KFC Yum! Center gets new NCAA hardwood for tournament time - WDRB 41 Louisville News

KFC Yum! Center gets new NCAA hardwood for tournament time

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - The Sweet 16 field is set and four of the teams will play in Louisville starting Thursday. Until then, the KFC Yum! Center is transforming for tourney time. From the basketballs to the hardwood, the NCAA is putting its touches inside the KFC Yum! Center as the tournament comes to town this week.

It takes less than a day to install a new NCAA floor inside the Yum! Center. It will be ready for Sweet 16 basketball action Thursday.

"I was in Des Moines yesterday for the men's first and second rounds," said Trig Haroldson, floor tech with Connor Sports, "and we tore out the floor there, got on the truck at 3 and I drove here, got here at 1am. At least we started here at 11am and not the crack of dawn," he laughed. 

Connor Sports provides the flooring -- all 22 tons of it. "Total amount of the floor weighs about 44,000 pounds, and 300 some odd panels," Haroldson explained. 

It includes the home arena's mascot and city name, the road to the final four phrase and the NCAA logo which means a lot of blue. "We always wanna have as much red in the arena as we possibly can," said Josh Heird, Assistant Athletic Director with the University of Louisville, "We understand that's one of the things that goes along with hosting an NCAA events, so we've grown used to it over the years." 

The KFC Yum Center crews are pros and work quickly. "If you think about all the events that are hosted here at the arena throughout our basketball season, they have to take the U of L court up numerous times throughout the season."  

The women's tournament games that were played over the weekend inside the Yum! Center were on the normal U of L court, which is now in storage and will stay there until basketball in the fall.

The tournament basketballs and south regional trophy are ready and waiting at the arena. Four teams, Kansas, Maryland, Miami and Villanova, will play in Louisville starting Thursday for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. Only one will advance to the Final Four in Houston.

The NCAA court at the KFC Yum! Center will not go to waste. "This is a brand new floor. It has three games played on it and then it's sold, (to) whoever wants to buy it," said Haroldson.

If you were hoping to see some tournament action inside the KFC Yum Center, Heird says it may be too late. The arena holds more than 21,000 people and he says the tickets have been sold out for about nine months. He says there are a few tickets that could potentially be sold if the teams do not use their allotment.

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