Playing on Florida International University's home court in Miami will now be a day at the beach.
The school revealed the winning design of its new basketball floor to The Huffington Post on Thursday -- a baseline-to-baseline shore design that might have players thinking they have sand in their shoes. (Story continues below.)
Photo Credit: Courtesy of FIU
Athletic Director Pete Garcia told HuffPost Thursday that he came up with the idea to attract recruits, provide a homecourt advantage and make money -- the school is getting a sponsor to pay for it. FIU is negotiating with a painting contractor now, and Garcia said the job should be completed for less than $1 million.
Garcia added that the postcard motif reinforces southern Florida's natural assets with a distinctive 94- by 50-foot wood canvas. "I don't know if we're the first ones to have something like this, but I don't know of anyone else who has one," he told HuffPost.
Outlets such as Yahoo! and Deadspin had reported on some of the earlier options tweeted by FIU Coach Richard Pitino (see below). One featured the Miami skyline with FIU's Roary the Panther mascot bursting through, but Pitino requested more sand, less buildings, Garcia said.
The other was a slight variation on the winner, in which Roary still stalks center court against a sand-and-surf background bathed in palm frond shadows.
The court will herald FIU's move from the Sun Belt Conference to Conference USA next season.
As the NCAA Tournament unfolds with the Louisville team coached by Pitino's dad, Rick, seeded No. 1, the younger Pitino managed to grab some attention. No easy feat considering FIU's season ended March 11 with a 2-point loss to Western Kentucky in the conference tournament final.
But no matter how the team does next season, at least FIU will have a shore thing.
The rejected options:
Redoing our court in a few weeks. This idea came across my desk. I am intrigued. Retweet if you like it! twitter.com/CoachPitinoFIU…— Richard Pitino (@CoachPitinoFIU) March 18, 2013
Huge fan of this latest court proposal. Retweet if you agree! twitter.com/CoachPitinoFIU…— Richard Pitino (@CoachPitinoFIU) March 20, 2013
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1983: N.C. State vs. Houston - National Championship
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In the first round, No. 14 seed Valparaiso's Bryce Drew nailed a 3-pointer as time expired, giving the Rebels a 70-69 victory over Ole Miss.
2003: Maryland vs. UNCW - 1st Round
Down 73-72 with five seconds left in regulation, Maryland's Drew Nicholas dribbled down the court and nailed a desperation 3-pointer to put away UNCW in the first round, 75-73.
1995: Missouri vs. UCLA - 2nd Round
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1998: UCONN vs. Washington - Sweet 16
Down 74-73 in the Sweet 16, Rip Hamilton of Connecticut grabbed the loose ball and hit a fade away jumper at the buzzer to beat Washington 75-74.
2006: Texas vs. West Virginia - Sweet 16
After West Virginia tied the game at 71 with five seconds remaining, Texas' Kenton Paulino knocked down a long 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Mountaineers 74-71.
1981: Arkansas vs. Louisville - 2nd Round
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1990: UCONN vs. Clemson - Sweet 16
Down 70-69 to Clemson with just one second on the clock, Connecticut's Tate George caught a full court pass, turned around and made a short jumper as time expired and Uconn won 71-70.
1992: Georgia Tech vs. USC - 2nd Round
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2010: Michigan State vs. Maryland - 2nd Round
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Trailing by one point with 4.2 seconds left, Murray State's Danero Thomas received a pass at the top of the key and took one dribble to his right. Then he stopped, took a fadeaway jumper and nailed a game-winning buzzer beater to upset Vanderbilt.
1984: VCU vs. Northeastern - 1st Round
With his team trailing Jim Calhoun's Northeastern squad 69-68 with two seconds remaining, VCU's Rolando Lamb received the inbounds pass just inside the 3-point line. Lamb then turned around and threw up a quick shot and made it at the buzzer. The No. 6 Rams avoided the upset.
1986: Iowa State vs. Miami (OH) - 1st Round
With just two seconds remaining and the score tied at 79, Iowa State's Jeff Hornacek received the inbounds pass just beyond the 3-point line. He took one dribble, turned and nailed a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.
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1990: UNC vs. Oklahoma - 2nd Round
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2008: Western Kentucky vs. Drake - 2nd Round
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1977: Marquette vs. UNC Charlotte - Final Four
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2000: Florida vs. Butler - 1st Round
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