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Wednesday, September 11, 2013
A new court design that isn't terrible

By Eamonn Brennan

Late last week, your humble author went on a bit of a court-design rant. The target of ire was silhouettes, specifically the gigantic logo silhouettes college basketball programs have been drenching their new courts in since Oregon unveiled its incredibly Oregon-y "Tall Firs" court design at Matthew Knight Arena in 2010. Whatever you felt about the Ducks' ostentatiousness -- par for the highly effective course in Eugene, Ore., these days -- the court launched a trend in which programs would sneak some large, loud, shaded design element on their new floor in the hopes of better branding themselves to the outside.

I don't blame Oregon for this; that'd be like blaming the Beatles for every bad prog-rock album of the 1970s. But when James Madison revealed its crazy entry last week, and when UTEP ruined an otherwise gorgeous minimalist design by slapping two giant pickaxes on either side of the floor, something had to be said. Enough is enough.

So it is with great pleasure that I pass along an example of a program actively choosing to avoid this assault on our eyeballs and/or sensibilities. On Tuesday, the Rhode Island Rams introduced the Alex and Ani Court at the Thomas M. Ryan Center, and I am happy to say the court has nothing in the way of gaudy silhouettes. The furthest it goes is a shaded 3-point area, which, given the post-Oregon design hellscape we've been traversing, feels borderline monastic.

So, good job, Rhode Island. Other schools considering new court layouts, take note. Let's be the change we want to see in the world, huh?

(Hat tip: CBS Sports)