Despite this year’s lack of buzzer beaters, I’m a sucker for the NCAA basketball tournament. Cinderellas, upsets, March Madness, Capital One, all that. I don’t think my Mom ever realized I would always have to stay home sick from school around the third Thursday of March (sorry, Mom). During the three weeks of the tournament 63 games (add 4 for the new play-in round, or whatever they’re calling it now) are played at 13 different venues. However, starting in 2009 you would think they are all playing in the same arena. That’s because the NCAA has rolled out a standard, featureless court at every tournament venue. From Portland to Grensboro, Phoenix to Boston, its black and blue and boredom.
Never will we be able to feast our eyes on anything similar to Tyus Edney going coast to coast on the rainbow’ed court of Boise State University or the 15 point comeback by U of I against Arizona on top of a giant blue demon in Rosemont, IL (as was recently recalled to me by my brother). Or will any team ever get to be distracted by the Tinker Hatfield designed University of Oregon court.
Purportedly, the NCAA has done this to ensure that the hometown advertising littering most courts like a European soccer jersey does not distract us from their own advertising. I’ll admit the oppressive advertising and dedication of court fragments (i.e., Maryland’s Gary Williams Court at Comcast Arena or, more hilariously, Louisville’s KFC Yum! Arena), but to strip the homey design elements of local courts is to take us back the era of multi-purpose, Veterans-Stadium-like monotony.