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Oregon's bold statement also a fab home-court edge

Nov 7, 2010, 7:26 PM EST

University of Oregon

Nothing’s ordinary about Oregon’s new college basketball venue. Matthew Knight Arena is expensive (about $200 million),tricked out (the state-of-the-art scoreboard is unlike anything most NBA teams have) and idiosyncratic in its design.

I mean, did you see that floor?

The school unveiled Pat Kilkenny floor on Friday, which is unlike any other playing surface in college hoops. In an homage to the “Tall Firs” – the nickname of Oregon’s 1939 NCAA tournament title team – brown and tan trees rise from all sides, creating a forest view on the floor and outline the words “Deep in the Woods,” the Oregon “O” and the Matt Court logo. Of course, there’s a story behind it. From the Eugene Register-Guard:

But designers said it’s also meant to evoke Oregon’s fabled forests as well as the university’s reputation for innovation and irreverence, said Todd Van Horne, creative services director at Nike, who helped develop the design with Nike design vice president and UO alum Tinker Hatfield.

“It’s a nod to history, but done in this really iconic way,” Van Horne said. “It’s a lot of stories woven together.”

The floor’s designer, Tinker Hatfield, is a former Ducks track and field star and vice president of design and special projects for Nike. He designed many of the Air Jordan shoes.

The response thus far has been overly enthusiastic.

“It’s spectacular,” said former Oregon AD Pat Kilkenny, who the floor is named after. “They nailed it.”

“It’s iconic, it’s innovative, it’s unique. I think our fans will embrace it,” athletic director Rob Mullens told the Eugene Register-Guard.

Same went for Ducks fans, who seem to like the idea of Oregon making its mark on college athletics similar to how Boise State’s done with its “Smurf Turf” football field.

As for non-Ducks fans? I can’t speak for everyone, but it is bold, unique … and it works. I mean, if you’re gonna make your mark, don’t do the same thing everyone else has done. Do it with style – and increase your home court advantage.

Good luck to opponents unused to that floor.

(Thanks to Jeff Eisenberg)

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.