The First 68: Everybody court storms

Grant Halverson

Your weekly trip around the college hoops globe examines why court storming superiority talk needs to die, and what Wichita State's status as the nation's last unbeaten means for its postseason prospects.

1-19

By now you know that North Carolina fans stormed the floor following Wednesday night's mild upset of rival Duke. The action expectedly sparked a hoard of tired stories complaining about court storming, and an equally large number of equally tired stories complaining about the people who complain about court storming.

There isn't an aspect of this debate that hasn't been beaten to death at this point, but one thing that really needs to stop happening right now is fan bases declaring that they've "never" stormed the court before.

You have. You all have.

We've covered UNC already, but here's proof that none of the sport's other blue bloods should be thumping their chests right now.

UCLA

Perhaps the last time this debate raged so wildly was in 2010, when former walk-on guard Mustafa Abdul-Hamid nailed a game-winning shot at the buzzer to lift the Bruins to a 1-point win over Washington. Members of "The Den" -- UCLA's student section -- stormed the court at Pauley Pavilion, outraging college basketball purists across the country.

Ironically enough, one of the postgame stories from the thriller included this quote from a UCLA student:

"When is the last time you saw North Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas rush the court?" fourth-year student Mike Leary said. "You would expect that things like this happen."

Glad you asked, Mike Leary.

Kansas

The only time in recent memory that Jayhawks fans have stormed the court inside Allen Fieldhouse was after the Final Four games in 2008...when Kansas was playing in San Antonio.

Apparently it has happened in the wake of a game played at the Phog, however, when fans in Lawrence couldn't help but get got caught up in the excitement of...a 36-point blowout of rival Missouri?

The following game, Kansas played Missouri and beat them 112-76. The Jayhawks were back (they finished the season with two losses in the Final Four, finishing 23-7 on the year).

Kansas fans stormed the court.

As far as I know, it is the last time Kansas fans have stormed the court after a basketball game taking place in Allen Fieldhouse.

Twitter would have NOT taken that well.

Kentucky

No fan base was more indignant over Thursday night's events than Big Blue Nation, but it turns out Kentucky also has a dirty little secret from the '70s it would have preferred to keep hidden.

Kentucky Sports Radio dug up this picture of Wildcat fans storming the floor inside old Memorial Coliseum following an 86-81 win over Tennessee in 1973. It was the final home game of the season for Kentucky, which eventually lost to Indiana in the Mideast Regional final.

Indiana

It's happened multiple times in recent memory, most recently 38 days ago when the Hoosiers upset previously unbeaten Wisconsin.

20140114_gav_bl4_067

Duke

The Cameron Crazies can't play the holier than thou card here, as they actually stormed the court after a 77-75 win over North Carolina when Duke was the No. 1 team in the country. The Tar Heels were ranked third and the win was Coach K's 500th, but still...

Michigan State

The Breslin Center has been stormed a handful of times over the past decade, most recently when the Spartans upset No. 1 Wisconsin back in 2007.


That team had been fighting tooth and nail to keep State's NCAA Tournament streak alive, which kind of puts the moment in context.

Louisville

Cardinal fans will argue this, but the fans wound up on the court after U of L knocked off No. 1 Syracuse in the final game at Freedom Hall back in 2010. After initially ignoring some player pleas for them to storm the court (you can see it near the end of this video), a large enough group of Louisville students made their way onto the floor and hoisted seniors Edgar Sosa and Jerry Smith onto their shoulders. The win locked up an NCAA Tournament bid for an up-and-down Cardinal team that was ultimately bounced by Cal in the Round of 64.

Connecticut

Like Kansas, Husky fans stormed the court in 2011 after watching their team win a national championship hundreds of miles away. They also did it the season before following UConn's upset of No. 1 Texas inside Gampel Pavilion.


Kevin Rudolf is more offensive than anything else going on in that video.

DePaul

Apparently it happened after a win over Pitt two seasons ago, but I really just wanted to point out that this is the top Google image result for "DePaul court storm."

So there it is. Fans and national writers alike aren't going to stop creating "definitive rules for court storming" anytime soon, but the "we've never done it" talk needs to stop forever.

20-24

For the first time in two months, our weekly look at the national scoring race has a new leader.

1. Doug McDermott, Creighton (25.8 ppg)
2. Antoine Mason, Niagara (25.5 ppg)
3. Billy Baron, Canisius (24.9 ppg)
4. Tyler Haws, BYU (23.6 ppg)
5. Aaric Murray, Texas Southern (23.5 ppg)

25-26

My basketball-obsessed father used to claim on a fairly consistent basis that he had never seen former Gonzaga point guard Derek Raivio make a shot. Raivio made 243 three-pointers in his college career and left Gonzaga as the school's 12th all-time leading scorer. Still, my dad did not waver on this.

It was a phenomenon that I experienced firsthand on a number of occasions. The Zags would be on ESPN2, Raivio would be doing nothing, the phone would ring, papa Rutherford would head into another room, and the diminutive Bulldog point guard would promptly go off.

In an age where there are somewhere around seven games on television simultaneously each night or day, you're bound to catch either too much of the positive or too much of the negative of at least one or two of the sport's better players.

Power Rankings: Florida steals top spot

I bring this up because my dad's experience with Raivio is very similar to the one I've been having with Michigan's Caris LeVert for the past two seasons. He's averaging 13.0 ppg and I've seen him do great things on a number of game replays, but he is absolutely atrocious every time I'm watching the Wolverines play live. I also caught him live in both Final Four games last April, and while I have zero recollection of the three shots he made against Syracuse, I vividly remember the one three-pointer he missed against Louisville.

The flip side to LeVert is Indiana's Will Sheehey, who is averaging just over 10.0 ppg for the first time in his Hoosier career, but who has a lifetime field goal percentage of 98.7 percent in live stretches where I'm paying attention. If you want me to watch more this season, you guys are going to have to do some big things pretty quickly here, Will.

27-28

Lost in the hubbub of Boston College's stunning upset of Syracuse is the brutal way in which they were beaten by Georgia Tech six days earlier. After weather had forced the game to be postponed and played on the afternoon of Feb. 13, the Eagles had this happen to them with a 1-point lead and 3.4 seconds to play:


It's a good thing Marcus Georges-Hunt's shot went in, because if it hadn't, that foul call would have been awfully controversial...you know, as controversial as a call in a Georgia Tech/Boston College game can be.

29-45

With that previously mentioned loss by Syracuse, the Wichita State Shockers became the last unbeaten standing in college basketball. Although it's certainly a praiseworthy title, it's also one that has produced just two national champions in over the past 30 seasons.

Here's a look at how college basketball's last undefeated team has fared over the past two decades:

2013 - Michigan (lost in the national championship game)
2012 - Murray State (round of 32)
2011 - Ohio State (Sweet 16)
2010 - Kentucky (Elite 8)
2009  - Wake Forest (Round of 64)
2008 -  Memphis (lost in the national championship game)
2007 - Clemson (NIT)
2006 - Florida (won national championship)
2005 - Illinois - (lost in the national championship game)
2004 - Saint Joseph's (Elite 8)
2003 - Duke (Sweet 16)
2002 - Duke (Sweet 16)
2001 - Stanford (Elite 8)
2000 - Syracuse (Sweet 16)
1999 - Connecticut (won national championship)
1998 - Utah (lost in the national championship game)
1997 - Kansas (Sweet 16)
1996 - Massachusetts (Final Four)
1995 - Connecticut (Elite 8)
1994 - UCLA (First Round)
1993 - Virginia (Sweet 16)

The Shockers now have just three games to go (Drake, Bradley and Missouri State) before becoming the first team since that St. Joe's squad a decade ago to run the table in the regular season.

46-49

This is the time of the year where underachieving teams like to bust out the oft-used college basketball phrase "anything can happen in March." What actually happens in March, is that the teams that have been playing the best basketball from November-February keep winning.

Over the last 25 years, there has been exactly one national champion that failed to capture either its league's regular season title or its conference tournament title. That team is the 1997 Arizona Wildcats, which played in the Pac-10 (now Pac-12) at a time when the conference didn't hold a postseason tournament.

If you want to find the last team to be in a conference with a tournament and fail to win either league championship before going on to win the national title, you have to go all the way back to 1988. That year, Larry Brown's champions from Kansas finished third in the Big 8 standings and lost to Kansas State in the league tournament semifinals.

All told, 34 national champions have played in a conference that crowned both a regular season and tournament champion, and only two of those teams failed to claim either - Kansas in 1988 and the famous Villanova team from 1985.

50-53

Our conference winless watch has been whittled down to four squads:

TCU - Big 12 (0-13)
Southern Utah - Big Sky (0-15)
Illinois-Chicago - Horizon League (0-13)
The Citadel - Southern (0-13)

54-67

With less than a month to go until Selection Sunday, here are four predictions that I feel irrationally confident about.

1) BYU will play in one of the First Four games in Dayton.

It's going to happen. Don't question this.

2) St. John's is going to make the field of 68.

I still don't see the Big East being less than a four-bid league, and the Johnnies are without doubt the hottest team in the conference right now. They'll have a spot in every mock bracket out there if they win at Villanova on Saturday.

3) Harvard is going to win the Ivy League

You might say this isn't exactly going out on a limb, but Tommy Amaker's team took one on the chin at home earlier this month from league co-leader Yale. The Bulldogs haven't lost since a Jan. 25 defeat at Brown, and kept pace with Harvard by winning a 66-65 overtime thriller over Princeton last Saturday. The Harvard/Yale rematch that could decide who wins the 14-game tournament takes place on March 7. Expect the more talented team to find a way to get the job done, and to terrorize another three or four seed a couple weeks later.

4) Despite losing their head-to-head games by a combined 374 points (check that match), Villanova will outlast Creighton for the Big East regular season title

I like the Bluejays more than the average man, but they end the season at Xavier, at Georgetown and at home against Providence, three teams that will be desperate for wins to bolster their postseason prospects. It's hard to see the fighting McDermotts navigating that stretch without at least one slip-up. Villanova also has to go to Xavier, but gets Georgetown, Butler and Marquette at home.

68

Iowa State's Cy is the featured player in your Creepy Mascot Photo of the Week:

20140219_tcb_bc7_319

I just...I just don't like the way he's smiling at me.

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