Tag Archives: duke

Dinner: Court Storming: An Unnecessary Trend

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Last night the University of Virginia beat the number 3 team in the land, Duke. For the 4th time this year, Duke players walked off as students from the opposing school ran onto the court.

What goes on in these court stormings? I can never tell.

Unfortunately, I have missed every chance I have had (count 3) to rush onto a football field or basketball court in my 5 years at two universities.

This is gaining some coverage because Coach Krzyzewski complained about player safety. This is a fair claim, but not the focus. So what’s my gripe? The fact that every single time a top 10 team loses to an unranked team, students want to have a pow-wow (though I rather call it something else) in the middle of the court.

The fact of the matter is, students go to games drunk. They cheer on their team through ups and downs. They are emotionally invested in the game. But it should stop there. Watch any court rushing and you will see tons of kids piling into the middle with their hands in the air. After the initial group has formed an unmovable cluster in the middle, people add on to the peripherals. And I just can’t understand why.

It’s downright stupid. Is it because kids just want to be on the court? Go to the arena when there is no game, you can walk all over it. Maybe kids want to be close to the players? Well, these are student athletes, so chances are they are walking around campus or going to class.

In some sort of ephemeral moment of glory, these kids crowd the players preventing the media from really letting these mostly unknown players have their shining moment. Will any Virginia player (besides Joe Harris) be drafted? Probably not. Let those players get the facetime and 15 minutes of fame they deserve.

Inevitably, this “court storming” trend needs to stop. It seems likely that sometime soon, a drunken student will fall, get trampled, and eventually die, like some Guns n’ Roses concert or Wal-Mart on Black Friday.

If you beat the #1 team in the nation, I have no problems rushing to greet the heroes. Minnesota, go ahead and storm your court after beating Indiana, it was your defining moment. Same for you Illinois, especially after a last minute layup. But Virginia? Really? Duke has lost 4 times now. 4! And each time, the opposing team has stormed the court. The top 10 teams combined have now compiled over 30 losses. Add on any in-conference rivalries and we are looking at 30 to 40 times students will gather on the court, and not every venue is as sober or as safe as Virginia.

The SEC has fined students for rushing the court since 2004. But the fines won’t stop the students. These kids need to realize that if you want to celebrate, go to a bar, hit the quad on campus,  or outside the arena. Don’t rush the court and stand there. Chances are, the players will come to the student section and give the attention they deserve.

Lunch: Damian Lillard is For Realsies

This year’s rookie class is full of surprises (AP/Michael Conroy)

Let’s set the record straight: some of us here at The OrangeWedge have a gambling problem. Well, it’s not quite a problem yet, but over the course of our sportsbetting educations, we may not always make the best decisions.

Let’s take a late night this past summer, where I was looking at NBA Future bets, specifically Rookie of the Year. Did I have a good knowledge about how this year’s crop of freshman would pan out? Absolutely not. But Austin Rivers was going off +1800, and for some reason it was looking sexy. “All the focus will be on Anthony Davis,” I told myself (I’m delusional). “Did you see his winner against UNC? The kid is real.” It’s safe to say my money is gone, as Rivers is averaging just 6 points in 23 minutes per game this season. A disappointing effort, but Rivers is 20 and he’ll have time to develop.

So who’s the Rookie of the Year? Right now, some kid from Weber State is the clear cut winner for an award that LeBron, Durant, and Chris Paul have all won in the past. Have you met Damian Lamonte Ollie Lillard?

Damian Lillard grew up in Oakland, and I’ll let you write the next few sentences describing what a childhood in Oakland entails. The only difference is that Lillard’s father was a pillar in the community, keeping not just Damian out of trouble but other kids in the neighborhood as well. Despite positive influences and prep school success, Lillard was just a two-star recruit and received no major offers.

He ended up at Weber State, and spent the next three years taking dookies on the Big Sky conference. Check it out:

Bonus: Not only did Lillard post that video, another user commented with a question, and Lillard answered. What athlete does that? Lillard is also active on Twitter (@Dame_Lillard) and is constantly having giveaways and opportunities to interact with fans.

He finished his career as a Weber Wildcat 2nd in career scoring to the legendary Bruce Collins. Bruce, played for four years to Lillard’s 3, however, and went pro in 1980 where he was drafted by….wait for it…the Portland Trail Blazers. Feel free to geek out.

Lillard hasn’t transformed the Blazers with his presence  but his athleticism gives them a key piece to compete with the Westbrooks and Currys they see so often in the West. Lillard has the chops to be in their conversation, as he has quickly adapted to the speed of the game and can attack off the dribble effectively. There are not going to be any stats in this article (sorry, Daryl Morey), but know that barring injury, Lillard is your ROY. And he’s a good guy. And my Rivers bet is ruined.

Disagree? Let us know? E-mail us or tweet at us @TheOrangeWedge!

Breakfast: March Madness, February Frustration

I don't' know what to believe anymore (CHUCK BURTON / AP)

I don’t’ know what to believe anymore (CHUCK BURTON / AP)

It’s February 24th, and that means next month is March. Yes, the Madness will be right on schedule, but before we get there, we have to clear the air on this 2012-13 season. And by all means, it hasn’t been pretty. The talent level in college basketball has waned somewhat in the past 5 years or so, but not all will view this as a negative. Some years we have teams that are clearly better than the rest, and we’re forced to drag our feet through January and February, waiting for a conclusion we all saw coming. If you can predict how the last month of this season is going to unfold, well, you’re a very special boy.

While conference play still has a few weeks left, experts have already begun to speculate which teams will top each bracket. As of right now, Joe Lunardi’s four number one seeds are Indiana, Duke, Florida, and Gonzaga. That’s right, Gonzaga.

But my problem isn’t with Gonzaga. Well, it kind of is. My problem is that the only true top seed on that list is Indiana.

When the entire nation is as wide open as it is right now, it clouds the radar pretty effectively. Teams play well, then play bad, we can’t get a true measure of a team’s potential.

Would this be a bad time to mention the Miami Hurricanes? This is where I’m going with this one. This Hurricanes team can take the floor against any roster in the nation. Truthfully, yesterday would have been better to be so brash, before they lost by 15 at Wake Forest. But this is still a dangerous team, and despite the loss Saturday, still deserving of a number one seed.

Miami was by no means undefeated coming into yesterday’s upset (we’ll get to that later). But it was their first loss in ACC play, which I consider to be far more meaningful. My one problem with RPI, and measuring a team’s season, is that it doesn’t taken into account a season’s worth of growth. Teams get stronger as the season progresses, and a ranking system that reflects that would certainly help. Gonzaga’s top 3 RPI wins (Oklahoma, Kansas St, OK St.) all came in 2012. Do they really help a team in March? Miami has 5 ACC road wins thus far in 2013, including at UNC and ranked NC State. If they go into Duke next Saturday and silence the Cameron Crazies, Miami can officially win anywhere.

When I look for net-cutting candidates, I look at the close games in hostile environments like those Miami has played in. Tourney games always play close, and the experience of this team is one of their strengths. Speaking of experience, did I mention there were 6 seniors on this team? Duke has 4; Gonzaga, Indiana and Florida all have 3. Does this really matter? I’d like to think so. But it’s these particular seniors on this particular Miami team that I like. Let me direct your attention to this story.

TL;DR: Chris Bosh was at Miami playing with some of the players. Canes coach Larranaga asked Bosh how they were, and he said they didn’t work hard enough. Larranaga then took Bosh to the players where he spoke to them and called out their work ethic.

This was in summer 2011, right after Bosh and the Heat lost in the Finals to Dallas. There are 6 seniors on this team who remember that talk, and who know that Saturday’s performance was not good enough.

It’s still too early to predict the top seeds, and so much can change between now and Selection Sunday. Do the Canes still have a shot despite their loss? Is Gonzaga a legitimate contender? Send me your thoughts @TheOrangeWedge.