Court rushing is a tradition meant for the underdog, the fan base looking to extract every ounce of fun from an otherwise dreary season. When N.C. State upset Duke in 2010 with a mediocre team that toted low expectations and finished 5-11 in conference, an on-court outpouring made sense. Now that State is the preseason ACC frontrunner three years later, it screams desperate for attention.
As a general rule of thumb, if your program is returning to prominence, or even relevance, and has realistic expectations of winning the league, storming the court is not for you. If you’re the league’s preseason favorite and just took down a conference foe without its second most valuable player, bag the pretentious celebration. Bigger games are still to come. This wasn’t your national championship.
Saturday’s shenanigans was a repeat of last season’s Indiana-Kentucky thriller—a resurgent program dethroning No. 1 to mark its rebirth—except without the dramatic buzzer-beater. That moment of spontaneity present in one game and absent in the other is the difference between a memorable celebration and a cheap, premeditated one. Court stormings today have become too much of the latter—overdone and misused.
This was supposed to be the season the shoe was on the other foot, the year opposing fan bases rushed the court following an upset win over N.C. State. But so far, nothing has changed. Despite sitting atop the ACC standings, where they were projected to be in October, the Wolfpack still see themselves as underdogs.
An underdog the rest of the league recognizes with a target on its back.