- Rick Reilly, Columnist, ESPN.com
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Listen, you Froyo freaks, you face-painters, you hoopheads of higher learning: Before you rush the court, storm the court, wreck the court rush your butts back to your seats while I explain something.
You're doing it WAY too much.
This isn't karaoke Tuesdays. It's not a scheduled event. True rushing the court happens to a school once every 20 years or so. It should be, "Oh, there's Professor Krumpke. Let's have him tell us about the time he rushed the court." It's like walking down the aisle: If you do it more than twice in your life, you're doing it wrong.
It's spontaneous, like a flash flood. It's unpredictable, like Publishers Clearing House showing up at your front door. It's as unstoppable as a sneeze and just as unplanned. It carries you away like a tornado. You suddenly find yourself on top of the rim and have no idea how you got there.
You people are treating it like it's your weekly Spanish lab. Or poker night. You can't e-mail about it ahead of time. It'd be like penciling into your calendar "Make out with Halle Berry tonight after winning Oscar." And it can't be something to do just to get on TV. You wanna be on TV, go bother Matt Lauer.
I'm talking to you, Indiana. You rushed the court this season after beating Minnesota. Minnesota? Really? How is beating Minnesota cause for unrestrainable joy? It's like pantsing the chess club.
The win clinched your spot in the tournament? Big deal. Sixty-five teams make it. It's like making the white pages. Cheer from your seat.
I'm talking to you, South Carolina. You RTC'd after beating Kentucky both this season and in 2005. It's supposed to be "Hats in the air! War's over!" Not "I really want a picture next to John Wall!"
I'm talking to you, Illinois. You RTC'd when you beat No. 5 Michigan State this year. Even Illinois legend Dee Brown was cringing. He tweeted: "No no no no! We are Illinois! Winning should be normal."
Sorry, Dee. Illinois has a new motto: "We are Illinois! We really like to pregame!"
I'm definitely talking to you, Wake Forest. You RTC'd when you beat North Carolina last season. They were third in the nation. You were fourth. What's going to make you storm the floor next? New nets?
This has got to stop. Therefore, here are the Ironclad and Unbreakable Rushing-the-Court Rules. From now on, you can NOT rush the court if
• You've won an NCAA title in the past 20 years.
• You've been in the Final Four in the past five years.
• The team you just beat is not in the top three.
• Or is ranked within 15 rungs of you. (Somebody do the math for Wake.)
• Or is really a football school. This includes Florida, Texas and Ohio State. Get over it.
• You've beaten this same team in the past five years.
• You won the stupid game by more than 10 points. There is no such thing as a PRTC (Premeditated Rush The Court.)
• You're a university and you just beat a college.
• Coach K comes to your coach's clinic.
• You have a dead-mortal-lock lottery pick on your team.
• Your team has appeared in a recent "One Shining Moment."
I don't want to hear "It was a signature win!" I'm not signing off on it. I don't want to hear "It was the first time we've beaten a top-10 RPI team in six seasons." If it's a stat your mother wouldn't know, forget it. Nor will I stand for "It clinched our spot in the NCAA tournament." Big deal. Sixty-five teams make it. It's like making the white pages. Cheer from your seat.
Now we understand here at the Court of Court Rushing that there are occasionally unusual circumstances. Therefore, here are the Official Amendments to the Ironclad and Unbendable Rushing-the-Court Rules. You can rush the court if:
• Your arena is closing down forever after the game. That will happen this week at Freedom Hall in Louisville and Mac Court in Oregon. Fine. Dig up the boards, too. Take the chairs. Knock yourselves out.
• Something stupidly wonderful happens, like a 90-foot David Blaine Special goes in or an air ball bounces off the ref's head to win your conference. Fine.
• You are Wisconsin-Milwaukee and you are 0-37 against your cross-city rival Marquette. When you win, you should rush the court, then City Hall, then the Miller factory.
• It's the first time you've beaten your archrival in 10 years or more, plus one of the following: (1) they still have your goat, (2) they stole and painted your best physics professor, or (3) they're going to end up making PILES more cash than you.
• Jihadists have kidnapped your power forward and are holding him captive near the key.
Finally, if you are in compliance with the Ironclad and Unbreakable Rules, make sure at least three of you hoist the center. Otherwise you'll drop him, causing him to rip a rotator cuff and, consequently, miss the rest of the year. Then people will egg your dorm room until you graduate, which will be never because every professor will hate you, too.
Now get out there and remain seated!
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