Fans rushing the court after a victory in college basketball can be the ultimate sports experience for a 20-something college student but also a slap in the face to programs that wish to be taken seriously. In the midst of conference play, there seems to be a few court stormings every week, which leads to the question: How many of those games will go down in the history as one of the biggest wins in program history? Rushing the court should occur after games that kids will ask their grandparents about years later and ones that are significant enough that ESPN plays highlights of the wins over and over again.
Certain victories are signature wins for a program’s history that are deserving of hundreds of screaming fans to rush the court as the final buzzer sounds. However, too many fans are too eager to try to use a run-of-the-mill victory as an excuse to flood the court with students.
Examples of acceptable court stormings are unranked Indiana defeating No. 1 Kentucky 73-72 on Christian Watford’s last second three pointer last season and unranked TCU getting its first Big 12 victory against No. 5 Kansas 62-55 earlier this month. Indiana had won 28 games in the previous three seasons. TCU was 0-8 in the Big 12 and the Horned Frogs have only had two winning seasons since 2001.
Good teams should not have fans that rush the court because winning should be expected. Fans shouldn’t be surprised when their team wins if their team is any good, which might be the biggest mistake fans make when they rush the court.
Here are my guidelines for storming the court in college basketball:
The game must be at home for the fans that storm the court
If both teams are ranked, the winning team must be ranked at least 15 spots higher
An unranked team defeats a team ranked in the top 15
A top 5 team loses for the first time of the season
There is a game-winning shot against a team who is ranked at least 10 spots lower
Ignore all of the rules above after 3 overtimes. The fans have made an emotional and time investment so they are free to do as they wish. However, the winning team cannot be ranked lower than the losing team
During Week 15 of last year’s college basketball season, it was evident that the Kentucky Wildcats were the premier team in college basketball and UK’s freshman center Anthony Davis was the best player in the country. The Wildcats had a 25-1 record, with their only slip up being a 73-72 loss at Indiana early in December that will forever be remembered for the “Wat Shot.” Kentucky lost only one more game, the SEC Championship, the rest of the season and lived up to expectations by winning last year’s NCAA Tournament.
There is no Kentucky this year. In the past six weeks, the No. 1 team has changed five teams. No one has separated from the pack and any team that enters the top five seems to play hot potato with the No. 1 spot by losing. Last week, four of the top five teams–Indiana, Florida, Michigan and Kansas–in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll lost at least once. Kansas dropped consecutive games for the first time since November 21-22, 2005. Every team in the latest AP Poll has at least two losses, the average number of losses per top 25 team is slightly over four and No. 20 Wisconsin has seven.
So what does it all mean?
A) The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee are going to have a difficult time determining the field of the 68 teams that make it to the Big Dance.
B) Once the teams and seeds are finalized, the national championship is truly up for grabs.
Without further adieu, here are my NCAA men’s basketball power rankings for Week 15:
1. Miami Hurricanes (19-3, 10-0)-Miami is the only team in one of the power six conferences to have a perfect conference record. The Hurricanes’ 10-0 record in ACC play has given Miami a two-game cushion over Duke. The Hurricanes have proven that they can run traditional college basketball powerhouses out of the gym as seen by their 27-point win against Duke and 26-point victory over North Carolina.
2. Indiana Hoosiers (21-3, 9-2)-Indiana let an 11-point lead with seven minutes remaining against Illinois slip away, which could been a major concern for the Hoosiers if it wasn’t for IU’s bounce back win at No. 10 Ohio State. The 81-68 victory was Indiana’s first road win over a ranked opponent since 2002 and kept the Hoosiers atop the AP Poll.
3. Michigan Wolverines (21-3, 8-3)-If Ben Brust’s half-court prayer didn’t force overtime in Madison, Wisc. and eventually lead to a Badgers victory, Michigan would likely be No. 1 team in the country. The Big Ten’s abundance of tournament-bound teams has taken its toll on the Wolverines, who are tied for third in the conference with Wisconsin.
4. Duke Blue Devils (21-2, 8-2)-The Blue Devils have finally gotten their feet under them after losing senior forward Ryan Kelly to a foot injury. Duke lost two of its first three games without Kelly but have rattled off five straight wins as the team sits in second place in the ACC.
5. Michigan State (20-4, 9-2)-Don’t look now but the Spartans are tied for first in the Big Ten with Indiana. The Spartans still have to play Michigan twice as well as Indiana, Ohio State and Wisconsin a second time; if Sparty can survive the gauntlet, they have a shot at a No. 1 seed in March.
6. Florida Gators (19-3, 9-1)-The Gators should not be judged too harshly for their 80-69 loss to Arkansas. Every team has off nights and Florida showed that their lone conference loss was a fluke. They returned to their prior form by beating Mississippi State by 25 on Saturday.
7. Gonzaga Bulldogs (23-2, 10-0)-Barring a horrible loss or two, Gonzaga seems destined for a No. 2 seed with an outside chance to be a No. 1 if the teams in front of them don’t finish the regular season on high notes. The Bulldogs are a major question mark because of their weak conference schedule. They aren’t tested on a nightly basis the way that ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12 or Pac-12 teams are. Gonzaga played against three ranked opponents and lost two of those matchups, which could hint at an early exit in the tournament.
8. Syracuse Orange (20-3, 8-2)-If Syracuse can settle senior forward James Southerland’s eligibility issue, then the Orange may be the favorite to win the Big East and ‘Cuse could match last year’s Elite Eight appearance.
9. Kansas Jayhawks (20-4, 8-3)-Last week may have been the darkest period in the history of Kansas basketball with three losses. Texas Christian University’s first Big 12 win, an unexpected 62-55 upset of the Jayhawks, was sandwiched by Kansas losses to unranked Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. With four teams within one game of the conference lead, Kansas doesn’t have any more room for error in a wide open Big 12.
10. Arizona Wildcats (20-3, 8-3)-Arizona was one of the hottest teams in the country and arguably the best team out West early in the season with wins against No. 5 Florida, Miami (Fla.) and No. 17 San Diego State during its 14-0 start. However, the Wildcats have started to show their true colors and fade from the spotlight with losses to unranked Oregon, UCLA and California.
With three weeks left in college football’s regular season, four undefeated teams sit atop the BCS rankings. Alabama, Kansas State, Oregon, and Notre Dame are all 9-0. The Crimson Tide have held the number one spot in every poll since Week 2 and will be a lock for the BCS National Championship, assuming that they take care of business and defeat #15 Texas A&M at home on Saturday.
But who will play Alabama on January 7? Kansas State has the edge on Oregon in the BCS rankings but the margin is slim. Oregon has the advantage in the AP Top 25, USA Today, and the ESPN.com Power Rankings. After defeating Pittsburgh 29-26 in triple overtime, Notre Dame is fourth. If Kansas State, Oregon, and Notre Dame all win out, who has the best chance to have a shot to play Alabama for the national championship?
@ TCU on Saturday, November 10
@ Baylor on Saturday, November 17
vs. #17 Texas on Saturday, December 1
If quarterback Collin Klein is out for an extended period of time, the Wildcats may be on upset alert with two road games and a matchup against a formidable Texas squad remaining on Kansas State’s schedule. K-State’s offense is the fifth in scoring in the country and the Wildcats need it to put up big numbers in order to have a shot at appearing in the BCS National Championship.
@ California on Saturday, November 10
vs. #14 Stanford on Saturday, November 17
@ #11 Oregon State on Saturday, November 24
The Ducks have the strongest remaining schedule, with two top fifteen teams left for Oregon to play. The top-scoring team in the country, led by senior running back Kenjon Barner, should have no problem outscoring Stanford and Oregon State. Both teams limit opponents to an average of fewer than twenty points per game, which clashes with Oregon’s up-tempo offense. If Oregon can finish the year 12-0, they will likely go to their second BCS National Championship in three seasons.
@ Boston College on Saturday, November 10
vs. Wake Forest on Saturday, November 17
@ #19 USC on Saturday, November 24
Without question, Notre Dame will go 11-0. Boston College and Wake Forest are 2-7 and 5-4, respectively. The Fighting Irish defense, led by linebacker Manti Te’o, have held their opponents to fourteen points or less seven times this season and they have had no issue scoring. However, their regular season finale at USC could be problematic. The Trojans had national title hopes in the offseason and first few weeks of this season but those were squashed with three Pac-12 losses. They would certainly be up to the challenge of spoiling Notre Dame’s national championship hopes in late November. Notre Dame’s remaining schedule is too weak for them to finish second in the BCS. Plus, there is no guarantee that they can finish 12-0. Circle November 24th because Notre Dame could fall in the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Look for Oregon’s metallic helmets and duck-feathered uniforms in Miami, Florida at the Discover BCS National Championship to play Alabama in a battle between an explosive offense and shut down defense. Stay tuned for the next edition of Sports.Eat.Sleep.Repeat.!