Celebrations in college basketball have long been taken for granted that is until Mike Krzyzewski decided to poo-poo on Virginia Tech's Zabian Dowdell for his exuberance in the wake of the Hokies' win in Durham. This of course was exposed as total hyprocrisy when Duke knocked off Clemson on Thursday. I really cannot think of a time, in all my years of watching basketball where the way the players and fans celebrate big wins. So as a public service let me off the official Tar Heel Fan Guidelines for Postgame Celebrations.
Fans storming the court
In this blogger's humble opinion, storming the court by fans has become a bit overdone. It seems like every time I see highlights from around the country the fans are storming the court for what might be considered trivial wins. Storming the court should be a rare occasion, sort of like Christmas, which makes it a special occurrence thus increasing it's meaning. Here are a few simple rules on when it is appropriate for the home team fans to flood the court following a win.
- When your team scores a significant upset. Such an upset is defined as an unranked team knocking off a top 10 team or being ranked below 15th and knocking off someone in the top three. It is also permissable to do when beating the #1 team in the nation unless you are also ranked in the top 10.
- When you beat your chief rival. If UNC beat Duke, then storming the court is permissable. However, if UNC beats NC State who is considered a big rival but not as big as the rivalry with Duke, then storming the court would be wrong.
- When you clinch the regular season title in your conference. This is getting to be less important but still cause for celebration among the fan base.
Under no circumstances should you storm the court if you beat a team ranked lower than you not matter how exciting the win might seem at the time. Doing so actually raises the perception of your opponent or the importance of the game to an undesirable level.
Bench clearing mob scenes by the players
There are two situations which permit for the entire team to rush onto the court and mob their teammates in a entanglement legs and arms which may or may not lead to some catastrophic injury to a key player. The first is a buzzer beater win which for obvious reasons usually results in a major emotional outburt from the players. The second is winning the national championship. Let's be honest, winning the conference tournament is not reason enough to clear the bench and neither is any win in the NCAA Tournament except the title itself.
Individual celebrations and general acts of mockery directed at your foe
Let's call this the Dowdell Provisio. Players caught up in the moment sometimes get a little crazy. Most of the time it stays within reason with some jumping up and down perhaps the occassional puff of the jersey. This can be seen as exuburence or in the eyes of certain coaches a classless act. Things like stomping on a logo is probably over the line a bit. The situations which call for the more taunting-like behavior are rival games or more better yet revenge win on the opponents home court especially when said home crowd can be exceptionally obnoxious. In such cases it is a bit of fun for the players to "stick it" to the fans and strut a little at the expense of the other team.
The "Overrated" Chant
This is logically speaking a stupid thing to say. If you just got done beating a higher ranked team and you say they are overrated then you are essentially saying your big win is really not. What's more by saying the team you are beating is overrated means your team is worse than you thought. If a team is #1 and you beat them but break out the overrated chant then logically speaking you are saying they are not really #1 and therefore you did not really beat the #1 team. In short it is a asinine chant and one that should be banned altogether,
Act like you have been there before
And if none of the above guidelines fit the situation then one should simply act as though this is not the first time you have experienced a win of this magnitude. Entailed in that is a modicum of self control and class. The controlled type of celebration speaks to your own winning tradition by raising the standard of what brings out a huge reaction to a win. It also speaks to being on top in general. Of course I also realize this guideline is not much help to many teams since for all intents and purposes they are still trying to get there which means they will continue to flail around like beating a 10-8 conference foe is a big deal. Whatever the case every effort should be made to at least treat regular season wins like they are regular season wins.