Back in December of 2012, I wrote this post outlining six simple rules for court storming in college basketball.
Little did I know that this college basketball season would turn out to be the court-stormingest of all court storming seasons, what with top-5 teams going down in droves on a weekly basis.
With the madness of March now upon us, these rules are more relevant and needed than ever. So I’m bringing them back, as a reminder. Pay attention, student sections of America.
Because, clearly, the wackiness of this season is not going to subside.
Just this past week we saw #1-ranked Indiana fall to Minnesota in The Barn, which led to this court storm.
And last night court storming for the 2012-13 season reached its pinnacle (or nadir, depending on your perspective) when Virginia knocked of Duke. Coach K was none too pleased with what he and his Dukies had to deal with during the ensuing court storm.
You don’t see it in the video, but Coach K reportedly had words with a fan in the aftermath of the court storm. According to Andrew Jones of FOX Sports:
The 66-year-old Krzyzewski stopped and hollered an F-bomb at a fan before security could drag him away. Right behind the Hall of Fame coach were his players, some cursing at fans, some ignoring it and ducking into the hallway. Assistant coach Jeff Capel went back and yelled a few curse words while another assistant coach, Steve Wojciechowski, did his best to quickly usher players into the safe area.
Also via Jones’ report, Krzyzewski went on to express his displeasure with how court storms are controlled – or not controlled – during his post game press conference.
“Whatever you’re doing, you need to get the team off first,” Krzyzewski said about 15 minutes later in the postgame news conference. “Look, celebrate, have fun, obviously you won, that’s cool. Just get our team off the court, and our coaching staff, before the students come on.
(On a related note, kudos to the Virginia student section for delivering a dead ringer of a Coach K big head.)
Frankly, it’s tough to disagree with Coach K here. He’s not being a total curmudgeon and suggesting court storming be outlawed. Rather, he’s offering sensible advice about how to make it a safer process for everyone involved.
Of course, what makes court storming so fun and exciting is the immediacy and the emotion of it. Would waiting a minute or two for the teams to get off the court dampen the fervor? Perhaps. Still, instituting some kind of order would surely be better than the current state of court storming anarchy. It’s not unreasonable to consider it a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off, whether it be a serious injury or fisticuffs between player and opposing fan.
When To Court Storm … And When Not To
Whatever is done, court storming must stay. On that, I’m sure we all agree. But what we may not agree on is when court storming is appropriate.
In both of the above cases – unranked foes toppling top-ranked blue bloods – court storming was warranted. What about cases that are less clear?
Unfortunately, over the past five years or so, it has seemed that anything above a win over Northwest Central Island State warrants an enthusiastic crowd to file from its seats to the playing surface. Too many fan bases and student sections feel entitled to rush the court whenever they choose.
Well, they’re not.
Since many schools are beginning to disrespect the importance and gravitas of one of college basketball’s greatest and most entertaining visuals after an epic victory, I have decided to lay out the ground rules that all schools and student sections should follow when it comes to storming the court.
Rule #1: The opposing team must be ranked in the Top 25
While beating a team like North Carolina is always a marquee victory for any school, the win shouldn’t be as highly touted if the Tar Heels are having an off year. Yes, even if you’re the College of Charleston and may only beat the Heels one time in your school’s history.
If your opponent is unranked, a court storming isn’t warranted.
Rule #2: Your team cannot be ranked in the Top 25
If your squad is receiving enough recognition and playing well enough to be nationally ranked, then you are to remain in the bleachers after a big victory.
Even if you beat a top five team on the final shot of the ball game, the excitement and jubilation you experience needs to be controlled from your seat.
With the way college basketball is these days, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that a ranked team takes down a top-tier opponent at home.
Rule #3: Schools with an NCAA Championship are not permitted to storm the floor
That’s right, I’m talking about you Indiana, North Carolina, Syracuse, and any other school rich in basketball tradition that has stormed the court.
I don’t care how bad your season has been, how much your program has suffered for years, or how good the opponent was, if you’re a school that has a banner hanging on the inside of your arena you should never rush the floor. Ever.
You should be expecting to win big games over top teams, not surprised.
Rule #4: If your team has reached the NCAA tournament three consecutive years, stay off the floor
This is a rule for some, not all schools. Really, all BCS schools should follow this rule while mid-major teams are the exception.
Typically if you’ve been able to make it to the NCAA tournament for three consecutive seasons, it means you’ve won some pretty significant games against formidable opposition, at least for those major conferences.
It is a little different story for the mid-major conferences, who could simply win three straight conference tournament championships and not have one significant win in all three seasons. If your team gets in because of good tournament play and has yet to beat a top 25 squad, feel free to rush the floor.
Rule #5: BCS schools never rush the court after a win over a mid-major conference opponent
I understand that there are some really good mid-major schools out there. Gonzaga is always a tournament team; Butler has made it two NCAA title games in the past four years; and Xavier is no stranger to the national polls.
However, even if these teams are in the top five, a team like Rutgers shouldn’t be headed to the court after a victory.
Bigger schools have more resources and typically more students. A win over a mid-major team, no matter how good, shouldn’t impress you enough to storm the court.
Rule #6: If you meet the qualifications, don’t half-ass your celebration
Now, if your team has met all of the qualifications and the game has ended up being a complete shocker to the world, run wild in celebration to experience the joy of a major victory on a national level with the players.
But when you rush the court, there is still one rule you need to follow: don’t half-ass your approach to storming the court. Not sure what I mean? Check out how bad Seton Hall fans failed in their attempt to storm the floor:
A good court-storming should look more like this:
Well done, Penn State. Well done.
If college basketball fans and student sections across the land would adhere to these simple guidelines it would bring back some of the glory and significance to the celebration that is rushing the floor.
I’m not trying to rob students of their fun, I’m trying to bring some sanity and tradition back to college hoops.