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Column: Quantifying court-storming

By Dan Agabiti
On February 17, 2013

Let every student section of every college and university with a Division 1 basketball team take note; rushing the court is not something to be taken lightly. You don't just storm on to the court after a big win against a top-five opponent. Just any old upset of a rival doesn't automatically give you grounds to run on to the court after a win.
As Reuben said in "Ocean's 11," "This sort of thing used to be civilized." But now, it's chaos. We need rules before anarchy ensues and everybody is rushing the court after every win.
The first thing to consider when pondering whether or not an upset is storm-worthy is the victor's tournament presence. If the winning team has won a National Championship, or has even been to a Final Four, within the past six seasons, that team has lost its right to rush the court. I don't care if you're VCU and you made the the Final Four by a total upset, it shouldn't happen.
A Final Four presence or a National Champion means that your team has been elite at some point in recent memory. Elite teams don't get that excited for a win in the regular season.
Going off of that, if your team has been to the NCAA Tournament in at least two of the past five seasons, you shouldn't be storming the court. For crying out loud, your team has consistently been one of the top 68 teams in the country. Please act like it.
Finally, if you're one of the "Blue Bloods," then you can never rush the court, regardless of circumstance. That means if you're Kentucky, Duke, UNC, Kansas, UCLA, Indiana or even UConn, your team is so successful historically that it's become an integral part of the culture of college basketball. If that's the case, then you don't act like an Atlantic Sun team just because you beat 'Cuse at the XL Center-that wasn't even veiled.
The second thing to consider is the quality of the opponent. The losing team must be one of the top five teams in the country in both the Associated Press and the USA Today Coaches' Polls. There must be little to no debate that the team an underdog just beat is one of the premier teams in the nation.
But, even if the previous criterium is met, the heavily favored team can't have lost any game within the past three weeks. The team being upset has to be a juggernaut, a powerhouse, a team that takes down anyone and everyone. Court-storming is a right and the only time an underdog may exercise that right is when an elite team-not just a good or even a great team-loses on the court of the unlikeliest opponents.
Something else to keep in mind is that there have been times when a Top-Five loses a key game toward the end of a poll cycle and goes to the court of an inferior opponent already wounded. If an upset occurs at such a time, the winning team may not storm the court. This means that UConn (already a functional Blue Blood) should not have rushed the court against Texas back in the '09-'10 season after the Longhorns had already lost to Kansas State five days earlier.
Lastly, you have to consider the history between the underdog and the favorite. If the both teams would consider their opponent a rival of theirs, and the win total on both sides is fairly close throughout their meetings, then nobody should be storming the court. If you've beaten that team enough times before, it shouldn't be a functional holiday just because you won like you did 20 other times. It's expected that the games be close regardless of how the teams are ranked, that's why it's called a rivalry.
Did I miss anything? When is it permissible for a team to rush the court?
Follow Dan on Twitter @DanAgabiti


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