Matt Court debut was unkind to USC

USC coach Kevin O'Neill said today he would have much preferred that a non-conference team had played Oregon on the opening night for Matthew Knight Arena rather than the Trojans, who came out slow and couldn't come back from a first-half deficit.

Calling it a "competitive disadvantage," O'Neill didn't like that prior to tipoff his team had to wait for the end of pregame festivities, which included the duck mascot being lowered from the rafters, students rushing onto the court, break-dancing acts, and a speech by Nike's Phil Knight.

"You sit in the locker room for 40 minutes is longer than necessary," O'Neill said. "It’s a whole different set of things to deal with."

Another issue O'Neill had? The court, of course. Not so much the design of it, but O'Neill appears to be the first coach to complain that the midcourt line is barely visible.

"They got to put a center line on the floor," O'Neill said. "They need to paint something down there because that's going to be hard for officials to deal with and even players."

Oregon coach Dana Altman said adjustments could be made if officials can't see, and a school official told The Register-Guard that the glare coming off the court seen on television might have been caused by light given off by the advertising boards.

But the second visiting coach in the building, UCLA's Ben Howland said the glare isn't apparent in person and that he's fine with the visibility issue of the midcourt line.

"As long as the officials can do their job, I'm not worried about it. You can see it's a thin line, but it's there."

Said Howland of the court design: "In person, it's spectacular. It's a great idea. The facility in general is awesome."

UCLA won by eight.