College Basketball’s Top 20 Craziest Courts
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Typically, college basketball courts are very simple in design. But in the new age of exotic uniform combinations and football fields, some Division I basketball programs have turned their basketball courts into art canvases - for better or for worse. We count down the Top 20 Craziest.
The two-tone scheme in which the area below the three-point line is teak-colored (compared to the normal wood outside of it) and the basketball-shaped free throw circle may have had opponents shaking their heads in confusion.
We suppose it’s only a matter of time until Baylor switches the teak coloring to neon. Now that will be a sight…
19. Cal State Fullerton
Inspired by its California brethren at Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton gave its basketball court a palm-tree theme (to go along with mountains in the background).
While unoriginal, it looks sharp and reminds students and players why they picked the school in the first place.
18. Idaho State
Having not made it to the Big Dance since 1987, Idaho State must be satisfied for now with a court design that goes the extra mile in paying tribute to the school’s “Bengals” nickname - not to mention one that wouldn’t look out of place on an old Camaro.
Most of the court is teak-colored, but beneath the three-point line it switches to its regular color. Perhaps the trippiest element of it all is the free throw lanes, which are painted in with a tiger-stripe pattern.
Under head coach Bobby Hurley, the University of Buffalo’s men’s basketball team is definitely trying to play up its New York location.
At the center of the court is a giant silhouette of the state of New York. And unlike in years past, when the team was just referred to as “Buffalo” or “University of Buffalo,” the wording that runs over the silhouette proclaims the court as the home of “State University of New York Buffalo” with “New York” enlarged.
The Bulls are definitely in a “New York State of Mind.”
The 5,000-seat Tiger Arena has a cool and subtle reference to Towson’s nickname.
Look closely at the floor and you’ll see a series of tiger stripes embossed onto the playing surface, almost like a watermark, for a really nice finish. “We feel that our new court is a plus for recruiting because kids like things that are unique and cutting edge,” Towson coach Pat Skerry explained.
The rebranding of Cal athletics that began in April of 2013 included a noticeable update to the basketball court at Haas Pavilion.
Gone from midcourt is the staid script “Cal” that had stood there for many years. In its place is an enormous stained version of the more modern and fiercer-looking rendering of a bear that was revealed as part of the rebranding. The script “Cal” is now on either end of the floor inside the 3-point arcs.
14. Long Beach State
Anybody else staring at the court at Walter Pyramid in the mood for a Mai Tai like we are?
LBSU’s court features four sand-colored palm trees and “The Beach” written in surfer script painted at or around mid-court. The latter touch went along with the team’s unique jerseys (below picture) and also serves as a reminder of the school’s three-mile proximity from the ocean.
The court design is not only crazy, it’s also awesome. This is a surefire case of 49ers striking gold.
Like several teams, the Tigers’ court features a two-tone stain design. The lighter shade is used for the area inside the 3-point arcs (save the free throw lanes) and a cool Tiger head logo at midcourt.
We love the growling tiger that looks like it’s about to devour a point guard dribbling the ball across midcourt.
12. George Washington
Apparently the name “George Washington” wasn’t enough to remind opponents that the Colonials hail from our nation’s capital, so their home floor at the Charles E. Smith center does so with flying colors.
The court is covered with silhouettes of the U.S. Capitol, White House and the Washington Monument that sit below the interlocking “GW” logo at center court.
Following Memphis leaving it up to a fan vote to decide which of four designs would be used for the Tigers’ new home floor at FedEx Forum, more than 6,000 votes were cast (including one from Lost Lettermen).
Much to our delight, the “busiest” of the four options — one with a silhouette of the Memphis cityscape in the background and a rendering of the Hernando de Soto Bridge in the foreground — was the winner.
To quote the great Jimi Hendrix: “Purple haze all in my brain.”
Like Baylor and Idaho State before it on this list, Northwestern has a two-tone court. But it’s fair to say that the purple, wood-like design of the area below the three-point lines as well as the sidelines and baselines is even more out there.
The end result is an eye sore but let’s just be thankful that the Wildcats didn’t follow through on their August 2011 consideration of painting the entire court purple.
We would have never sipped on that purple drink.
UTEP basketball’s home floor at the Dom Haskins center is much like their excellent throwback uniforms: Eye-catching without being gaudy, as described by CBS’ Matt Norlander.
The Miners have two massive pickaxes embossed onto the floor; combined, they span the entire length of the court, baseline to baseline. Personally, we love the look.
Central Florida basketball is apparently trying to take its basketball program back to the streets, hence the “blacktop” themed court the Knights unveiled for the 2013-14 season.
We like the idea but the execution is lacking, as the court looks accidentally stained rather than blacktopped. Is it too much to ask for UCF to complete the look with chain nets?
7. Colorado State
If at any point in your visit to Moby Arena you forget what Colorado State’s nickname is, the court at the facility has a way of “ramming it” into your head.
A pair of ram’s horns, darker in color than the rest of the court, run symmetrically from center court so that it looks like the center circle there is wearing the horns. It’s somewhat odd in light of CSU’s ram logo already be painted at center court.
Is this supposed to be a quad-horned ram?
The Drexel Dragons have an unconventional nickname (the only other schools they share it with are a pair of Division II programs, Lane College and Minnesota State University Moorhead). As such, Drexel opted for an unconventional court. A very unconventional court straight out of Pete’s Dragon.
One’s eyes are immediately drawn to the old-timey, fire-breathing dragon nesting in a script “D” at center court of the Daskalakis Athletic Center. But if you look closer at the entire court, you’ll see the silhouette of an even bigger dragon breathing fire in the same direction as its smaller counterpart.
We’re trippin’ out, man….
5. San Jose State
There is now little doubt when one takes the floor at San Jose State’s Event Center that – to quote the 2006 film 300 – “this … is … Sparta!”
The Spartans’ home basketball floor got a massive makeover in preparation for their debut season as a member of the Mountain West Conference in 2013-14. A quintet of the fabled Greek heroes stand armed and ready below mid-court, with four of their shields spelling out “SJSU” and flanking the fifth shield with the athletic program’s logo.
FIU’s beach-themed basketball court makes you feel like you’re in a Corona commercial. Even crazier than the new basketball court are the courtside cabanas that FIU has at end of the court for fans to watch the game from, as if they are on South Beach at the Fontainebleau Hotel.
The whole thing is soooo Miami of them.
3. James Madison
Holy Duke Dog!
The Dukes were really proud of making the 2013 NCAA Tournament, earning a trip to the Big Dance for the first time in nearly two decades.
So how did the school celebrate this accomplishment? By changing its court to feature two massive Duke Dog mascot logos complete with a crown on its head.
Go big or go home, right JMU?
Among the floors on this list, Oregon’s is the most famous. That’s not a surprise in light of the bevy of football uniforms the Ducks unveil year after year.
Designed by longtime Nike VP of Creative Design Tinker Hatfield, the floor at Matthew Knight Arena — which even has a title, “Deep in the Woods” — is meant to honor the Oregon “Tall Firs” that won the inaugural 1939 NCAA basketball championship. If you look down on the court from above, it’s supposed to resemble looking straight up in a forest.
Most people, however, see it as “a mushroom trip gone horribly wrong.”
1. Cal State Bakersfield
Congratulations, Roadrunners of Cal State Bakersfield. Your home floor at the Icardo Center has the distinction of being the Boise State field of college basketball.
The Roadrunners were entering just their second year as a full Division I member (having previously been a Division II athletics program) when they made the floor switch in 2011. The floor is almost entirely dark blue with a gigantic outline of California and Roadrunner on it.
Is it us or does it look like Bakersfield plays basketball in a swimming pool?