It’s an activity that many fans dream of, but only so many get a chance to partake in during their lifetimes. It’s storming the floor following a big win by your team, and it’s something that is unique to college athletics.
But it’s also something that we see too often, and in particular, something done under the wrong circumstances.
So far this season, there have been at least six situations (that I can think of) in which the fans of a team has rushed the court after a big win:
- South Carolina after upsetting then-undefeated No. 1 Kentucky
- Providence after thumping then-No. 19 UConn
- Then UConn after defeating then-top-ranked Texas
- Indiana after toppling Minnesota
- Illinois after taking down Michigan State (without Kalin Lucas)
- and then last night Penn stormed the floor after knocking off Ivy League rival, No. 22 Cornell.
But how many of those instances have been warranted? I’d say one, maybe two of them. That one being South Carolina taking down Kentucky. What makes what the Gamecocks did right, you may ask? Well, when thinking about rushing the floor, fans should take a few things into consideration before acting on impulse.
For one, the upset should be over a highly-ranked — and of course, your team should be unranked — and over a team that is highly favored. Also, a fan should take into consideration how successful his or her team has been in recent memory.
That’s why South Carolina is a good example: they have never really been good. The school has only had eight NCAA tournament appearances (the last one being in 2004) and has only sniffed the second weekend of the tourney three times. Add in that Kentucky is a storied program, and was undefeated and ranked first in the nation at the time of the upset, and voila(!) you’ve got an ideal situation to storm the court.
The other instance that you could make an argument for? Providence upsetting UConn. Sure, UConn was only ranked 19th at the time, but let’s face it, Providence isn’t as prominent of a program (only five tournament appearances in the last 20 years) and UConn has itself been a great team in recent years. Plus, Providence shellacked them by 15+ points, so there is some gray area on that one.
Which brings me to UConn, who should be ashamed for rushing then floor when it topped Texas. Let’s ignore for a minute the fact that the Huskies have two titles in the last 11 years, and have made the big dance eight of the last 10 seasons. UConn has been ranked most of the season, so there should be no excuse for such a reaction after defeating ANOTHER ranked team.
The same could be said for the Illini, as much as SouvenirCity will argue otherwise, their fans had no business taking the floor. As I pointed out on Twitter when the upset happened, Illinois is five years removed from an appearance in the NCAA final and has made the tournament nine of the last 10 seasons. Not to mention that Sparty was playing WITHOUT its best player, Kalin Lucas.
It was really a shameful display by UConn’s and Illinois’ fans.
What about Indiana and Penn, you may ask? Well, Indiana has been down lately, but they are still a storied program that is also not far removed from success. And Penn? Well, it has won the Ivy League regular season title six of the last 10 seasons. Oh, and not to mention Penn is the 34th most prestigious division 1 men’s basketball program in the nation, according to some weird ESPN Prestige Rankings that I know nothing about.
I think I’ve ranted on long enough about fans storming the floor. Yeah, it’s a cool thing that a lot of us wish we could do one day, but it’s become an epidemic in the college basketball world… and it loses its uniqueness and appeal when it’s done so routinely in unwarranted scenarios.
So let’s close this out with one last rundown of what criteria should be met before an arena rushes the court:
- Opponent must be highly ranked.
- Your team should be unranked (for most of the season prior to the upset).
- Your team cannot have a recent history of success — for this argument, let’s say the last 10-15 years.
- YOUR TEAM CANOT HAVE A RECENT HISTORY OF SUCCESS. Repetition drives points home.
(H/T to @TallGuyDuke)