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...

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