The 2016-17 Uni Watch college hoops preview

The Wildcats bring a new look the court for the 2016-17 season. University of Kentucky

You'll be seeing a lot more of your favorite college basketball players this season -- literally.

That's because Nike has introduced a new tailoring pattern that's noticeably slimmer and exposes a lot more skin, especially when viewed from the back. From the front, many of the new jerseys look a lot like the uniforms from the 1960s and '70s, or maybe like track and field jerseys, with thinner shoulder straps and classic scoop collars. And from the back -- well, see for yourself:

Not every school is outfitted by Nike, of course, and not every Nike-affiliated school is using this new trimmer silhouette -- but a lot of the top programs are.

That's the biggest change taking place on the court this season, but it's hardly the only one. Division I college basketball comprises 351 schools, more than 160 of which are represented in the report that follows, making this by far the largest Uni Watch season preview ever. And we know from experience that the season will feature lots of additional uniforms that haven't been released yet -- blackout, gray-out, camouflage, stars and stripes, pink, throwback, March Madness and more -- so this is just the beginning.

With the season set to tip off on Nov. 11, here's what you can expect to see on the court, broken down by conference. If a school isn't listed, that means it has no uniform-related news this season, at least that we're aware of. OK, deep breath -- here we go.

Jump to a conference:

American Athletic | America East | ACC | Atlantic Sun | Atlantic 10 | Big East | Big Sky | Big South | Big Ten | Big 12 | Colonial Athletic | Big West | Conference USA | Horizon League | Ivy League | MAAC | MAC | MEAC | Missouri Valley | Mountain West | Northeast | Ohio Valley | Pac 12 | SEC | Southern | Southland | Summit League | Sun Belt | SWAC | West Coast | WAC

American Athletic

East Carolina has switched from Nike to Adidas, which has given the Pirates a brutal new set. From the typography (how about adding a little space between "East" and "Carolina," guys?) to the color scheme to the shoulder panels, this one needs to go back to the drawing board:

SMU's new set features the Dallas skyline on the back of the jersey (additional info here):

Tulane has a new blue uniform, and it also has added a rear-jersey design featuring a "Big Easy" streetcar:

Tulsa has switched from Nike to Adidas, which has changed the team's chest lettering from arched to straight, among other changes:

• Minor changes this year for UCF, including the fingerprint pattern that's showing up on a lot of Nike shorts this season.

• Minor tweaks for UConn, which has eliminated the contrasting collar and added the team logo to the waistband, both of which qualify as modest improvements.

In addition, the Huskies would like anyone looking at their court to keep in mind how many championships they've won:

Back to top

America East

Hartford has switched outfitters and is now aligned with Under Armour.

• No visuals yet, but New Hampshire will have a new gray alternate uniform this season.

Back to top


All ACC teams are going with a new sport-specific ACC jersey patch, which is patterned like a basketball:

• Big upgrade for Boston College, which changed its chest lettering from straight to a split-level treatment with a nice arch across the top (additional info here):

Clemson home games were relocated to Greenville last season while the school's arena was being renovated. Now the arena is ready to go, complete with a new court design.

• Slight downgrade for Louisville, which has changed the font for the players' names on the back of the jerseys. The new version is definitely tougher to read and will present problems for longer names.

In addition, the retro alternates that Louisville wore last season are being reprised this time around:

Miami has a really nice throwback alternate based on the team's late-1960s uniforms:

Also: The Hurricanes' arena is now known as the Watsco Center, which is reflected on the team's floor design.

• Addition by subtraction for NC State, which has scrapped the shoulder harness and opted for a simpler shorts design -- a win-win.

The Wolfpack has also unveiled a series of statues honoring the team's former coaches, including Jim Valvano.

In addition, Reynolds Coliseum has undergone significant renovations. Further info on that here and here.

North Carolina has adopted Nike's new tailoring silhouette, which is noticeably slimmer in the shoulders:

• Nothing new yet for Notre Dame, but a team spokesperson said new green alternates are in the works, so stay tuned.

• The entire Pitt athletics program got a facelift this year, with greater emphasis on the classic Pitt script. That's reflected on the new basketball uniforms (additional photos here): The Pitt script is also showcased on the team's new court design:

Syracuse is another school that's adopted Nike's new slimmer tailoring template:

Virginia Tech's new jerseys have a new type treatment on the front and a "Hokie stone" pattern on the back (additional info here):

Wake Forest has added an "AP" memorial patch for Arnold Palmer, who played on the Wake golf team back in the late 1940s:

Back to top

Atlantic Sun

• The Atlantic Sun conference has a new logo design, so all teams will be wearing an updated conference logo patch featuring the new mark -- a stylized "A" with a sunburst.

• Green and blue is a surprisingly uncommon color scheme, but it looks good on Florida Gulf Coast's new set:

• No more contrasting collar or side trim for Jacksonville, which now has a very no-frills look:

Also: The Dolphins had a big offseason arena renovation, which included the installation of a new court design. The center court logo is now larger, the wood stain is lighter, among other adjustments.

Lipscomb has color-swapped its school name and uni numbers (they used to be purple over gold; now it's the other way around), added some piping to the collar and armholes, and gone with a more traditional shorts design. All in all, it feels like a slight downgrade.

• In light of the conference's new logo, South Carolina Upstate has revised the paint scheme for its three-second lane:

Back to top

Atlantic 10

Dayton's new home whites look sharp, but the outlined chest lettering on the road and alternate uniforms is a tough read:

In addition, the Flyers are adding a memorial "5" patch for player Steve McElvene, who died back in May.

• Do you know what a dodransbicentennial is? It's a 175th anniversary, and that's what Fordham will be a commemorating this season with a jersey patch:

La Salle has added some trim to the collar and shorts, both of which feel unnecessary:

• Good-looking new set for Richmond. The red alternate, with a big spider on the chest, is particularly sharp.

• Very minor changes for Saint Joseph's. "We get new uniforms every year, but it's basically a slight variation on the previous season's," says a spokesperson.

• Last season Saint Louis began wearing its team name, "Billikens," on its jerseys for the first time in more than 30 years. The team name is still there this season, but with a slightly revised design:

You can get a glimpse of the team's new grey and blue uniforms in this video clip:

St. Bonaventure's new set has the team name on the home whites and the school name on the road uniform:

Also: Western New York's four Division I teams -- St. Bonaventure, Niagara, Buffalo and Canisius -- will participate in the Big 4 Basketball Classic at the First Niagara Center on Dec. 17, with all four teams wearing throwback designs that were chosen via a fan vote. Bonnies fans had a choice of three uniforms and chose a 1970s design:

The Bonnies also have a new court design:

• Classic look this year for UMass, complete with a crossover V-neck collar design.

VCU has removed the white trim from its black road jersey:

Also, the watermark pattern on the back of all VCU jerseys will no longer include the word "Havoc," which had been there before.

Back to top

Big East

• There's a fine line between traditional and plain, and Butler's latest set, which includes a new gray alternate, feels like it's on the wrong side of it, although the Bulldogs do have a new sublimated design on the back:

Creighton is going with a slightly more old-school look, although the basic chest typography is unchanged:

• Last season's DePaul road uniforms had a brutal design featuring black lettering on a blue background. This year they've wisely changed the black elements to white:

Georgetown has adopted Nike's new template and also has new shoes (additional info here):

Marquette's new design has a cool-looking waistband icon, and there's also a new gold alternate and new sneakers (additional photos and info here).

Providence has made some minor typographic adjustments and also switched to Nike's slimmer tailoring cut.

• Last season Seton Hall came out with a late-1980s white throwback, which was extremely popular with fans. This time around they're adding a blue version, and it's a beauty:

St. John's, like many other Under Armour-outfitted teams, has a much-improved collar design. Toss in some small but positive adjustments to the waistband, armholes, and shorts trim and you have a significant upgrade.

Back to top

Big Sky

• Odd move by Montana, whose "Griz" chest script is so small that it's overwhelmed by the uniform number.

• No visuals yet, but Montana State is adding a gold alternate uniform.

Portland State has a very clean new uniform as well as a new logo, which is being showcased at center court.

• Not even a shoulder harness can ruin the beauty of Sacramento State's gorgeous green-gold color scheme -- but it sure doesn't help:

Back to top

Big South

• People are going to have a tough time reading the outlined lettering on Charleston Southern's new home whites, although the road blues look solid.

Presbyterian has four uniform options this year, including a new gray design with tartan-plaid trim:

Back to top

Big Ten

Indiana will wear red camouflage uniforms with the players' names replaced by the word "Courage" for the Armed Forces Classic, which will take place on Nov. 11 -- Veterans Day:

• Under Armour's new collar style looks particularly good on Maryland:

Michigan has switched from Adidas to Nike's Jordan Brand, so the Wolverines will be wearing the Jumpman logo for the first time. The school's new set keeps things simple, with a classic look rendered in three colors (additional info here):

Michigan State has adopted Nike's slimmer tailoring template, and it also has added a gold-backed waistband logo, which looks pretty slick:

In addition, the Spartans will be wearing camouflage uniforms for the season-opening game against Arizona on Nov. 11, which is part of the Armed Forces Classic, taking place in Hawaii:

The Spartans also have a new court design:

• Last season Nebraska had a pretty cool-looking throwback alternate. The Cornhuskers have another retro alternate this year, with a nifty-looking script logo on the side of the shorts:

• Small but significant upgrade for Northwestern, which has improved its collar design:

Also, Welsh-Ryan Arena is set for some major renovations, which are due to be completed in 2018.

• Kudos to Ohio State coach Thad Matta, who suited up to model the team's new uniform, which features Nike's new slimmer tailoring silhouette.

Penn State, as you would expect, is going with a very simple, minimalist look:

Wisconsin has switched from Adidas to Under Armour, which has given the Badgers a very clean look:

In addition, the Badgers will be wearing a memorial patch honoring head coach Greg Gard's father, coach Lamont Paris' mother, and former player Ab Nicholas: And Wisconsin also has a new court design:

Back to top

Big 12

• Sharp-looking move by Iowa State, which has changed its chest lettering from the school name to the team name and, more notably, also has changed it from red to gold. Looks great!

The Cyclones also have a new "I-State" gold alternate jersey:

Kansas will wear blue camouflage uniforms with the players' names replaced by the wore "Honor" for the Armed Forces Classic, which will take place on Nov. 11 (additional info here), and also will wear the same uniform on Nov. 18 against Siena.

In addition, the retro alternates that the Jayhawks wore last season are being reprised this year:

• Last year TCU added a "frog skin" pattern to its court design. Now that same pattern has been added to the team's jerseys, which are also being rendered in Nike's new slimmer tailoring cut:

Texas has adopted Nike's new narrower tailoring cut, and it also has made adjustments to its collar and chest lettering.

Back to top

Colonial Athletic

Drexel has added a good-looking gold alternate uni to its wardrobe:

• The dominant color on North Carolina-Wilmington's home uniform is now blue, instead of green. New shoulder trim, too.

Back to top

Big West

UC Davis has added more gold elements to its home uniform:

Back to top

Conference USA

Louisiana Tech's red, white and blue color scheme generally assures that the school's teams will look good, and that's the case with the new basketball uniforms, although the shoulder harness seems unnecessary:

Marshall has adopted Nike's new narrower tailoring silhouette and also is going with a fingerprint pattern on the shorts.

Middle Tennessee State has three jerseys with three different chest treatments -- one with the "MT" logo, one with the team name, and one with the school name (additional info here):

• Is it worth mentioning a school's new practice jerseys? Sure! Here's what they look like for North Texas:

Old Dominion is removing the crown from its chest insignia, and it also has a revised collar design, among other small changes:

UAB is now being outfitted by Under Armour, which has kept the school's basic look largely intact:

UTEP's new set features straightforward white-and-orange uniforms, plus a very good-looking alternate design that fades from a dark midnight blue to a slightly lighter blue at the base of the shorts:

Western Kentucky has color-swapped its chest insignia and uniform numbers and also has scrapped the unnecessary side trim:

Also: No visuals yet, but the Hilltoppers' road uniforms, which had "WKU" on the chest, now will have "Western Kentucky."

Back to top

Horizon League

Detroit Mercy no longer will be known as Detroit, UD, UD-Mercy or UDM -- just Detroit Mercy or the Titans. Those two names are being used on the school's new uniforms, which are now being provided by Adidas:

• Lots of barber pole striping in Illinois-Chicago's uniform set, which includes new red-and-blue designs to go with the white version that the school began wearing last season.

Milwaukee has a new court design:

Northern Kentucky has switched from Nike to Adidas, which has given the school a pretty drastic makeover:

Oakland has added a gray alternate uniform:

Valparaiso is one of several Nike-outfitted schools with a classic-looking chest script, although the yellow lettering may be a tough read against the white background.

• Gorgeous set for Wright State, from the color scheme to the gentle arch of the chest lettering. Even the fingerprint pattern on the shorts looks good.

Youngstown State has a new court design:

Back to top

Ivy League

• Very straightforward new set for Columbia (further info here):

Harvard's new uniforms include the school seal appearing as a watermark on the back:

• Big upgrade for Princeton, which has greatly improved its jersey typography -- or at least that's one uniform columnist's opinion. Many people disagree.

Back to top


• Western New York's four Division I teams -- Canisius, St. Bonaventure, Niagara and Buffalo -- will participate in the Big 4 Basketball Classic at the First Niagara Center on Dec. 17, with all four teams wearing throwback designs that were chosen via a fan vote. Canisius fans had a choice of three uniforms and chose a 1980s design:

Fairfield's red-black color scheme looks great, but the type treatment is so plain -- it almost looks like a junior high rec-league uniform.

• Minor adjustments for Manhattan. The most notable change is that the bold side panels have been eliminated:

• Teeny-tiny change for Marist, which has added black outlining to its uniform numbers.

Monmouth plans to have new uniforms this year, but they've been delayed in production. Meanwhile, the school's arena, formerly known as the Mutlipurpose Activity Center, has a new name: OceanFirst Bank Center.

Niagara will be hosting the Big 4 Basketball Classic on Dec. 17. Fans had a choice of three uniforms and chose a design that the Purple Eagles wore from 1978 through 1982:

• Your friendly uniform columnist always has loved the color combination of green and yellow, so Siena's new uni looks pretty good from here.

Back to top


Bowling Green has added an "NT" memorial patch for Nate Thurmond, who played for the Falcons from 1960 through 1963:

• Western New York's four Division I teams -- Buffalo, St. Bonaventure, Niagara and Canisius -- will participate in the Big 4 Basketball Classic at the First Niagara Center on Dec. 17, with all four teams wearing throwback designs that were chosen via a fan vote. Buffalo fans had a choice of three uniforms and chose a 1980s design:

Central Michigan is one of many Adidas-outfitted schools that will be wearing a shoulder harness this season.

Kent State is adding a new black alternate uniform:

Ohio has added new collar style and some good-looking waistband striping:

• It's not clear why anyone would want to adopt Adidas' much-ridiculed "cummerbund" template, but that's what Western Michigan has done:

Back to top


Coppin State is one of several MEAC schools that have changed from Russell Athletic to Nike. In addition, the Eagles have a new logo.

• No visuals yet, but Howard has changed from Russell to Under Armour.

Maryland-Eastern Shore has changed from Russell Athletic to Nike and also has stopped using its old "UMES" acronym. "We now refer to ourselves as Maryland Eastern Shore, Eastern Shore, or just simply the Shore," says a spokesperson. Unfortunately, they tried to squeeze "Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks" onto their new jersey, which makes for a tight fit.

• Big changes afoot for Morgan State, which is switching from Russell to Adidas and is going with sleeved jerseys.

• No visuals yet, but Norfolk State is changing from Russell to Nike.

North Carolina A&T is another school that's switched from Russell Athletic to Nike, which has given the Aggies a conventional but handsome look:

• No visuals yet, but Savannah State is yet another MEAC school switching from Russell to Nike, so expect to see a new look on the court.

Back to top

Missouri Valley

Bradley has adjusted its front uniform number, changing from outlined numerals to solid:

Missouri State has a new court look, with a bold center-court design that extends almost to the 3-point arcs.

• You have to love a school that wears "Uni" on its unis. That would be Northern Iowa, which has added a color gradient to its shorts this year:

Wichita State's new look features a chest script and contrast-colored shoulder straps.

Back to top

Mountain West

Colorado State's chest lettering seems a bit small. The green-and-gold color scheme still looks great, though (additional photos here):

• Gray uniforms are so played out, and so are shoulder harnesses. But the chest script on Fresno State's new gray alternate is so nice that you can almost overlook those flaws.

• Interesting move by Nevada, which is going with a "Pack" chest script this year. It looks handsome, but the four-letter word feel too small. They would've been better off going with "Wolf Pack."

San Jose State's new set features the team name on the home design and the school name on the road blues:

Utah State's new design features a cleaner collar treatment and a new bull-themed watermark on the back of the jersey:

Back to top


Fairleigh Dickinson's old uniforms had "FDU" across the chest. The new ones have "Knights":

Back to top

Ohio Valley

• No visuals yet, but Belmont plans to unveil a throwback uniform at some point this season. "Coach Rick Byrd will not tell the team any details about them, nor which game they will be for," says a team spokesperson.

Morehead State has change from Nike to Under Armour, which has given the Eagles a sharp new look:

Murray State has added more gold to its side trim, which feels like a slight upgrade.

• For the first time since 1995, UT-Martin will have orange alternate uniforms:

In addition, the Skyhawks have a new court design, which now features Pat Summit's signature:

Back to top

Pac 12

Arizona has a whopping seven new uniforms, most of which have color gradients on the shoulders and shorts (here's some additional info and photos):

In addition, the Wildcats will kick off the season on Nov. 11 by playing in the Armed Forces Classic in Hawaii and will wear camouflage jerseys with "USS Arizona" on the front and "At 'Em Arizona" on the back:

• Adidas has prepared retro-style alternate uniforms for several schools this season, and the design for Arizona State is one of the best:

Cal has adopted Nike's slimmer silhouette and also has jettisoned the dot-pattern design on the side panels:

Oregon is adopting Nike's new slimmer tailoring cut, which looks better from the front than from the back:

• No visuals yet, but look for Oregon State to have a new gray alternate set.

Stanford is adding a new gray alternate uniform this season, but visuals aren't available yet. Stay tuned.

UCLA is adding a beautiful set of retro-styled alternates. Let's hope we see a lot of these as the season moves along.

USC has changed its chest lettering font and also has changed it from vertically arched to straight, which feels like a slight downgrade:

Utah's latest design features a new mountain range theme on the waistband and base of the shorts:

Back to top


Auburn is another school using Under Armour's new template, featuring a new collar style, updated side trim, and other small adjustments (lots of additional info and an excellent before-and-after diagram here):

Auburn also has a new court design, with the dominant color changing from orange to blue (additional info here):

• Last season, Kentucky wore checkerboard trim on the shorts. This year they're upping the ante by adding checkerboard side panels to the jersey:

Mississippi's latest set includes a new red alternate uniform:

Mississippi State has made a minor collar adjustment and also has new shorts striping (additional info here):

In addition, the Bulldogs are one of the several Adidas-outfitted schools that have retro-style alternates this season: Also: The Bulldogs have a new court design that features "Starkvegas" -- the nickname for Starkville, Miss., where the school is located -- printed on the baseline in front of the student section (additional info here).

South Carolina, like so many Under Armour-outfitted schools, has a new collar design, among other small changes:

The Gamecocks also have a new court design (additional info here):

Texas A&M is adding a retro-styled alternate uniform:

Back to top


• Purple and gray work surprisingly well together, at least on Furman's new design:

Mercer's new set has a contrasting shoulder harness:

NC-Greensboro has added a black alternate uniform to the mix. The school's other three uniforms -- white, navy and gray -- are unchanged.

The Citadel has a new court design:

Back to top


Abilene Christian is now being outfitted by Nike, which has given the school basketball net pattern on the back of the jersey.

Houston Baptist has a wide range of options this season, including a modern-looking set, a retro-ish set, and a reprise of its amazing throwbacks with vertically striped shorts.

Lamar has gone back to basics with an old-school design featuring classic block lettering:

Southeastern Louisiana has a new set of gray uniforms with the "SLU" logo:

• No new uniforms or court design for Stephen F. Austin, but the school's arena has a new four-sided high-definition video board:

Back to top

Summit League

Denver has a new court design:

IPFW is now known as Fort Wayne, a change that's reflected on the team's uniforms:

• New green uniforms for North Dakota State, and they're beauties.

In addition, the Bison's arena has undergone extensive renovations and is now know as the Scheels Center. Here's a look at the new court:

South Dakota State is adding the players' names to the back of the jerseys for the first time in the school's history:

Back to top

Sun Belt

Appalachian State's new gold uniforms have a classic look with a handsome chest script, while the new black road design takes a more modern approach, with color gradient on the shorts.

And now, a close look at our brand new gold uniforms!! #AppState #UniWatch

A photo posted by Appalachian State MBB (@appstatembb) on

Here's a closer look at our new black uniforms for the upcoming season!! #AppState #UniWatch

A photo posted by Appalachian State MBB (@appstatembb) on

• Man, that is some seriously clunky chest lettering for Arkansas State:

Georgia State has changed from Nike to Under Armour, which has kept the Panthers' look largely intact:

Little Rock is adding a silver alternate uniform this season. The only available photo so far is this shot of the jersey:

• Gotta love the candy striping on Louisiana-Lafayette's new throwbacks:

UT-Arlington has a new court design, featuring a massive maverick's head extending across most of the floor surface:

Back to top


Jackson State has a new court design.

Southern's new home whites have lots of light-blue color blocking:

Back to top

West Coast

BYU's new uniforms feature a mountain range theme on the shorts, which is similar to what was once worn by another Utah-based team, the Jazz.

• No changes for Gonzaga, but it's worth noting that the Zags will wear their turquoise N7 alternates, which honor Native Americans, for the Nov. 18 game against Bryant.

Pacific has added block shadowing to the numbers on all three of its uniforms this year:

• It's been a few years since Pepperdine had an orange alternate uniform. The Waves are reviving that idea this season, this time with an old-school script.

San Diego's latest look includes a rear watermark of the school seal and an "OJM" memorial patch for team and university chaplain Father Owen J. Mullen, who recently died.

Santa Clara has a new court design. The design is based on the school's historic Mission Church and is believed to be the only use of a campus building on a college basketball floor.

St. Mary's has basically moved from one Under Armour template to another and has scrapped the bold side panels:

Back to top


• The script on Cal State Bakersfield's new gold design is based on the uniforms worn by the school's old Division II title teams.

Chicago State will now wear "Chi-state" on its road jerseys:

Grand Canyon will have two new alternate uniforms this season -- one purple and one gray. The gray one isn't yet ready for public viewing, but here's the purple set:

• No visuals yet, but New Mexico State has switched from Adidas to Under Armour. Expect an unveiling momentarily.

• Lots of jazzy trim for Texas-Rio Grande Valley:

That's it. Did we miss anything? If so, you know what to do.

Paul Lukas will probably have an aneurysm if any more schools join Division I. If you like 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.