Oregon and College Basketball's 13 Most Unique Gym Floors

Jim Sullivan@jsully711Featured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2012

Oregon and College Basketball's 13 Most Unique Gym Floors

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    The home court is a more powerful force than anyone could have ever imagined. The noise locked into a basketball arena comes in somewhere between massive and ear-shattering, making those few games on your own hardwood of immeasurable importance.

    Your opponents judge you on more than just your arena's capacity to produce sound, however, as how it looks, smells, and overall, feels is also an influence. Intimidation can play a giant factor in a home victory, especially when a ranked squad comes to visit.

    The actual gym floor means more than most openly say. It's not only an expression of the university or of the program, but, more than anything, the team that defends it a few times per year. The hardwood is their home ground, their last stand, their castle.

    Some programs just love the simplicity that goes with a plain, hardwood floor painted with the school's symbol and the basketball specifications. That's all they really need to compete and that's what they are going to stay with.

    Other universities, however, love to be a bit more expressive. Similar to uniforms and their new outbreak in the fashion side of things, courts are beginning to get less old-school and a lot more flashy. Players, fans and commentators all have an interest in this somewhat new phenomenon, most questioning it while others support the entire idea.

    We take a look at the top 14 most insane, crazy and overall coolest basketball courts on this side of the Atlantic.

    For some more fun designs, have a look at this link. Really crazy but overall fun to envision. 

Purdue

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    The Boilermakers have a really solid court. Classic with a dash of flash, it's the logo and lining that puts Purdue on this list.

    Personally, I'm a fan of the old-fashioned locomotive and thus, have a soft spot for this floor design, but it still has a chill feel to it unlike almost anything else in the Big Ten.

    The black fill for the paint looks great as well, as the university made the rest of the flooring look like gold. A true statement in the era of gym floors, Purdue didn't go too far, but just far enough to stand out.

LSU

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    While the Tigers don't exactly own on the color scheme side of things (purple and yellow isn't that aesthetic), they certainly integrated both extremely well into their court design. Using the royal purple as the main focus, the entire arena assists in making this gym one of the best.

    The logo isn't too large but is just big enough to stand out, while the top of the paint is a yellow fill that clashes perfectly with the purple around the edges.

    I also really enjoy the faded part of the inside of the three-point line. It's unique and gives the court something different to take notice of.

Oklahoma State

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    The Cowboys own a unique hardwood in a two-part way. First, the signature of Eddie Sutton is scrawled across the court; although now it is smaller and off-center, it is still very cool, creating a chill feel for the entire arena.

    Second, the fills for the paint. It is a fade-in from orange to black with their OSU logo dominating the upper black portion. Changing in a smooth fashion is brilliant and I really enjoy the entire ensemble.

Boise State

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    The Broncos have one of the most unique and well-known football fields in the country due to the royal blue color of the field. The "Smurf Turf," however, doesn't compare to how awesome their basketball court is.

    Playing off the sleek Broncos' logo that fall just inside each three-point line, this gym floor is unique for obvious reasons. I'm personally impressed by the way they used their color scheme to fill in this court, particularly in the center writing. The font is sweet, and stacking the words looks sharp. 

Baylor

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    The new Bears' court is fantastic. Taking advantage of two-tones in the hardwood, Baylor may have left their logo the same, but made each end a startling and brilliant display of how great glossy wood can really look.

    You can't see it from this view, but the circular top part of the paint is actually designed to look like a basketball. While I don't particularly like the fact that the entire three-point line is filled in by the darker wood, it's still better than nothing.

USC

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    While quite similar in design to LSU's floor, the Trojans took the liberty of changing their logo so that it added a bit of style and flash to the whole arena. Once again, the faded fill inside the three point line that doesn't bleed into the paint is solid. The outer edges also work nicely with the overall gym.

    Now, the logo for Southern Cal is either the head of a Trojan, like on the football helmets, or just a plain "SC" with "Trojans" written above. This Los Angeles-based program took that same design and brilliantly included in their court. I've seen it before, but really enjoy the way it looks on the floor, especially with the color wood that they use. 

Northwestern

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    This is simply one of the sweetest designs I've ever seen. The way such a lowly Big Ten power was able to make a court look so amazingly awesome is beyond me, but the Wildcats did a phenomenal job. To start things off, I'll bring your attention to the bottom of the picture where they say "Chicago's Big Ten Team." That is perfect.

    There are many more features I really like about this floor, as well. First off, the faded style for the entire section of what most courts have as plain wood. It's glossy and reflective, working well with the purple in the logo. The amethyst used to fill in the three point line and on the outer edges is also fantastic. It actually resembles the gem natural look, alternating between a deep purple and violet. 

Mississippi State

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    The Bulldogs get on this list for one big reason. Their new logo may be simple and seemingly boring, but I love it. They took out the giant bold "M" with the ribbon that "STATE" spelled on it, and instead added a sweet font that spells out Mississippi State in a stacked design.

    Furthermore, I also enjoy the new "mini" logos on the bottom left and top right of the half-court line: A sweet new bulldog cradling the bold "M" design really pulls the whole design together. The white lining also is unique and gives this small SEC program something a little different.

Michigan State

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    You have to love MSU's new court design. Trading the bold "S" inside the green circle at half-court for the Spartan logo is extremely unique. Also, taking out the orange half basketballs at the top of each paint was a giant improvement.

    To further that, the faded wood inside the three point line looks, as I've said before, solid. To top things off, the font used for the "MICHIGAN STATE" at the ends of the court is brilliant. The sharp cuts and how it stands out is adds a whole new level to the arena.

Kansas State

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    Once you take a good look at the Wildcats' new floor, you may notice that it is very similar to the Baylor design. The dark wood inside the three-point line contrasts with the lighter wood that is used everywhere else. K-State, however, takes this whole idea to the next level.

    By filling in the paint with purple, the schools' primary school, they more than improved the entire design of the court. I also like the size of the Wildcat logo; not too big, but not too small. Overall, classy look with a stylish finish.

UNC

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    From this picture, you can see that I didn't include much more than the center logo. The half-court, however, is what makes this entire gym floor. 

    With the outline of North Carolina filled in with the Carolina baby blue, UNC finishes it off with the stylish "NC" logo. It is possibly my favorite mid-court design in the entire nation, making it worthy of this list. The rest of the floor just incorporates the same blue in a very classic, old-school kind of way.

Notre Dame

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    When it comes to unique courts, how could the Irish not make the list? The center-court clover leaf, which matches the faded shade of the inside of the three-point line, is what makes this entire design, as it mixes pure culture with flashiness.

    The two-tone hardwood is fantastic while the deep blue is used to fill in the paint and pull the court together. Again, the clover leaf is just awesome. Brilliant piece of work for Notre Dame.

Texas A&M

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    While many fans outside Aggieland despise the parquet design, I personally love the gall it took A&M to incorporate it into their basketball court. It reminds me a lot of the Boston Celtics in what may be one of the coolest looks in the southwest.

    In addition to the parquet, the Aggies also went a step further by including two-tone wood. They continue to parquet all the dark wood as well, basically making the entire floor a quad-tone of hardwood.

    To finish things off, the outline of Texas with the A&M logo, while simple and gigantic, is really stunning.

Oregon

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    To finish things off, we take a look at the class act that is Oregon. The Ducks are the center of the college football uniform fiasco. Their designs inspired universities nationwide to take a serious look at their wardrobes, helping the entire sport look a little sharper over the past few seasons.

    Oregon really outdid themselves this time. The new hardwood design is flashy, brilliant and, overall, a tribute to how innovative and interesting the sports program is. Integrating their location in the country, the Ducks use a tri-tone of wood to pull this off, outlining what seems to be pine trees around the entire edge of the floor and pointing inward.

    The phrase under the giant "O" is what makes this design. "Deep in the Woods" is so simple, yet is laced with elegance, giving Oregon another opportunity to sign their name into what could become the next nationwide frenzy. 

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