Court storming has become old and tiresome

By Steve Sell
February 24, 2015

Kansas State basketball fans can be forgiven for storming the court in 2011.

And maybe a bit for 2014.

But in 2015?

With the Wildcats having defeated the Jayhawks three times in the last five years at home, don’t you think Kansas State fans should EXPECT for their team to win in Bramlage? 

And this time it was ugly. Video quickly surfaced after the game of Kansas coach Bill Self being pinned by the mass of humanity, with Kansas State coach Bruce Weber frantically trying to stop the onslaught of fans since security must have been out for coffee and donuts. Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend reportedly had a headlock on a fan in an attempt to get the crazed person off of him. There are other various confirmed reports that a KSU fan intentionally struck KU’s Jamari Traylor, who fortunately was a bigger person and didn’t strike back.

But what if he did? What if the KU players, who no doubt were steamed already for losing their outright Big 12 lead to an underachieving, second-division team that had lost seven of its last eight, started swinging for the fences? This could have led to a bloody riot.

National broadcasts today were more focused on Kansas State’s fans filling the court than the real story, the Wildcats’ superb effort against a Jayhawk team that appears to be on its last legs.

This might be the mother of all court stormings that finally cries out for the NCAA to get tougher on schools who can’t control their fans, with my guess being some of them having  alcohol in their systems. This isn’t just a Kansas State problem, but a national problem. It’s not an isolated incident. It’s an epidemic. It’s become old and tiresome, much like the Gatorade that gets dumped on a coach. What point does it serve? It’s going to take a player getting seriously hurt for this childish act to be stopped. There are even 50- and 60-year-olds on the floor. Good God people, it’s just a stinking game.

Kansas State played with far more energy than KU. It fed off the crowd, which was terrific until the game ended. The Wildcats deserved to win and the Jayhawks deserved to lose. When KU winds up one game back of Iowa State when the Big 12 season is concluded next week, this is going to be one of the games it felt like it didn’t show up for. Iowa State is going to win out and KU will lose at Oklahoma.

Anyone who has watched this Kansas team play all year should hardly be surprised by Monday’s result. This is the most flawed team in Self’s tenure at KU and it’s a credit to him that he has the Jayhawks in position to win or tie for the Big 12 title for an 11th year in a row. Honestly, they’re not as good as Iowa State and probably level with West Virginia and Oklahoma. They have no inside presence — posts Cliff Alexander, Jamari Traylor and Landen Lucas combined for THREE points Monday — and the 3-point shooting has fallen off as it’s Fool’s Gold. Frank Mason is finally wearing down after carrying this team much of the season and the only constant is Perry Ellis.

It’s not Alexander, Wayne Selden and Kelly Oubre’s fault that they were vastly overhyped  when coming out of high school as one-and-doners. It’s the nature of the beast, these recruiting services rate players on their potential, not their actual ability. At the start of the season, this was expected to be the only year the trio would play together. But if any of them head to the NBA after this season, their families should be scolded. The NBA would have these guys for lunch.

Kansas State has to hope this isn’t a one-hit wonder, an aberration. If the Wildcats would play this hard against everybody, they wouldn’t be in the mess they’ve created. They have been a house divided, with star guard Marcus Foster the primary offender. To Foster’s credit, even though he suffered from an off night against KU, he was a good teammate. Kansas State knows it has to win out and win the Big 12 Tournament to make the NCAA Tournament, which has become easier every year since so many teams are in the field.

I’m sure Kansas State fans are going to bring up that KU fans tore the goal posts down after the Jayhawks defeated a winless Iowa State football team this past season. The difference is that a football field is vastly larger and given KU’s ineptitude and small crowds, there probably weren’t many fans there to celebrate anyway. But it’s still another stupid tradition that should be stopped. That certainly was a disgraceful black eye for the school and I think its students learned from it after being incessantly ridiculed. Hopefully if the Jays do win a Big 12 game this year under new coach David Beaty, they’ll act like they’ve been there before.

Which is what Kansas State’s fans should have done Monday. I’ll guarantee that if Bill Snyder was the basketball coach, he wouldn’t have been happy about what transpired.