either because the franchise moved to a different city or went completely defunct). Today's inaugural ex-team is the Buffalo Braves (1970-1978), who later became the Clippers (first in San Diego, then in Los Angeles). The Braves played at the Memorial Auditorium (better known as "The Aud"), which was demolished only within the past year, even though the NHL Sabres had moved to a new arena in 1996.

The Braves' basketball court is depicted on the Buffalo Sports Museum website (pages 3 and 4). Buffalo does not have an official athletic shrine. Rather the "Museum" is a personal memorabilia collection -- a labor of love, really -- by lifelong Buffalo sports fan John Boutet.

As can be seen on the linked webpages, the Aud's court for the Braves was pretty basic, with solid blue keys and a midcourt logo on a solid circular white background.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

International Courts (FIBA U19 Men's)

Summer is the time for international basketball competitions, as each country's own leagues (the NBA and college ball in the U.S.) are out of season. One recently held event was the FIBA U19 (under 19 years old) Men's World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand. Below are some freeze-frame screen-captures from videos I found on YouTube (you can click on the photo montage to enlarge it).


The biggest difference from U.S. courts is the trapezoidal key, which is much wider at the baseline than at the free-throw line. Its purpose, presumably, is to reduce the role of big players, either in setting up offensively beside the key during the normal flow of play or when lining up as a defensive rebounder closest to the basket on free-throw attempts.

The circle at the top of the free-throw lane also has a distinctive look, compared to U.S. courts, with a logo painted in. It's difficult to see where the free-throw line is exactly, but there's probably a fine line that the players can follow.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shared WNBA-NBA Courts (Part 2)

Last time, we looked at cities where the WNBA and NBA teams play in the same arenas and have virtually identical court designs. Today, we'll look at cases where arenas have different floor designs -- to one extent or another -- for their WNBA and NBA tenants.

The first two we'll see (looking horizontally for the same city) are Phoenix and Washington. You can click on all the court photos to enlarge them.


Phoenix's U.S. Airways Center (shown on top) has my favorite system for the designs of the women's (Mercury) and men's (Suns) courts. The courts are pretty similar, except for the free-throw side-alleys of the key, which are purple for the Mercury and orange for the Suns. To me, it's a nice way of saying that this is the basic Phoenix court, but we want to distinguish the motifs for the two teams.

Washington, too, has a pretty similar court for its women's (Mystics) and men's (Wizards) teams. The blue color is dominant for both, but the variation in the painting scheme of the key lets each team have its own floor design.

The four remaining cities have more radically different designs for their respective women's and men's teams. In each case, there are solid-color keys that are different for the men and women. In order, the four cities we see in the following photos are Los Angeles, Atlanta, Indianapolis, and New York.


Starting with L.A., the women's team (Sparks) and men's team (Lakers) both have purple and gold as their dominant colors (a third team, the Clippers, play in the Staples Center, but the Lakers and Sparks go back together longer, to when they both played in the Forum). As can be seen, the keys for the Sparks are gold, whereas those for the Lakers are purple.

In Atlanta, the women's (Dream) and men's (Hawks) teams both have red and blue (of different shades) among their team colors. As with L.A., one of the major colors is used for the women's keys (red) and the other for the men's (blue).


Next the Indiana Fever (women's) and Pacers (men) both have blue and gold among their team colors, with the Fever also incorporating red. As with the two previous examples, each team has a different color for its keys -- the Fever's in gold, and the Pacers' in blue.

Finally, we have New York City's Madison Square Garden, home to the WNBA's Liberty and NBA's Knicks. Both teams have blue and orange as their basic team colors. The Knicks' keys are orange, but here, the Liberty's court designers got a little creative, combining light blue and royal blue in the keys.

To conclude this two-part entry, I would say that I dislike when an arena's two tenants have court designs that are either too similar or too different. Thus, I selected Phoenix as my favorite. Share your thoughts in the Comments area!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Shared WNBA-NBA Courts (Part 1)

The most prominent form of basketball at this time of year in the U.S. is the WNBA. Ten of the 13 WNBA teams play in the same arenas as the NBA teams in their respective home cities (the three exceptions are in Connecticut and Seattle, which don't have NBA teams, and in Chicago, where the WNBA's Sky plays at UIC Pavilion instead of the United Center).

Of the 10 situations where a WNBA team shares an arena with an NBA team, I find it of interest to look at how similar or different the floor designs are for the two teams. Each within-city pair has the same (or similar) team colors, so the potential is there for the WNBA and NBA floors to be extremely similar in many cities. As shown below, there appear to be four cities in which the WNBA and NBA floors are virtually identical, except for the center logo (and the three-point line). You can click on the photo montage to enlarge it.


From top to bottom:

*The floor at Detroit's Palace of Auburn Hills is the same, except for whether the Shock (WNBA) or Pistons (NBA) logo is at center court.

*The floor at San Antonio's AT&T Center is the same, except for whether the Silver Stars (WNBA) or Spurs (NBA) logo is at center court.

*The floor at Sacramento's Arco Arena is the same, except for whether the Kings (NBA) or Monarchs (WNBA) logo appears at midcourt.

*The floor at Minneapolis's Target Center is the same, except for whether the Lynx (WNBA) or Timberwolves (NBA) logo appears at midcourt.

One qualification to the claims made about the arenas listed above is that the photos and video screen-captures I was able to obtain on the web may not be from the most recent seasons. Thus, buildings that had near-identical WNBA and NBA floors at one time may no longer have such similar layouts.

In doing research for this posting, I was surprised to learn that one of the most historically successful WNBA franchises, the Houston Comets, had suspended operations for 2009. For what it's worth, the Toyota Center's hardwood for Comet games looks like it was very similar to the Rockets' court.

In upcoming postings, we'll look at arenas where the home city's WNBA and NBA teams have different court designs.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Special Court Design for NBA Finals

Now that the NBA finals match-up between the L.A. Lakers and Orlando Magic (set to begin next Thursday) is set, let's take a look at special floor designs for the finals. As seen in the montage below (which you may click to enlarge), the design for the last few years has been to have some type of large center-court image depicting the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.


Will the league do something different this year or continue with the trophy?

(Sources: here, here, and here; for videos, I froze the frame and then took screen captures.)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Finally Some Creativity -- Women's Final Four

I like the floor for the NCAA women's Final Four from St. Louis, with a huge arch superimposed over the entire court. Compared to the boring uniformity of the NCAA men's courts (as discussed in the threads below), the women's court reflects some imagination. With the opening semifinal between Louisville and Oklahoma having ended, I was able to get a screenshot from the archived video on ESPN360.com.


UPDATE: Here are the two courts asked for in the first comment, the "grapefruit" and "guitar" courts (sources: here and here).

Monday, March 30, 2009

Down Memory Lane at the Final Four

In this week leading up to the men's (and women's) Final Four extravaganza, I thought it would be fun to review previous courts designed specially for the Final Four. The NCAA has a number of two-minute highlight videos up on YouTube from previous Final Fours, each of which provides information on how to purchase the full-length version. I took screenshots of freeze-frames of selected NCAA men's championship games, for the purpose of studying the patterns of floor designs. You can find these highlight videos by going to YouTube and typing in key terms for a given year's final, such as: 1985 Villanova Georgetown.

The earliest case I could find of a major location-specific logo gracing center court was at the 1986 Final Four in Dallas, Texas. It is shown in the montage below (upper-left), which you can click on to enlarge.


In 1983, the University of New Mexico appears to have used its regular floor to host the Final Four, with the slight exception of a small circular NCAA logo in the middle of the center circle (upper- and center-right of montage). For the 50th Final Four in 1988, held in Kansas City, a special "50" logo was used (lower right). Finally, the lower left shows the 2001 floor, whose only distinction in my mind is its ugliness.

The last three years are shown below, giving us a pretty good idea of what this weekend's court is going to look like...



Thursday, March 26, 2009

NCAA Regionals -- More of the Same

I suspect that many of you, like me, were hoping that the second (regional) weekend of play in the NCAA men's tournament would feature some new floor designs, beyond last week's ubiquitous configuration of blue center-court blobs and blue semi-circles above the free-throw lines. If so, the courts on display tonight from Glendale, Arizona and from Boston are major disappointments. The NCAA at least could have featured a different color for each site!

The NCAA men's and women's tournaments are, of course, not the only Division I competitions taking place. There's also the NIT and Women's NIT. But that's not all. Third- and fourth-tier men's teams can also play in the College Basketball Invitational or CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

It was in the CBI that Wyoming's Adam Waddell did his famous flip-and-crash dunk that has been such a sensation on television and on the Internet. I don't know about you, but I think Wyoming's court, which appears in the video, is pretty sharp. I like the horse-and-cowboy logo at midcourt, plus the Mountain West Conference logo in the key.

UPDATE: The NCAA does have a pretty nice court in use -- for Division II. Unlike the D-I tourney where only the "Final Four" teams are brought to the concluding location, the D-II event brings together the last eight remaining teams in one venue to play the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals (Springfield, Mass., appears to be the permanent site for D-II). Here are some shots of the "Elite Eight" court.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

NCAA Tourney Open Thread

It looks like, at most, there will only be slight variation in the appearance of different first-round sites' floors for the NCAA men's tournament. In my viewing market of Lubbock, Texas, I first got a few minutes of the LSU-Butler contest from Greensboro, North Carolina. Then I was taken to the Texas A&M-BYU game from Philadelphia, which I think will be the primary game for my part of the country in this time slot. I'm also getting some cut-in to the Memphis-Cal State Northridge game in Kansas City.

All the courts have what appears to be an oversized blue circle at center court, with the letters "NCAA," similar to what's shown here.

At Greensboro, the rest of the court did not have any solid, painted-in areas except for the semi-circles above the free-throw lines (in blue). Same for Kansas City.

At Philly, it's pretty much the usual 76ers' floor (which already has a lot of blue), except for the NCAA circle at midcourt.

I have two immediate reactions: (a) for me, with court designs, variety is the spice of life, so I don't like the push for uniformity; and (b) given that there appears to be a single prototype design (as seen in Greensboro and Kansas City), I think it's ugly.

I invite those of you who get games from other tournament sites to describe the court designs you see, in the Comments section of the blog. And, by all means, let me know if you agree or disagree with my opinions.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

NIT Floors


The National Invitation Tournament (NIT) is now underway for teams that couldn't quite make the NCAA field. The only special floor decoration used at the campus sites for the early rounds appears to be the diamond-shaped logo placed diagonally off the center circle. As noted in the emblem, the semifinals and finals of the NIT will take place at New York City's Madison Square Garden.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

ACC Tournament Floor


The Atlantic Coast Conference's minimalist center-court is a refreshing change of pace. However, why did they have to insert large "ACC" initials both by the sidelines and in the keys? The conference has a nice logo, which it could have used in place of one of the "ACC" blocks.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Spectrum's "Final Floor"


The Spectrum in Philadelphia is coming down. It was completed in 1967 to house the NBA's 76ers and NHL's Flyers, which it did until 1996, when the larger and glitzier Wachovia Center (also known at various times as the CoreStates Center and First Union Center) opened a short distance away.

For another 13 years, the Spectrum has survived, hosting minor-league hockey, indoor soccer, and occasional college basketball games (including the Atlantic 10 tournament, as recently as 2002), among other things. But now, the Spectrum has reached the end of its run and will be demolished later this year as part of an entertainment development.

All this year, tribute is being paid to the Spectrum. As one example, the arena's history has been captured in a website called Remember the Spectrum (complete with online sales of Spectrum paraphernalia).

As a further nod to the Spectrum's basketball history, tonight the Sixers will come back to host the Chicago Bulls, for one last NBA game. Accordingly, I took some screen captures from YouTube videos of classic 76ers-Lakers moments of the early 1980s (see the top of this posting). As shown above, for much of its history, the Spectrum featured a center-court design that presented a simplified version of the visible color spectrum.

And via the Sports Uniform Watch blog, I found this article about how the 76ers commissioned a new basketball-court surface that will reproduce the old look, for tonight's game.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Big Yellow Taxi -- Big East Men's Floor


The center-court logo for the Big East men's tournament at Madison Square Garden has a cute touch with the New York City yellow taxicab. I wasn't sure how well the cab could be discerned from the screen capture of the court (from ESPN 360), so I provided another image of the logo, as well.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Big East Women's Floor


Matt R. stated in a comment on a previous thread that the Big East women's tournament had a "huge" center-court logo. Even the word "huge" is an understatement, like saying that Michael Phelps is a "good" swimmer. Also, does anyone know if the unusual depiction of the year 2009, with the "20" at 90 degrees to the "09," has some special meaning?

Monday, March 9, 2009

WCC & CAA: Really Big Logos!


Two conferences, the West Coast Conference (WCC; top photo) and the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) evidently wanted to make sure nobody missed the fact that these were the CHAMPIONSHIPS going on. The WCC logo appears to have been designed like a shimmering sign on the Las Vegas strip, in honor of this year's host city. The CAA logo in Richmond, Virginia, is only slightly less overwhelming, to me.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Conference Tournament Floors

We're currently in the early stages of conference-tournament mode in Division I NCAA men's and women's basketball. Three conferences -- the Atlantic Sun, Big South, and Ohio Valley -- are holding their men's championship games today. Other leagues are currently in the middle of their tournaments, while the rest -- mainly the major conferences -- won't be starting theirs for a few days.

The host cities of many conference tournaments create special floors for the occasion. Below are a few of my favorites; these are from previous years, so you won't necessarily see the same designs this year. I encourage readers to submit, via the Comments system, links to photos of whatever conferences' tournament floors you can find!

Let's start out with the Big 12. Whichever year the following photo was taken, the conference came up with a design that showcased all 12 schools' logos, in what I would say is a crisp, elegant fashion that does not overwhelm (source).


Next, we have the Big 10. This screenshot from what is currently the front page of the conference website shows how a full set of school logos can be depicted in more of an "artsy" way, via a pinwheel motif at center-court.


Finally, for now, we have the Missouri Valley Conference. The MVC tournament earns my accolades not so much for visual aesthetics, but rather for its clever play on words in relation to its permanent St. Louis home: Arch Madness!!! (This is a screen capture from a freeze-frame of a YouTube video, so it's not all that clear. My apologies.)


Again, it would be great if our little online community of basketball-floor aficionados could document as many conference-tournament designs as possible. Thus, if you discover any good online photos, please post the links via the Comments.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Major Makeover: Temple University

Besides West Virginia (entry below), another school that has toned down its basketball court design in recent years is Temple University in Philadelphia.


From a highly elaborate drawing in the two-point shooting areas emphasizing the Owl wing feathers (source), Temple has switched to a more traditional scheme with only the keys and center circle painted in (source). The latter features the university's unique "T" design.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Major Makeover: West Virginia


The West Virginia Mountaineers' court this year looks very different from how it's looked in the past. Gone are the blue painted-in two-point areas (with white lines resembling the black seams on a basketball) and empty keys. Now, the solid yellow rectangular keys represent the only coloration in the halfcourt areas. (The sources for these photos are here and here.)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Huge Center-Court Logos

This weekend's theme is the huge, outsized, ginormous, center-court logo. Not that many college or pro courts have such displays, but you know it when you see one. One of the best-known logos of this genre, if not the best known, resides at Syracuse University's Carrier Dome. I've put together a little montage of the orange "S" over the years.


The "S" has always been pretty large, although it looks to me like it's grown a little in its most recent incarnation. What really gives the court visual overload, in my opinion, is the insertion of the bold "SYRACUSE" above the "S" (instead of the "Syracuse University" off to the side of center-court). Another feature of the court that's varied over the years is the color of the key, which has been royal blue, dark blue, and now, orange. (The sources for the above photos are here, here, here, and here.)

By no means is Syracuse alone, however. Clemson's tiger paw takes up quite a bit of floor space. Nor does a school have to be in a major Division I conference such as the Big East or ACC to have a huge logo. Saginaw Valley State has this interesting Cardinal design. I don't know about you, but because it's only an outline, I don't find it as overwhelming as a fully painted-in logo would have been.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rachmiel on Court Designs (Part 3)

This is the third and final installment of Matt Rachmiel's comments on the schematic depictions that can be accessed at the heading "All NCAA Court Designs" in the links section to the right. Throughout this series, Matt has been identifying what he believes to be inaccuracies in these court depictions. For the conferences Matt has discussed earlier and to see his explanations of terminology, see Part 1 and Part 2 of the series. Here's the final set...

OHIO VALLEY CONFERENCE

Austin Peay: no blank center court; "Dave Loos Court" on court; conf logo at foul line, not on court; "NCAA" on one sideline
E. Illinois: conf logo at foul line, not in key
E. Kentucky: conf logo on court
Jacksonville St: conf logo, not "OVC" at foul line
Morehead St: large logo at center court; no paint; NCAA Basketball logo on court; no conf logo on court
Southeast Missouri St: parquet floor; "Show Me Center" on court; conf logo at foul line, not on court; "Southeast Missouri State" on sidelines, not on court
Tenn-Martin: "Pat Head Summit Court" on court; conf logo at foul line, not on court; no "UTM" at foul line; no logo on court; no blank baselines
Tenn St: half circle behind foul line only painted; conf logo on court, no "OVC" at foul line; volleyball lines; no blank baselines
Tenn Tech: large logo at center court; conf logo on court

PAC 10

Arizona St: There is a new design either this season or last season, with, I believe, "Ned Wulk Court" either on the court or on one sideline [Editor's note: Some online photos of the court are available here and here, but they're apparently too small to make out any fine print]
Stanford: My notes have volleyball lines on the court, but I believe they were recently removed
UCLA: "Nell & John Wooden Court" on court
USC: inverse painted; "Jim Sterkel Court" on court; "Galen Center" on one baseline
Washington: large logo at center court; conf logo in key
Washington St: parquet floor

PATRIOT LEAGUE

Bucknell: "Sojka Pavilion" on court; conf logo at foul line, not on baselines; no logo on court
Colgate: volleyball lines
Holy Cross: large logo on court; half circle behind foul line only painted; one blank baseline
Navy: parquet floor; "Dave Smalley Court" on court; no blank baselines

SEC

Alabama: "Crimson Tide" on court, not on sidelines; "SEC" at foul line, not on court
Arkansas: "SEC" at foul line, not on court
Auburn: "SEC" at foul line, not on court; "Auburn" on sidelines; no blank baselines
Florida: "SEC" on one sideline
LSU: key painted; "Cox Communications" on court; "SEC" at foul line; blank baselines; "Pete Maravich Assembly Center" on one sideline [Editor's note: LSU was on TV last night, hosting Florida; as shown in this photo, the key is no longer painted in, but the semi-circle above the free-throw line is filled in with yellow]
Ole Miss: no paint; conf logo in key, not on court; "The University of Mississippi" on one sideline
Miss St: "Mississippi State" on one sideline only, not both
S. Carolina: "University of South Carolina" on court; "Colonial Center" on court; no "Carolina" on sidelines

SOUTHERN CONFERENCE

Coll of Charleston: no paint; conf logo in key, not on court
Citadel: no blank baselines; no "Bulldogs" at foul line
Davidson: conf logo on baselines
Elon: conf logo on court, not at foul line
Furman: conf logo on court
Ga Southern: no paint; volleyball lines; "Georgia Southern" in key; no "Hanner Fieldhouse" on court
UNCG: logo on court
W Carolina: conf logo on court
Wofford: parquet floor

SOUTHLAND

Lamar: key painted; no "Southland" at foul line
ULM: large logo at center court; "Warhawks" on court; conf logo at foul line, no team logo at foul line; no "University of Louisiana" on sidelines; no blank baselines
McNeese St: conf logo on court, not at foul line; basketball at foul line; "Southland" at foul line; no "Cameron State Bank" on court
Nicholls St: "Colonels" on court; volleyball lines; conf logo in key, not at foul line
Northwestern St: key painted; flames from baseline; "Lady Demons" on court; conf logo at foul line; no blank baselines
SHSU: no paint; volleyball lines; no blank baselines
SE La: no paint; volleyball lines; "Southland" in key, no team logo in key
SFA: key painted; no "Southland" at foul line; "Stephen F. Austin State University" on sidelines
Texas-Arlington: "Southland" at foul line; "Texas Hall" on sidelines
UTSA: volleyball lines; conf logo under basket, not in key; "The University of Texas at San Antonio" on sidelines; no "UTSA Covocation Center" on court
Texas St: volleyball lines; conf logo in key, not at foul line

SWAC

Alabama A&M: "SWAC" on court
Alabama St: "Alabama State" on court; no "Hornets" on court; volleyball lines; NCAA Basketball logo at foul line; no blank baselines
Alcorn St: no blank baselines; no "Braves" on sidelines
UAPB: "UAPB" on court; conf logo at foul line; no blank baselines
Grambling: volleyball lines
Jackson St: parquet floor; conf logo on court
MVSU: key painted; logo on court; volleyball lines; no blank baselines
Prairie View: key painted; logo on court; conf logo on court; "NCAA" on court; no blank baselines
Southern: key and inverse painted; "Jaguars" on court; NCAA Basketball logo at foul line
Texas Southern: key painted; conf logo on court; no blank baselines

SUN BELT

UALR: "Jack Stephens Center" on court, not "Stephens Center"
Arkansas St: conf logo on court, not in key; no basketball at foul line; no "Indians" on court [note, the school changed its nickname to Red Wolves]
FIU: NCAA Basketball logo on court; no blank baselines
ULL: "Ragin' Cajuns" at foul line
New Orleans: no parquet floor; no logo on court; conf logo on court
North Texas: "Wells Fargo" on court; no "University of North Texas" on court
South Alabama: inverse painted; "Mitchell Center Mobile" on court; "University of South Alabama" on court; conf logo at foul line, not on court; blank baselines
Troy: basketball at foul line; no blank baselines; no conf logo in key

WCC

LMU: no paint; logo on court; "WCC" on court; volleyball lines; "Lions" on one sideline
Pepperdine: conf logo on court; no blank baselines
Portland: key and inverse painted; "University of Portland" on court; conf logo at foul line, not on court; "Chiles Center" on sidelines; no blank baselines
St Mary's: key painted; "Gaels" on court; conf logo at foul line, not on court
San Diego: "WCC" on court

WAC

Boise St: large logo at center court; inverse painted, no large logo in 2 point area; "Northwest Dodge Dealers" on court; logo in key
Fresno St: conf logo at foul line, not on court; no blank baselines
Hawaii: "WAC" on one sideline, not on court
Idaho: no "Northwest Dodge" on court
La Tech: Large logo at center court; multi-color key; "Karl Malone Court" on court; "Bulldogs" on court; conf logo at foul line, not on court; no "Louisiana Tech University" on sidelines
Nevada: "Nevada" on court; no "Wolf Pack", "AT&T" or "Lawlor Events Center" on court; "WAC" on sidelines
New Mexico St: "Lou Henson Court" on court; conf logo in key; no basketball at foul line; no blank baselines

That concludes my discrepancies between the courts shown in the video game link on your blog and the courts shown in College Hoops 2K8. Obviously, new Division I Independent teams remain to be commented upon, e.g. North Dakota, South Dakota, SIU-Edwardsville, etc.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Michigan State's Numerous Logos

While watching yesterday's Wisconsin at Michigan State men's game on TV, I noticed how MSU is able to include a large number of logos and word-marks on its court without -- in my opinion at least -- creating visual overload. As can be seen at this link (plus an additional link to "Photo Gallery"), the Breslin Center court displays the following:

"MICHIGAN STATE" along the baselines;

the word "SPARTANS" and the soldier logo in the keys;

a big "S" at center-court; and

the state outline, with the word "State" superimposed, in the upper-left and lower-right positions relative to the center circle.

One definition of the word "spartan" is: "simple, frugal, or austere." Not on this court, though!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

BracketBusters Court Logo

The last two days have seen the annual BracketBusters event in college basketball. Roughly 100 teams from "mid-major" conferences take a short break from league play, as they are paired off to each play a nonconference game. The aim is to give each participating team the opportunity for an additional quality win to help their prospects for getting into the NCAA tournament. Not surprisingly in this era of extensive court decoration, there is a BracketBusters logo, which appeared on the courts at these games.


(I did a screen-capture of a freeze-frame of ESPN.com's online highlights of the Utah State-St. Mary's game.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rachmiel on Court Designs (Part 2)

Guest contributor Matt Rachmiel has been reviewing the schematic depictions of NCAA Division I courts from an online compendium (available where it says "All NCAA Court Designs" in the links section to the right). Matt has been painstakingly examining the depictions and pointing out what appear to him to be inaccuracies. In Part 1, he summarized the conferences ranging alphabetically from America East to Big West (and also defined his terminology). Here's the next set of conferences:

COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION

Delaware: Logo on court; "Bob Carpenter Center" on court; key only painted
Drexel: Half circle behind foul line only painted; logo on court; volleyball lines
George Mason: "Mason Nation" on court
Georgia St.: volleyball lines; key painted
William & Mary: "Kaplan Arena" on court

CONFERENCE USA

Houston: logo on one sideline
Marshall: conf logo in key, not on court
SMU: key painted; "Moody Coliseum" on court; "Dallas, Texas" on court; conf logo at foul line; no "SMU" at foul line
So. Miss.: inverse painted; no "Golden Eagles" on sidelines
Tulane: no paint; "Tulane" on court; no logo on court; volleyball lines; conf logo in key
Tulsa: half circle behind foul line only painted
UCF: no paint
UTEP: key painted; conf logo at foul line, not in key

HORIZON LEAGUE

Cleveland St.: large logo at center court; conf logo at foul line; no basketball at foul line; "CSUVikings.com" on sidelines [note, this is a rarity among college courts and may be the only one; it is common among NBA courts]
Detroit: no "Callahan Hall" on baselines
UIC: parquet floor
Loyola (IL): logo on court; conf logo at foul line, not on court
UWM: no conf logo on court
Wright St.: painted key
Youngstown St.: no "Beeghly Center" on court; conf logo on baselines, thus no blank baselines

INDEPENDENTS [note, some of these teams have since joined conferences]

North Dakota St.: "Art & Norene Bunker Court" on court; Summit League logo at foul line
No. Colorado: key painted; large logo at center court; Big Sky logo at foul line; no "Northern Colorado" on sidelines
Savannah St.: blank center court; no paint; logo on court, but not at center court; volleyball lines; "Tiger Pride" on one sideline
South Dakota St.: Summit League logo at foul line
Texas Pan American: "IBC" on court; "NCAA" on court; volleyball lines; "Texas Pan American" on sidelines
Texas A&M CC: Inverse painted; NCAA Basketball logo on court; "American Bank Center" on one baseline, but not on court; "Islanders" on one sideline
Cal-Davis: key only painted; "Go Aggs!" on court; Big West logo on court; basketball at foul line; logo on one sideline
Utah Valley St.: inverse painted

IVY LEAGUE

Brown: entire 2 point area painted; logo in corners [such as at North Carolina]
Columbia: blank center court; logo on court; no blank baselines
Cornell: "Cornell" on court, conf logo on court
Dartmouth: conf logo on court
Harvard: blank baselines
Penn: conf logo on court; "Ivy League" on one baseline
Yale: large logo at center court; inverse painted; conf logo on court

METRO-ATLANTIC ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Canisius: "Canisius" on court [Editor's note: Going back to when I (Alan) lived in Buffalo in the nineties, Canisius has played an occasional game at HSBC Arena]
Fairfield: "Arena at Harbor Yards" [plural, not singular] on court
Iona: no paint; "Gaels" on court, not "Iona College"; conf logo in key, not on court
Loyola (MD): conf logo on court, not in key; "MAAC" at foul line; no basketball at foul line; no blank baselines
Manhattan: "MAAC" at foul line, not on court; no blank baselines
Marist: conf logo at foul line, not on court
Niagara: "Niagara University" on court; no "Gallagher Center" on court; conf logo on court
Rider: key painted; logo on court; conf logo at foul line; no "Rider University" on court
St. Peter's: no paint; no blank baselines; "Peacocks" and "Peahens" on court [note, another rare example where both the men's and women's teams' nicknames are on the court]
Siena: blank center court; "Siena" on court, but no logo on court; no "Pepsi Arena" on baselines

MID-CONTINENT CONFERENCE (now the SUMMIT LEAGUE)

Chicago St. (now an Independent): key painted; NCAA logo on court; no blank baselines
IUPUI: "The Jungle" on court; basketball at foul line; blank baselines
Oakland (Mich.): conf logo at foul line
Oral Roberts: conf logo at foul line; no "Mabee Center" on court
Southern Utah: blank center court; conf logo at foul line, not on court; "Southern Utah University" on sidelines
UMKC: "UMKC" on court; conf logo at foul line, not on court; "Kansas City Missouri" on baselines; "Municipal Arena" on sidelines; "Kansas City" on court
Valpo: Large logo at center court, not on court; no paint; conf logo at foul line; "Valparaiso" on sidelines
W. Illinois: parquet floor; conf logo on court

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

Ball St: blank center court; logo on court; no "Cardinals" on court; no conf logo in key; no "John E. Worthen Arena" on sidelines
C. Michigan: no paint; conf logo on sideline, not on court
E. Michigan: no paint; conf logo on court, not under basket; no basketball at foul line; no "NCAA" or "Eagles" on sidelines
Kent St: no paint; conf logo at foul line, not on court
NIU: "Convocation Center" on court; conf logo on court, not at foul line; logo at foul line
Ohio U: "The Convo" at foul line; no conf logo at foul line
Toledo: no paint; conf logo on court
W. Michigan: large logo at center court

MID-EASTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Coppin St: key painted; "MEAC Sports" at foul line; no blank baselines
Delaware St: inverse painted; "MEAC" on court; basketball at foul line; no "Delaware State University" on sidelines
FAMU: no blank center court; "MEAC Sports" on court; volleyball lines
Hampton: logo on court; no "Pirates" on court
UMES: volleyball lines
Morgan St: no paint; basketball at foul line; volleyball lines; no blank baselines
Norfolk St: no paint; "MEAC Sports" on court; no "NSU" on court; volleyball lines
NC A&T: [note, I have a different court altogether, but the court shown is most likely a recent change because it includes the name of the court on the court itself]
S Carolina St: "SC State" on court; volleyball lines; "MEAC" in key

MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE

Bradley: no "Peoria Civic Center" on court
Drake: logo on court; no "Drake" on court; no conf logo at foul line; "The Knapp Center" on baselines
Evansville: "Roberts Stadium" on court
Ill St: conf logo on court, not at foul line; "Redbird Arena" on sidelines
Ind St: "Hulman Center" on sidelines
Missouri St: "John Q. Hammons Student Center" on court; "Missouri State" on court; conf logo at foul line; no blank baselines
UNI: "Robert J. McCoy Court" on court; no logo on court; no "McLeod USA" on court; no "Northern Iowa" on sidelines
SIU: "Harry L. Crisp Sr. Court" on court [note, I saw this court on TV last week and didn't notice it, so it may have been removed]

MOUNTAIN WEST

Air Force: no paint; "Clune Arena" on court; conf logo at foul line, not on court; no blank baselines
BYU: key painted
New Mexico: no paint; "University of New Mexico" on court; "Bob King Court" on court
UNLV: no paint; no "Thomas & Mack Center" on court
Utah: conf logo on court, not at foul line
Wyoming: no blank center court; no paint; no logo on court; no blank baselines

NORTHEAST

CCSU: "Blue Devils" on court; no "Central Connecticut State University" on sidelines
FDU: no "Knights" on court
LIU: key painted; volleyball lines; conf logo in key; no blank baselines
Monmouth: conf logo in key, not at foul line
Mt St Mary's: inverse painted; "Coach Jim Phelan 1954-2003" on court
Quinnipiac: "Quinnipiac Bobcats" on court; "Lender Court" on court; no blank baselines
Robert Morris: no paint; volleyball lines; conf logo in key; no blank baselines; no www.rmu.edu on court
Sacred Heart: parquet floor; "Sacred Heart University" on court
St. Francis (NY): key painted; "Terriers" on court; no "Peter Aquilone Court" on court [note, the design shown may be a recent change]
St. Francis (PA): key painted; volleyball lines; conf logo in key; no blank baselines
Wagner: parquet floor

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Texas vs. Texas A&M Rivalry Logo

While watching the television broadcast of last night's Texas at Texas A&M men's basketball game, I noticed a logo on the floor that is only used for Longhorn-Aggie athletic contests. UT and A&M have given an official name to their rivalry, the Lone Star Showdown. Any time the two schools meet in any sport, the winner earns points that are added up across sports at the end of the academic year. In addition, a Lone Star Showdown logo is shown on the playing field/court for some (if not all) other sports, including football (the adjoining photo, from a previous year's Longhorn-Aggie hoops battle, is from the Wikipedia page on the Showdown, cropped to highlight the logo by the referee).

Even though I'm based in Big 12 country (I'm a faculty member at Texas Tech) and watch a lot of men's and women's conference basketball, I had not noticed the logo until last night.

Other schools have similar rivalries. For example, UCLA and USC have a competition known as the Lexus Gauntlet (South), whereas Stanford and Cal have a northern California version of the Gauntlet, as well. I also watch a lot of Pac-Ten hoops (UCLA is my undergraduate alma mater), and I don't recall ever seeing a basketball floor decal for one of these rivalry games.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Phoenix's Court for NBA All-Star Weekend


When an NBA team gets to host the all-star game and festivities, it will create a special floor for the occasion that is a more garish version, to some degree, of its usual floor. Shown above is what Phoenix has come up with this year. This court made its debut last night with the all-star rookies vs. sophomores game (I got this image from the shot tracker of the rookie-sophomore game, de-selecting the symbols for made and missed shots; actual photographs from the game are available here).

Below is a little collage I put together of the floors from recent years' all-star games (click on photos to enlarge). The 2007 event was held in Las Vegas, which doesn't have an NBA team, so there is no regular team court to compare it to. The host cities in the upper two photos are identified along the courts' baselines: New Orleans (2008) and Las Vegas. Lower-left is Houston (2006), whereas the lower-right is from Los Angeles (2004; the photo is from the rookie-soph game). The original sources for these photos are: N.O., L.V., Houston, and L.A.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Matt Rachmiel on TCB Schematic Court Images (Part 1)

Over in the links section, on the right, where it says "All NCAA Court Designs," you can access schematic depictions of all NCAA Division I courts from the video game Total College Basketball.

New Jersey lawyer Matt Rachmiel tracks floor designs like no one else, and in a series of guest postings, he'll point out discrepancies between the linked schematic images and how particular schools' courts really are (NOTE: The text and link above have been lightly edited to more accurately reflect Matt's professional practice). Here are Matt's comments for the first several conferences (alphabetically)...

Here is my first batch of what I think are inaccuracies with the court designs shown. Inverse painted means the key is not painted but the 2-point area surrounding it is painted. Words in quotes are wordmarks on the court.

AMERICA EAST CONFERENCE

Albany: painted key, not "inverse" painted; conference logo on court
Binghamton: the paint surrounding the court is green at one end and black at the other end
Boston U: no paint, not inverse painted; "The Roof" on court
Hartford: "Hartford" on one sideline
Maine: painted key; conference logo at foul line
New Hampshire: volleyball lines on court; "New Hampshire" on sidelines
Stony Brook: conference logo at foul line
Vermont: "Catamounts" on court; conference logo on court

ATLANTIC 10

Dayton: no paint; "National City" on court; "Blackburn Court" on baselines
Duquense: parquet floor
George Washington: large logo at center court; "Tex Silverman Court" on court; "The George Washington University" on court; conference logo at foul line
UMass: "Mullins Center" on court
Richmond: "Robins Center" on one sideline
St Bonaventure: "St. Bonaventure University" on court; conference logo in key; not blank baselines
St. Joseph's: "Saint Joseph's University" on court
St. Louis: "Scottrade Center" on court; conference logo at foul line; "Billikens" on one sideline [Editor's note: SLU now plays in the on-campus Chaifetz Arena]
Temple: "John Chaney Harry Litwack" at center court; "The Liacouras Center Temple University" on court; logo on baselines

ACC

Florida St.: "Florida State Seminoles" on court; blank baselines
Georgia Tech: large logo at center court
NC St.: Painted key
Wake Forest: "Winston Salem" on one sideline

ATLANTIC SUN

North Florida: Volleyball lines on court; conf logo at foul line
Stetson: "Glenn Wilkes Court" on court; volleyball lines on court
Campbell: no paint; no logo on court
FAU: conf logo at foul line
Gardner Webb: Blank center court; logo on court; no paint; volleyball lines on court; conf logo in key
Jacksonville: "Billy N. Nimnicht Court" on court; painted key
Kennessaw St.: logo on court; "Convocation Center" on court
Mercer: no logo on court

BIG EAST

Cincy: no paint; "Fifth Third Bank" on court; "Fifth Third Arena" on one sideline
DePaul: "Ray & Marge Meyer Court" on court; conf logo at foul line
G'Town: conf logo at foul line
Louisville: conf logo at foul line
Marquette: "Bradley Center" on court
Pitt: conf logo at foul line
Providence: "Dave Garitt Court" on baselines; "Dunkin' Donuts Center" on sidelines
Rutgers: "The RAC" on court; conf logo at foul line
St. John's: logo on court; "Lou Carnasecca" on court; conf logo at foul line; "Carnasecca Arena" on baselines
Seton Hall: no parquet court; "Prudential Center" on court
South Florida: "Sun Dome" on sidelines; no basketball at foul line
Syracuse: conf logo at foul line
Villanova: conf logo at foul line

BIG SKY

E. Wash: volleyball lines on court
Idaho St.: volleyball lines on court
Montana: painted key; "The University of Montana" on court; "Grizzlies" on court; conf logo on court; logo in key; "Dahlberg Arena" on baselines
Montana St.: "Murdoch's Ranch & Home Supply" on court
NAU: conf logo in key
Weber St.: no "Weber State University" on court; conf logo on court; logo on one sideline; painted key

BIG SOUTH

Charleston Southern: "Charleston Southern University" on court; conf logo at foul line
Coastal Carolina: multi-color key; volleyball lines; no blank baselines
High Point: no paint; volleyball lines; conf logo in key; no logo on court; no blank center court
Liberty: painted key; no "Liberty Flames" on court
UNC Asheville: conf logo on court; volleyball lines; painted key
Radford: no "Highlanders" on court
VMI: basketball at foul line; no "Cameron Hall" on court

BIG TEN

Michigan: has a new court design this year, either the key or the inverse is now painted [Editor's note: Here's a link; I'm a Michigan alumnus!]
Minnesota: "Cub" only on sideline

BIG TWELVE

Baylor: basketball at foul line
Nebraska: no conf logo on court
Ok. St.: painted key, no longer multi-colored key

BIG WEST

Cal Poly: "Cal Poly Mustangs" on court; conf logo at foul line, not on court
Cal St Fullerton: conf logo on court, not at foul line; volleyball lines; "Titans" at foul line
Cal St Northridge: volleyball lines; painted key; one blank baseline; "Cal State Northridge" on one sideline
Long Beach St: no paint; "The Pyramid Long Beach State Arena" on court
Pacific: volleyball lines
Cal-Irvine: "Bren Events Center" on court; conf logo at foul line, not on court; "Eater Nation" on one sideline; "UC Irvine" on one sideline
Cal-Riverside: painted key; volleyball lines; no blank baselines
UCSB: conf logo on court; no "Gauchos" on court

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Last October's Unveiling of the OKC Thunder's Floor

Last October, Doug Loudenback (aka "Doug Dawg") posted an extensive set of photos on his blog from the inaugural home game of the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder (formerly Seattle SuperSonics). The photos after the health spa ad with the female model, in particular, provide excellent views of the court. I've never been a fan of painting in the semicircle behind the free-throw line when the key is unpainted, but in this case, it looks decent.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Goldmine of College Court Designs

I just found a page where someone has posted the designs for all NCAA Division I courts circa 2006-07, as used in the video game Total College Basketball. I'll also add a permanent link (in the right-hand column) to the site with all the designs.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Charlotte Likes the Green!

The Charlotte 49ers, known previously as UNC Charlotte, have varied the look of their court in recent years, although in neither of the linked photos have they been stingy with the green paint! Here's one version, and here's another (the latter link leads to a slide show, so you need to advance to the sixth photo).

Monday, February 9, 2009

McArthur Court (U. Oregon): A Historical Look

Jeremy Brahm e-mailed me with links to some old photos of the center-court and free-throw/key areas in the University of Oregon's McArthur Court. I've visited "Mac Court" myself, so I thought this was an excellent opportunity to put together a description of the court's evolution over the decades.

The first photo in our sequence, provided by Jeremy, is of a 1960s-era UO men's team situated along the free-throw line, so most of the key is showing. As Jeremy asks seemingly in amazement, "How about the Donald Duck spinning a basketball on his finger for the University of Oregon?"

Next, also from Jeremy, is a team picture of the 1980-81 Lady Ducks at center court. Seeing this black-and-white photo leads me to recall that the color scheme was something like this PowerPoint image I just slapped together (I was an undergrad student at UCLA at the time, so I watched Pac-10 games from Oregon on TV fairly frequently):


Next is a picture I took myself, during a 2001 visit to Eugene. As can be seen (albeit fuzzily), the midcourt logo consists of a large O, with a duck marching through, and interlocked UO symbols are located to the lower-left and upper-right of the center circle.


Finally, the Ducks' present layout consists of a singular, bold O at midcourt, with "OREGON" shown immediately beneath it. It's the same kind of O that's used on the school's football helmets.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

To Use the State Shape or Not?

One decision a state university faces in decorating its basketball court is whether to use the shape of the state in the design, or not. I personally like depictions of the state, but some schools have gotten rid of them. The University of Tennessee is one such school (current on the left, old on the right).


(I found the photo of the current Tennessee court here, and the one of the old court here; I enlarged the old photo to emphasize the shape of Tennessee at mid-court.)

I'll try to find examples from other schools, to post in the future

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Double Three-Point Lines

A novel element of the court in U.S. college basketball this year is the presence of two three-point lines, as a result of the men's game moving its arc one foot behind the prior uniform men's/women's distance and the women not following suit (shown in this photo of Tennessee Lady Vols' coach Pat Summitt speaking on the floor following her 1,000th win).

Beyond whatever damage the double-arc feature does to the court's aesthetic appeal, it can also serve as a distraction or even a source of confusion to people watching a game. I don't know if this has actually happened yet, but conceivably a referee could award the wrong number of points on a shot if he or she momentarily forgets which line applies to the type of game -- men's or women's -- going on.

An article from earlier this season in Raleigh, North Carolina's News and Observer looks at the dual-line issue from the perspective of women's college teams in the area, as illustrated in the following quote:

"It's kind of confusing sometimes," N.C. State senior guard Shayla Fields said. "You look at the men's 3-point line and you look at our 3-point line and you just want to shoot from the men's because it's the line that's out there."

The obvious solution to all the complaints is to go back to a single three-point distance. Duke coach Joanne McCallie apparently favors using the closer distance for both men's and women's:

"It's a funny concept that here we are back with this men/women thing, especially since shooting percentages for men have been down. Like what are they doing backing up the line? That doesn't make any sense.

I would opt for applying the farther distance to both men and women. It's only one foot behind what had been in use for both sexes for many years, and many observers felt the old distance was no longer that challenging.

In reality, however, the new three-point distance for men this year does not seem to be having much impact on the game. Basketball analyst Ken Pomeroy is tracking men's three-point statistics this year compared to last and, as of today, this year's success rate behind the arc is only minimally lower than last year's (34.1% vs. 35.1%). The frequency of three-point attempts (as a percentage of all field-goal attempts) has only been affected slightly, as well.

As long as we're stuck with two lines, the best thing schools can do, in my opinion, is paint the men's and women's lines in clearly contrasting colors, as the above linked Tennessee photo illustrates.

[UPDATE: Someone has tactfully brought to my attention that, on any given court, the men's and women's arcs must be in different colors according to NCAA regulations.]

Friday, February 6, 2009

Introduction and Welcome to the Basketball Courts Blog

Welcome to my latest blog, devoted to the artistic design aspects of basketball courts. My focus will be on NBA and college courts in the United States, but if you know of any courts at other levels (e.g., international, high school) that look interesting to you -- in either a good or bad way -- please let me know.

I have been regularly attending basketball games and watching them on television since around 1970, when I was seven years old (although I believe the first game I attended was in the mid-1960s at the L.A. Sports Arena when I was very young). As we know, basketball court designs can range from ones as plain and simple as the one at Indiana University's Assembly Hall...


...to ones as colorful and busy as the one at Boise State's Taco Bell Arena (original source)...


Several issues have always fascinated me:

*Painted-in vs. empty keys (the latter makes a mockery of the term "points in the paint," but I think an empty key can look good in the right context).

*Three-point lines (or sometimes painted-in areas). This issue has been quite salient this year at the college level, now that the three-point distance is different for men's and women's.

*Mid-court logos (and specific to the college game, whether state universities include the shape of the state in the decor, as Indiana does).

*Naming of the court per se, often with the honoree's signature as part of the design, in an arena that has a different name. One example is Oklahoma State's "Eddie Sutton Court" at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

*Permanent vs. one-time court designs, the latter exemplified by NCAA tournament games or all-star games.

I expect to post quite often during basketball season, less so in the off-season. Please feel free to send me suggestions, comments, or questions via the comments section.

The basketball court (website) is now in session!