Northern Iowa To Play Sweet 16 Game On Its Future Home Court

There has been a lot of talk over the last few years about the NCAA swooping in with their own courts for the NCAA tournament. In the past, the organization would simply cover up all the existing court logos with giant NCAA stickers, but the move to non-traditional basketball venues for many of the later round games – added to the NCAA's penchant for controlling all signage and graphics at host locations – had led to the organization constructing new courts for these events. When the tournament is finished, the surfaces are then sold to schools in need of new courts. ↵

↵Northern Iowa is one of those schools. ↵

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↵Before the NCAA tournament began, Northern Iowa athletics director Troy Dannen put in a bid to purchase an NCAA Regional floor. UNI won the bid, which the St. Louis Post-Dispatch story quoted at around $100,000 – cheaper than having a new court built for them. Little did those at UNI know, but they would actually get to play on the court. After beating Kansas to get to the Sweet 16, UNI will play Michigan State on Friday at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis…on their new home court. ↵

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↵⇥"Who would have ever thought?" Northern Iowa athletics director Troy Dannen said, adding, "I'd like to think we were this smart, but we were just lucky." ↵
↵Dannen told the team before their first round game against UNLV that if they won, the added money for getting deeper into the tournament would be used to help purchase the new court. No pressure, kids. ↵

↵And of course, reporters asked Dannen what he thought about owning the court that they'll need just two wins on to get to the Final Four – an outlandish proposition on its face, but something that at least one national columnist is not putting out of the realm of possibility. Per the Post-Dispatch: ↵

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↵⇥"Coach (Ben Jacobson) would kill me if we looked that far ahead," Dannen said. "All I know is it's the floor from our first-ever Sweet 16." ↵
↵If UNI beats Michigan State to get to the Elite Eight, and manages to get all the way to the Final Four, let's hope they never resurface the court. Actualy, with what they've accomplished already in the tournament, they might think about keeping the NCAA surface regardless of how the team fares this weekend. The giant NCAA logo would be far more imposing than any mascot head could ever be.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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