by Matthew Sheridan
On Tuesday, Jan. 22, while the Men’s Basketball team was on the court finishing their victory over the No. 5 Louisville Cardinals, the students and fans of ’Nova Nation were creeping closer and closer to the court, preparing to participate in the time-honored college basketball tradition of storming the court to rejoice with the players and signify a big win over a favored opponent.
However, as soon as the celebration began, so did the debate as to whether or not this was a justified reaction from the Villanova fans after knocking off a fellow Big East program.
Popular Big East basketball writer Adam Zagoria remarked on Twitter, “Do these Villanova kids know Louisville is No. 5, not No.1?”
On the popular Villanova basketball fan website, VUHoops.com, many commenters expressed a similar sentiment that this reaction was too over-the-top and instead was an admittance of the depths that our program had reached.
They looked at this storming of the court at the Wells Fargo Center as something that a lowly program that would never expect to win such a game would do. According to them, programs with as much success on the national stage as Villanova should not have lowered its standards to such an act.
If one looks at the past couple of weeks in college basketball, it seems as if now, more than ever, storming the court following a win is becoming an every-night occurrence.
Take the recent events of the North Carolina State basketball program. Upon defeating then-No. 1 ranked Duke on Jan. 12, the Wolfpack fans stormed the court. This is standard procedure for knocking off the top-ranked team in the country and one that is a rival, as Duke is to NC State.
Then in their next game, the 14th ranked NC State team lost on a last-second tip in, courtesy of Maryland’s Alex Len, leading the Terrapin fans to storm their home floor. Two games later, NC State, now ranked 18th in the country, fell to the lowly Wake Forest Demon Deacons, prompting the Wake fans to storm their own court.
Then, unbelievably in their next game at home against in-state rival UNC, who was unranked, the NC State fans stormed their own court as they beat both Duke and North Carolina for the first time in 10 years.
This was an absolutely crazy string of events that ran the entire gamut of possible court stormings. There was the upset over the No. 1 team (NC State over Duke), the buzzer-beater win (Maryland over NC State), the bad program with a seemingly big upset (Wake Forest over NC State) and the win over a previously dominant rival (NC State over UNC).
However, the question needs to be asked– Is storming the court becoming too common in college basketball? In the time that all this chaos happened, there were numerous other court stormings across the nation.
These included Villanova’s two against Louiville and Syracuse, as well as LaSalle’s storming the court after beating No. 8 Butler and No. 25 Miami after blowing out No. 1 Duke at home, among others.
Many people are saying that this is happening way too often, and all of these student bodies storming the court are taking away from the overall excitement of the act. To an extent, it can be said that this is true.
In the case of Wake Forest running on the court after beating NC State, beating the 18th ranked team is not something worthy of storming the court. Yes, your program has been bad lately. Yes, they are nationally-ranked, but they are the No. 18 team.
If this is the standard that your program has for itself, then you might as well make yourself at home in the Sun Belt conference with the South Alabama Jaguars, not in the ACC with the likes of Duke, UNC and other perennial powers.
Also, to their own discredit, the NC State fans deserve to be admonished for storming the court against the unranked UNC Tar Heels. Nothing says “little brother school” like storming the court after a game in which your team is a 7.5 point favorite over an in-state rival.
It is somewhat understandable though. As many members of the Nova Nation can attest that storming the court is astoundingly fun. If you are at the game watching your school take down a rival opponent or heavy favorite, the emotions are coursing through your veins.
You are not worried about people at home complaining about how storming the court is making a negative statement about the current position of your program. You are worried about running out on the court, completely neglecting security guards as you go celebrate a big win for your school with your friends and with the players on the team.
While many people complain about what they believe to be inappropriate stormings of the court and try to codify storming the court with silly and subjective rules, they just cannot understand what it is actually like to be in the student section and go absolutely nuts over a big win for your team and your school.
Rushing out on the court is one of the least objective things imaginable, as it relies solely on the emotions felt by a bunch of college kids.
While many Villanova fans hope not to have the need to be storming the court any time soon, the fact of the matter is that these were extremely big wins for our program, and were completely justified, as were many of the rushes of the court that we have seen in the college basketball world lately.
If you feel it is a big win, then it is a big win, and it deserves any celebration that comes with it.
After all, storming the court is fan enthusiasm personified, and that is what college basketball is all about.