<
>

The changing look of college hoops

St. Bonaventure is one of four Buffalo-area schools that will be honoring the NBA's Braves this month. Courtesy Big 4 Basketball

For the most part, college sports and pro sports are completely different worlds, with different rules, different fan bases and, of course, different uniforms.

Occasionally, however, those worlds intersect. That's what's going to happen at the Big 4 Basketball Classic on Nov. 28, when four schools from western New York state -- Buffalo, Canisius, Niagara and St. Bonaventure -- will wear uniforms based on those worn by the old Buffalo Braves (the NBA franchise now known as the Los Angeles Clippers). It's a really cool move, and a rare case of the college and pro uni-verses commingling, sort of like a collaboration between Marvel and DC superheroes. You can see the Braves-inspired uni designs that the schools will be wearing at the bottom of this page.

The Braves-themed unis are definitely the most interesting uniform development in the 2014-15 college basketball season, but there's plenty of additional uni-related news. Loads of new court designs this season, too. With the season set to tip off Friday, here's Uni Watch's annual team-by-team breakdown of what you can expect to see out there:

Appalachian State has a new court design.

Arizona is using its 1997 championship team as the inspiration for a new set of five -- count 'em, five -- uniforms, with a pretty cool cactus design on the back.

Arkansas State has a new court design, and it looks way too busy.

Baylor has had an odd split personality in recent years, with its football team outfitted by Nike and its basketball team by adidas. That arrangement is now ending, as the hoops squad has switched to Nike, which has given the Bears a very nice new uni set. Also: The Bears have a new court design.

Boston College, which had been going NNOB (that's "no name on back," for those of you who don't speak uni), has added player names to its jerseys.

Brown will mark the university's 250th anniversary by wearing throwback uniforms on Feb. 28 against Princeton.

BYU is going with a slightly cleaner look. Additional info here.

Cal State Northridge has put its school abbreviation on its chest and also has a rather unattractive new gray court design.

• Nice upgrade for Dayton, which has a snappy new design. Here's the road version. Also: The Flyers have a new court design.

Detroit has changed the typography on its red road jersey from white to navy.

• A bit disappointing that Drake has traded in its chest script for simple block lettering. The new look isn't bad, but the script was more distinctive.

• Does any team need two different white uniforms? Probably not, but don't tell that to Duke, which will have three white uni options this season.

Elon will be showing some élan in this crisp new uni design.

East Carolina has a new court design.

Florida has switched from one Nike template to another. Here's the road version, along with a closer look at the gator skin pattern on the back.

Florida Gulf Coast has a nifty new diamond pattern on its shorts. That green collar seems like a bit much, though.

Florida State has a new court design.

Georgetown has a new black alternate uni.

Georgia State has a new set of black alternates.

Georgia Tech has updated its side-panel design. New sublimated jellowjacket design on the back, too.

• The new Illinois uniforms have this crazy zigzag pattern running up the sides -- yowza! Here's the road version.

Iowa has a new jersey font.

Iowa State has a new court design.

• Speaking of new court designs, IPFW has one too..

• Yet another new court design: IUPUI's new floor features the Indianapolis skyline.

Kansas has scrapped the color-blocking on the shoulders. Here's the road version. The Jayhawks have new retro alternates, too.

Kentucky is increasing the checkerboard quotient on its shorts, among several other small changes. Here's how the new shorts design looks on the road uni, and here's the sublimated rear-jersey design.

Long Beach State's new court design continues the school's beach theme.

• "Most unusual new uni" honors go to Lousiville, whose new shorts sure are, um, interesting. It's like they moved the color-blocking from the shoulders to the waist area. Will they have two-tone socks next year? Meanwhile, the Cardinals also have a new court design.

In addition, the Cardinals will have camouflage uniforms for the Armed Forces Classic on Nov. 14.

• It's hard to keep track of all of Maryland's design, but here's the latest set. Also: The Terps have added the Big 10's "B1G" logo to their court.

• It's always a bit sad when a team moves away from vertically arched lettering, but the new Milwaukee design has an appealingly solid simplicity to it. Groovy striping up the side, too.

Minnesota has a new black alternate uni.

• People who have issues regarding Mississippi's "Ole Miss" nickname and "Rebels" team name may feel a bit conflicted this season, because the school's new uni has dropped the former but switched to the latter.

Montana has a new dark-gray uni set.

Navy has switched from Nike to Under Armour, which of course means a new uniform design.

New Mexico's weird side panels are a little less weird this season. The Lobos have also changed their chest insignia from their team name to their school name, plus they have special uniforms planned for the season's opening weekend: On Friday, Nov. 14, they'll have white uniforms with camouflage accents for "Heroes Day," and on Sunday, Nov. 16, they'll wear turquoise-accented uniforms as part of Nike's N7 program.

North Carolina has added the ACC logo to its floor design.

North Carolina State has switched to that adidas template with the color-blocked shoulders. Also: The Wolfpack have a new court design, and it's a doozie.

Northern Illinois games are going to look a bit weird this season, because the Huskies have a new court design that's predominantly black.

Northern Iowa, the school whose name reduces to the best acronym in college sports, is now proudly wearing that acronym as a chest insignia.

Northwestern has a new court design.

• This is Notre Dame's first season being outfitted by Under Armour -- which, unfortunately, has shoehorned the Irish into the same square-collared template used by all the other Under Armour schools. You can get a distant view of the road version here.

Ohio, one of the few schools still outfitted by Russell Athletic, has tweaked its collar and shorts.

• Addition by subtraction for Oklahoma, which has scrapped the unnecessary shoulder stripes.

Oklahoma State has a new court design.

• Lots of teams have experimented with pink accents in recent years, but Penn State's new black and pink alternate uni, which will be worn on Nov. 28 and Dec. 3, is particularly interesting, because those were the school's original colors back in 1887. As explained on this page, "Dark pink and black was the unanimous choice of the student body after considering the color combinations presented by the [school color] committee. Soon many students and the baseball team were sporting pink and black striped blazers and caps. However, problems arose when the pink faded to white after several weeks of exposure to the sun. The students then opted for blue, rather than black, and white."

Saint Joseph's is adding a memorial patch for Dr. Jack Ramsay.

Seton Hall has switched from adidas to Under Armour, and you know what that means. Further info and photos here.

Siena had some of the nicest uniforms in the country last season. Unfortunately, the Saints have cut back on the gorgeous side piping.

Texas A&M is another team that's switching to adidas' template with the color-blocked shoulders.

• Very nice development at Texas Tech, where the Red Raiders have a snazzy new court design.

Tulane has a new court, although it's not exactly the most creative design.

• A bit disappointing to see that Tulsa has ditched its script insignia. Still one of the best color schemes in college hoops, though.

• Most unusual new court design of the year goes to UC Irvine, which overlaid its center-court logo with a larger, shadowed version of the logo. Kinda looks like a tangled mess.

• Nice upgrade for UConn, which has gone back to its classic look. Also, according to this page, "The dog logo has been moved down [on the back of the jersey] so it is no longer hidden behind the number, and a fourth star with a '14' in it has been added to signify the fourth national championship (it previously had stars with '99, '04, '11)."

UMass has made small tweaks to its collar, number treatment, and side panels.

Utah's changes this season are so minor that you have to wonder why the school even bothered.

• Looks like UTEP has a new set of orange alternates.

• Another season, another Nike template for VCU.

Virginia Tech has a new court design, including the ACC logo in the key.

Washington has a new court design, and it's a keeper. Love that two-tone wood treatment.

Weber State has a new dot-matrix design on the shorts and shoulders.

West Virginia's court design now has the Big 12 logo emblazoned in the key.

Western Kentucky asked fans to vote on these three alternate jersey options. The one on the left was the winner and will now join the team's standard home whites, road reds and alternate grays.

Wright State's new uni set is one of the nicest of the year -- well done. Further info here.

Xavier has a new black alternate uni. Also: There's a new court design featuring the Cincinnati skyline.

Meanwhile, if you want to read more about college court designs, check out this piece by ESPN.com's Eamonn Brennan, who has ranked the top floor designs in the sport.

Did we miss anything? Yeah, probably. If you know of additional college hoops teams with new uniforms, do tell. Thanks.

Paul Lukas is breathing a big sigh of relief now that all of this autumn's season previews -- pro and college football, pro and college basketball, NHL, NHL goalies and so on -- are finished. Phew! If you liked this column, you'll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, be added to his mailing list so you'll always know when a new column has been posted, or just ask him a question? Contact him here.