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From Tree to Tipoff

From deep in a Michigan forest to University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, the floor at this weekend's Men's Final Four has completed a cross-country journey, lasting nearly five months.

From deep in a Michigan forest to University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, the floor at this weekend's Men's Final Four has completed a cross-country journey, lasting nearly five months.
Photography by Ross Dettman
3/29/17

Harvesting

In a 24,000-acre forest, foresters select 500 sugar maples. Using a tanklike machine with rollers and chainsaws, the trees are sustainably harvested and chopped into as many 8-foot pieces as possible.

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Making the Final Four Court, Stage 1: Harvesting

In a 24,000-acre forest, foresters select 500 sugar maples. With a tank-like machine with rollers and chainsaws, the trees are sustainably harvested and chopped into as many 8-foot pieces as possible.

How much wood is used to make the floor?

  • 500
    Trees Harvested
  • 418 Panels of Wood
  • 10 Miles of Boards

Creating the Floor Panels

In a Michigan mill, trees are debarked, cut to planks and dried. To create the strongest floor, boards are staggered, like building an oversized floor at a home.

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Making the Final Four Court, Stage 2: Creating the floor panels

In a Michigan mill, trees are debarked, cut to planks and dried. To create the strongest floor, boards are staggered, like building an oversized hardwood floor at a home.

The work that goes into the floor

  • 125
    Workers
  • 144Days
  • 207,360 Minutes

Layout, Painting & Staining

Planks are shipped to Idaho, sanded and measured. The floor becomes a giant paint-by-numbers picture. Every inch is stained, and, using NCAA graphics as stencils, the floor is painted.

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Making the Final Four Court, Stage 3: Layout, staining and painting

Planks are shipped to Idaho, sanded and measured. The floor becomes a giant paint-by-numbers picture. Every inch is stained and, using NCAA graphics as stencils, the floor is painted.

What Brings the floor design to life?

  • 9,800
    Sq Ft of floor
  • 14Different colors
  • 13.25 gallons of stain
  • 4.5Gallons of Paint
  • 80.5Gallons of finish

Installation

Arriving on two 18-wheelers, the floor is assembled in Glendale using a pin-and-hole system. The floor is then altered to accommodate the sidelines and baselines. Then it's time for basketball.

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Making the Final Four Court, Stage 4: Installation

Arriving on two 18-wheelers, the floor is assembled in Glendale using a pin-and-hole system. The floor is then altered to accommodate the sidelines and baselines. Then it's time for basketball.

Miles The Floor Travels

Tipoff

For the first game on the Final Four court, South Carolina tips off against Gonzaga.

The work and the reward

  • 39.3
    Tons
  • 5Hours to Install
  • 3Games
Additional video footage by Nick Jensen for Connor Sports

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