Final Four Hoops Court Made In Michigan (Again)
Maybe Indiana is the emotional home of college basketball, but the hardwood floors are made here in Michigan.
Imagine if you will, an icy wooded area in the remote western stretches of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Every winter, a group of bearded, flannel clad lumberjacks, fresh from a hearty pancake breakfast, head into the woods with their axes in search of Michigan's finest maple trees to cut down. All for the love of the game of basketball.
The truth is probably way less romantic than that, and involves machinery like chain saws and wood chippers. But the fact remains that Michigan maple makes the best basketball courts that money can buy, and the NCAA Championships are no exception.
Michigan hardwood floors are once again being used at both the men's and women's NCAA Finals in Indianapolis and San Antonio.
Although it is Connor Sports out of Illinois that supplies the courts for the tourney, it is Michigan maple that is used in its manufacture.
And what kind of hardwood is Connor looking for when making the perfect hoops floor?
James Gabour of Connor told FOX 2 News in Chicago:
“We have to make sure the moisture content is right. You don’t want anything too wet or too dry – otherwise, the wood starts to flex. From there, they get assembled into individual panels that are four feet by seven feet long. We ship that off to get painted, put some finish on it.”
394 panels weighing in at 60,000 pounds are pieced together to make a standard 70 by 140 foot court. And I'm not too far off with the timing -- the search for the maple starts in late fall, and by winter the manufacturing has begun on the courts, which take three months to make.
So where does the court go when the tournament is over? To the winner of course, but they have to buy it from Connor.
“In years past, we’ve had people just keep the center logo that they want to hang in their basketball facility,” Gabour told FOX 2. “We’ve had people cut it up for different fundraising ideas.”
Michigan State bought the court from their 2000 championship and installed it as their home floor at the Breslin Center. It was cut up and sold to fans following the 2016 season. You can still buy a piece here.
So, here's to you, Lumberjacks of Michigan! Because of your hard work, we had moments like the last few minutes of Saturday's game between UCLA and Gonzaga, which is already an instant classic!