Elevated Courts: A Good Thing for NCAA Basketball?
If you are planning to attend a Midwest or South regional game this NCAA Tournament, you may be in for a surprise.
The NCAA is "experimenting" with a new-look for their games by raising the elevation of the playing court by 27 inches. They will be placing the court at the 50-yard line of a football field instead of situating the court in a corner.
There is some mixed feedback from this change. Players are obviously worried about injuring themselves, like Villanova guard Scottie Reynolds:
"What if we go for the loose ball and dive off the court? I mean, that's the thing I was scared about."
It also stirs up the coaching mindset. Bill Self, head coach of the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks, says it causes a problem for him:
"I like to coach sitting down. But if you do that here, you're 15 feet away from the court."
Players and coaches aren't too fond of the change, but NCAA officials are all for it because of the fan's new viewpoint.
Kent State athletic director and member of the NCAA Division I basketball committee Laing Kennedy has this to say about the elevated courts:
"It really opens up the whole stadium and makes it so much better for the fans. Having the court elevated like that just makes for a terrific view from the upper level."
It's a battle of fans against players. Fans and officials love the new-look, while players like Memphis guard Chris Douglas-Roberts aren't too fond of the idea:
"I'm definitely not jumping in the stands. I'm not even going to act like it. If it's going out of bounds and I can't get it, hey I'm not going to fake hustle and act like I'm diving for it."
Those two opinions aren't the only viewpoints out there, though. Texas guard A.J. Abrams says that the change is something that you can get used to fairly easily:
"There's going to be an obvious depth perception [problem] just from the goals, but nothing you can't handle. Just go out and get a couple shots up and get the feel of it and that's what it's all about."
NCAA Tournament officials have apparently taken the players opinion into their plans, as they have added a ten-foot carpet section bordering the elevated court to slow down any player who might be rolling across it.
This change will have an affect on attendance numbers, which is taken into account by the NCAA. The more people, the better, right? The world record for highest attendance in a basketball game is 78,129 in 2003 when Kentucky beat Michigan State.
Experts don't expect that kind of attendance, but they do expect a twenty percent increase in attendance from last year, totaling somewhere around 250,000 fans.
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