It was a big weekend of upsets in college basketball, as two of the top five teams went down in stunning fashion on the road Saturday. During the afternoon, the Michigan Wolverines lost to Wisconsin Badgers. A short time after that, the Kansas Jayhawks were beaten by Oklahoma Sooners. Late at night, after a five overtime thriller, the #11 Louisville Cardinals were beaten by Notre Dame.
In all three cases, excitable fans chose to charge the court to celebrate their team’s success. This raised some age old questions about whether their actions were out of bounds. What, exactly, is the right time for fans to storm the court after a big win? Should there be established rules govenoring the act?
Perhaps beating a team in overtime after tying the game on a halfcourt heave is exhillerating. Maybe surviving a multiple overtime slugfest is exciting, or beating a team you haven’t beaten in forever is motivating. For me, conventional wisdom has always held that beating a top three team at home while being unranked or lower ranked set forth the ideal condition for a court storm.
Such a matchup is a true “David vs. Goliath” affair, where a win by the home team is usually widely unexpected. As with anything, there should be some tiny measure of etiquette involved. WIsconsin and Oklahoma fans were more than justified given their situations. In the Sooners’ case, the effort itself was feeble, as it took multiple minutes to fill the floor. Early Sunday morning, however, there was no reason for the Fighting Irish fans to rush the court. Despite the elongated game and exciting result, Louisville has started to look like an average team. They’re a long way from number one.
If everyone rushed the court for every win over a top ten team, an exciting act would become passe. During this season, that’s started to become the case. It used to be you could count the number of court stormings during a given season on two hands. Now, there seems to be multiple storms a week, even featuring teams which are ranked. The mindset on the act seems to have changed. Everyone wants to join the team on the court, get on television and jump up and down, even if it’s not always under the proper circumstances.
Recently, Nicole Auerbach of USA Today compiled an interesting column which details the act, and included interviews with plenty of coaches and players. While many coaches, like Miami’s Jim Larranaga, Kentucky’s John Calipari and Villanova’s Jay Wright all agreed with court storming for various reasons, former Duke star Jon Scheyer said perhaps storming has become too prevelant this season. The most important point of the piece as a whole? Court storming, no matter how you view it, is something which is going to be a part of the game and will likely remain uncontrolled.
Yet, shouldn’t there be some respect for traditional, long standing guidelines? It might seem like a respectful gesture for a team to get rushed, but in some cases, enough is becoming enough, especially when the classical definitions for an upset are not being followed. Unless your team beats a top three opponent in shocking fashion, discretion should be the better part of valor. To prevent the act from being diluted or someone from getting seriously injured, the NCAA might have to take steps to limit the act. Now, thanks to this year’s wildness, there should be defined, outlined rules on the matter. Specifically, these rules should govern the terms when its permissible to rush the floor.
Raw spontaneity might suffer a tad, but this is the only way to preserve an exciting act for fans and enhance its integrity within basketball for the long run.
After watching a wild weekend, what say you? Does court storming need some established rules, or is the act simply a fun time no matter when it happens?
To send any ideas for future question of the week topics or leave your opinion on this issue, find Max DeMara on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax and let him know what you’ve been questioning!