Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rushing the Court: Appropriate if NU beats Illinois? Too Common in Sports? Some Thoughts...

I was pleased to see the Northwestern fans rush the court after the upset of Purdue. I was pleased because it was a meaningful win and because I remember rushing the court after the Michael Jenkins game as one of the best moments of my NU fandom. When a team beats a top-10 opponent, even one who is struggling, that is without a doubt a court-rush worthy win.

On the other hand, I was surprised to see Michigan rush the court after beating UConn and Indiana rush the court after beating Minnesota. Michigan was actually a two-point favorite over UConn, and while Indiana isn’t great, Minnesota isn’t exactly a powerhouse either.

Is rushing the court becoming too common? Were the Michigan and Indiana fans jealous of those of us at Northwestern? Would Penn State rush the court if they beat the Wildcats? Should NU fans rush the court if the ‘Cats beat Illinois on Saturday?

All those questions are worthwhile, but I want to focus on the last one. The Wildcats host their instate rival on Saturday and it has been 6 years since NU beat the Illini in hoops. In that time Illinois has beaten the ‘Cats in every possible way. They’ve hammered the ‘Cats, they’ve won close games, and last year in Evanston they literally stole a win.

That victory drought would probably be enough for some people to say rush after the win, but I’m not sure that alone is enough. Rushing the court should be special. It will be less special if it is done after consecutive wins. Also, while Purdue was #6, Illinois is unranked. Apparently beating an unranked team is enough for Indiana to rush the court, but, believe it or not, winning should be more of an expectation in Evanston than Bloomington this year.

That said, I do think one circumstance exists which would dictate a court rushing after a victory over Illinois. That would be a last second game winning shot. If the game is the reverse of last season, in other words NU wins on a buzzer-beater, then I say rush the court. Part of the fun of rushing after the Jenkins shot was the spontaneous joy of victory. If at any point the same type of victory occurs, I’m all for a court storming. Overall, though, I think rushing the court should be saved for beating teams like #6 Purdue, not a UConn team you’re favored against or a Minnesota team which might not make the tournament.

Honestly, I think court/field rushing has become too common because people want to get on ESPN. As I said above, I think rushing the field of play is cool when it’s spontaneous. When football fans are waiting on the sidelines to rush I think that’s a bit ridiculous. I must say, though, I’ve come to enjoy what has become an NU football tradition of taking the field after winning the season’s last home game, expected or not, to congratulate the team. With NU ending the basketball season on the road, I’m not sure the a similar circumstance is possible, but if NU is a sure tournament team on March 3rd after they beat Chicago State, then maybe a similar event can occur.

What does everybody else think? Rush Saturday? Too Common?


Charles said...

under no circumstances should the court be rushed on saturday. Game is a must win and they should win.

Nomaan said...


You get to do it once a year. The one time NU did -- after beating Purdue -- was great and totally well-timed. (That's even if Purdue had its third straight loss. You beat a team ranked that high for the first time in 30 years at home, you rush.)

Beating Illinois, an unranked team we nearly had, and should have had, on their court, would be cause for ridicule.