In an effort to cram more dollars, er fans into NCAA Tournament sites, the NCAA, in it's infinite wisdom is raising the floor 3 feet off the ground in both the Midwest Regional in Detroit and the South Regional in Houston in addition to moving the court to the center of the stadiums.
I could care less about whether they place the court in the end or center of a stadium, just as long as it's on the freaking ground.
Seriously, am I the only one who hates elevated courts? It's not just the potential injuries it's the fact players are less aggressive going for loose balls and I'm not sure I like having the coaches either stand or watch the game at knee level while sitting 10-15 feet from the sideline.
Even if you did agree with me it wouldn't matter because the NCAA is hell bent on selling as many tickets as possible - be damned a player breaking his neck going for an errant pass or loose ball that could decide whether or not his team advances to the Final Four. NCAA Committee member Laing Kennedy (and Kent State AD) makes it clear what matters most:
"It really opens up the whole stadium and makes it so much better for the fans. Having the court elevated like that just makes for a terrific view from the upper level."
Hallelujah. I'm sure those extra 3 feet make the view from the rafters of 72k seat Reliant Stadium unbeatable. Give me a break.
If nothing else, it sounds as if most of the players would agree with my grumpy rant. Memphis' Chris Douglas-Roberts certainly isn't a fan:
"I'm definitely not jumping in the stands. I'm not even going to act like it. If it's going out of bounds and I can't get it, hey I'm not going to fake hustle and act like I'm diving for it."
Perfect. Doesn't sound like Scottie Reynolds is excited about giving his best effort near the edges either:
"What if we go for the loose ball and dive off the court? I mean, that's the thing I was scared about."
In their defense, the NCAA has placed a 10 foot border of carpet at the ends of the court and a five foot strip down the sidelines. Not sure that's enough but if they made it any wider the coaches and players would need binoculars to keep an eye on the action.
Okay. I'm out of breath now. Carry on.