How does the new UIC court stack up amongst other unique courts in college basketball?
The new court design at UIC Pavilion, home of the Illinois-Chicago basketball teams, has been revealed.
The over-the-top design features an homage to the Chicago flag and flames to represent the team's nickname. Fun fact: the Flames moniker comes from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which started near UIC's campus. Their mascot is a dragon named Sparky.
UIC isn't the only team with an extravagant design on its court. Throughout the 350-plus arenas in Division I college basketball, more than a few abandon the norm of a simple wood-colored floor.
Oregon was one of the first schools to go to a crazy design, adding trees all around the Matthew Knight Arena floor in 2011. Some love it and some hate it; regardless, it has stuck around for nearly a decade. The Ducks remain one of the only major-conference teams with a non-traditional layout.
Most of the schools with wacky courts are mid-majors looking to draw attention to their programs. For my money, the best in the country is FIU's beach design.
Another way to shake things up is to go with a completely different color for the floor. Boise State is well-known for its blue football field, but have you seen Cal-State Bakersfield's blue basketball court?
San Jose State has one of the more intimidating courts in the country, with five spartans lined up in the middle of the floor.
Generally, eccentric designs are limited to the addition of one background element. Skylines are a cool way to impart some local flavor into a court, like these from DePaul and Memphis.
For California schools Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton, palm trees are a way to rep their state and add some flair.
UCF has both palm trees AND rollercoasters.
Finally, one of the best and most unique in the country is Northern Kentucky's Norse ship.
There are plenty of other crazy courts across the nation's 32 D-I basketball conferences, but those are some of the best and most notable. There's something to be said for the classic layouts at all of the more famous arenas, where only the logo and the color of the paint are considered in design. There's also something pretty cool about seeing teams like UIC go with a bolder look.