Photo credit: Getty Images – Steve Dykes
The Huskies are practicing and I just completed a tour of Matthew Knight Arena thanks to Oregon sports information director Chris Geraghty.
The $227 million building, crated in part due to the hefty contributions from Nike founder Phil Knight (below) is very impressive. It’s better than some NBA arenas.
The place has two large club rooms for sponsors, donors and exclusive clientele, plus several other smaller meet-and-greet rooms for private gatherings. Didn’t get a chance to see the four suites or the men’s and women’s locker rooms.
The concourse is roomy. There’s 15 concession stands and a team shop.
The arena seats 12,364, which is a considerable upgrade from McArthur Court’s 9,087 capacity. Supposedly the foot print of the new building is four times the size of Mac Court.
Not only is it bigger, there’s more bells and whistles, including s four video boards and four stats boards.
Got to admit, I’m not crazy about the floor. It’s a little funky for my taste and it’s an odd choice considering the rest of the motif inside the building is traditional.
There’s lots of pictures of legendary Oregon players and coaches.
The men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball are the only varsity sports teams inside the building. The school also has an acrobatics & tumbling squad that uses the facility. Everyone else is still at Mac Court.
I roamed around the training facility and spotted UW forward Desmond Simmons walking on a treadmill. Next to the weight room there’s a hydro therapy pool.
I caught a few moments of Washington’s practice from the second level and noticed the midcourt line isn’t visible from the stands. I’ll ask coach Lorenzo Romar about that in a few minutes.
In addition to the main court, the building has two full-length courts.
Oregon will host a NCAA tournament regional in Portland in 2012 and the school will likely submit bids to hold first and second-round games at the new building, which is probably the finest college facility on the West Coast.
Saturday’s 1 p.m. game against Washington will be the third game and the first Matt Arena sellout for the men’s basketball team. Oregon (11-11, 4-6 Pac-10) is 2-1 in its new digs.
February 4, 2011 at 12:07 PM
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