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Monday, November 8, 2010
Oregon's floor design will 'throw you off'

By Diamond Leung

The awe-inspiring design of Oregon's new arena floor at Matthew Knight Arena in some ways acts as an inkblot test of one's personality.

At first glance, do you wonder what's with the ugly splotch of paint on the court?

Or can you see that the floor design is a representation of the view from beneath a forest of fir trees?

This isn't exactly the Sistine Chapel ceiling, but all in all, the uniqueness of the floor named after former athletic director Pat Kilkenny is just so very Oregon.

"I'm sure it's like everything we do at Oregon," Kilkenny told KVAL-TV. "There will be a lot of controversy in a positive way. It's just people love to debate these things. It's like fashion. It's like politics. There's no absolutes."

It took 2,500 painstaking man hours to lay out the graphics for the floor. To put that in perspective, that's roughly three times as many hours it took for Kilkenny to conduct the lengthy basketball coaching search that resulted in the hiring of Dana Altman.

The Kilkenny Floor design pays tribute not only to the landscape of the Pacific Northwest, but also the 1939 national championship team nicknamed the "Tall Firs." "DEEP IN THE WOODS," the lettering reads beneath the Matthew Knight Arena logo at center court.

The innovative aspect of the floor is just par for the course for a school that has its football players wearing eye-popping colors and designs on their Nike uniforms. But to put this much thought into it also says a lot about how Oregon sees its basketball program going into the future as one that needs to generate buzz rather than grow stale.

Tinker Hatfield, the vice president for design and special projects for Nike, tells GoDucksTV that he believes the cutting-edge floor design is within NCAA rules and doesn't mind that it might even be distracting.

"If you're a part of the opposing team, you ought to dread coming to play there because it's intimidating, it's loud and even the floor is designed to sort of throw you off a little bit," he said.

Being unabashedly bold, after all, tends to have that effect.