In a matter of days, it will be the most famous piece of hardwood in the world. If the road to the Final Four took the Badgers to Dallas, the road to being NCAA champions is paved in maple.
“It is a one-of-a-kind floor,” said Bruce Haroldson, technical manager for Connor Sports Flooring.
Connor Sports Flooring has been building the basketball courts for the NCAA Final Four since 2006. They use maple cut from forests in northern Wisconsin and Michigan. It takes two weeks to turn it into what millions of people will see as the Final Four is broadcast around the world.
“They take a tremendous amount of effort and energy because they know it is going to be seen by everybody,” Haroldson said.
While Haroldson has directed the construction of eight Final Four basketball courts up till now, this year’s floor carries special meaning. It has everything to do with Haroldson’s home address.
“I live in Hartland, Wisconsin,” Haroldson said.
Haroldson’s family is deeply rooted in Badger tradition. His daughter and his father-in-law are both graduates of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Haroldson is a graduate of UW-Whitewater.
The location of Connor Sports' mill also provides a Wisconsin connection. It is located just across the Wisconsin border in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Haroldson said there are many Badgers fans that helped to build the court and are pulling for a Wisconsin win.
“We’re all rooting for it. Actually, I got an email from one of my co-workers, and they said, 'Our vote is if Wisconsin wins it, we’ll give them the floor,'” Haroldson said.
Traditionally the school that wins the tournament purchases the floor. Some schools have incorporated portions of the court into their school's court or practice facility. Other schools have sold pieces of the court.