SAN ANTONIO (WOOD) — The national championship matchup between Michigan and Villanova will unfold on a surface made in Michigan.
“The people at the mill up in Amasa do a phenomenal job,” said Andrew Campbell, director of partnerships and events with Connor Sports.
The courts used in both the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament have been provided by the Upper Peninsula company since 2006.
“For the tournament, we have 21 courts out there,” added Campbell.
They are milled in the Iron County village of Amasa from trees grown in the U.P. and northern Wisconsin.
“The weather, location, those factors come into having those trees in that location produce the best maple in the world.It’s the same trees you get maple syrup from,” explained Campbell.
Each court is made of 397 pieces. Each piece weighs 185 pounds. If you lined them up end-to- end, they’d stretch more than 9 miles.
The process to piece together the court takes roughly four hours, but Campbell says it’s much easier than putting together a fake Christmas tree.
“I won’t mess around with a fake Christmas tree,” Campbell said with a laugh.
The national title isn’t the only thing on the line in the Alamo Dome Monday night. The winner earns the right to keep the finals floor. The Wolverines could bring it back to Michigan.
“(The winner) will do some neat things with it afterwards: use them for fundraisers, turn it into a playing court for home games,” Campbell said. “We’ll keep an eye on that. It’s something we think is very cool and continues the story.”
While tens of millions cheer from home, the people of Amasa will take great pride in seeing their work.
“I don’t know if there’s 100 sports fans in Amasa. I think there’s probably 100 people from the mill watching the basketball game right now – all of us. It’s not often you get to work on something and you turn on the TV and see it right there front and center at such a big event. It’s something we all enjoy,” Campbell said.