Armando Bacot injury: Final Four court had ‘no loose floorboards’ where UNC star hurt ankle, per manufacturer

The manufacturer of the Final Four court in New Orleans said  it had no structural issues where star UNC player Armando Bacot re-injured his ankle in a pivotal moment of the 2022 NCAA Tournament championship game.

The incident occurred in the final minute of Monday’s title game, with UNC trailing by one point; Bacot collapsed to the floor and turned the ball over on a scoring attempt. That allowed Kansas to take over possession and forced Bacot to hop on one leg to the other end of the floor. Officials stopped the game after he crossed midcourt so he could leave the floor for treatment. 

North Carolina ultimately lost 72-69 to the Jayhawks without Bacot on the court for the game’s final moments.

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A viral video of the injury showed a floor panel appear to depress under the weight of Bacot’s right foot, raising questions about the structural integrity of the court.

Connor Sports, which manufactured the Final Four court, said the floor is designed to absorb energy; moreover, it insisted there were no loose floorboards where Bacot reaggravated his ankle (following his initial injury in the Tar Heels’ Final Four victory over Duke).

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“The court’s absorption characteristics are by design, and there were no loose floorboards or panels within the court, as confirmed by an expert technician who was present at every game of the men’s Final Four to ensure the quality and safety of the floor,” Jeff Krejsa, vice president of marketing and strategy for Connor Sports, told ESPN.

Krejsa’s statement came via email after ESPN asked for comment from the NCAA, the network reported.

“The championship floor, as is all the floors, is a panel system engineered for athlete safety and comfort, achieved by its ability to absorb impact forces as an athlete jumps or pivots abruptly,” Krejsa said, “while also ensuring that other players nearby are not negatively affected.”

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ESPN also reached out to North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham, who said the school did not address any court issues with the NCAA.

“We played two games over that space,” Cunningham told ESPN via text message. “Just an unfortunate thing at a critical time.”

Bacot, who finished the game with 15 points and 15 rebounds, did not mention the court when discussing his ankle injury following the game.

“I thought I made a good move,” Bacot said. “I thought I really got the angle I wanted. I thought it would have been an easy basket. And then I just rolled my ankle.”