New Court Rush Manifesto: Open Gym
Sunday, January 11th apparently had several college campuses holding open gym for students and fans immediately after the conclusion of their games. While most of you were watching the NFL playoffs yesterday three top ten programs were upset on the road. This proves yet again that you can’t take conference road wins for granted. NC State, Rutgers, and Oregon State all knocked off top 10 opponents leading to joyous on court celebrations. Let’s break down the pandemonium:
1. Expectation of Winning/Upset factor – In this case, all three teams were near double digit under dogs at home. NC State and Oregon State were both +10 while Rutgers was +9 after the news of Frank Kaminsky missing the game came out. In the bigger picture, Oregon State and Rutgers were predicted near the bottom of their respective conferences and just took down the odds on favorite. NC State is a talented middle-of-the-pack ACC team that has upset talented Duke teams before, but this Blue Devil squad has a bit more in the talent department. Let’s just hope you parlayed these three games with the money line yesterday. Verdict: 9/10, Oregon State. 8.5/10, Rutgers. 7.5/10, NC State.
2. Program Impact/Tradition – It seems like NC State has a significant home win at least every other year or so. This one isn’t program changing, but two bonus points for a win over a hated rival. It’s at worst great fodder for the highlight reel. Oregon State has played well thus far in Wayne Tinkle’s first year and will only make the future look brighter for a team that is recruiting well under their new coach. This was their first win over a top 10 team since an upset of these same Wildcats in 2000. Certainly not insignificant. Rutgers and Eddie Jordan needed this one. Maybe this will help elevate them from the basement of the Big 10, or maybe they just took advantage of an injured Badgers’ team. Tough to tell, but it was their first win over a top five team in school history and had Eddie Jordan in tears. Verdict: 9/10, Oregon State. 8.5/10, Rutgers. 7/10, NC State.
3. Impact on Season – You don’t want to undersell the momentum a big conference win could create, but neither Oregon State nor Rutgers realistically looks like a tournament team. Oregon State has an outside shot with their young team buying into coach Tinkle’s emphasis on defense and rebounding. Rutgers will need an Angels in the Outfield-esque run to have a shot at the bubble. But hey, it could happen? However, this could be the win that gets NC State, who seems perennially on the bubble, into the field of 68 come Selection Sunday. Verdict: 6/10, Oregon State. Rutgers, 5/10. NC State, 9/10.
4. Dramatic Ending –Rutgers won a tense contest over Wisconsin – holding a close lead down the stretch with some clutch baskets from star Myles Mack after overcoming a twelve point halftime deficit. Oregon State won in dramatic fashion with a late, tie-breaking layup from Langston Morris-Walker with under 30 seconds to play and survived Arizona’s last gasp to tie it from Gabe York. The Wolfpack actually won comfortably, keeping the Blue Devils at arms-length throughout most of the second half. Verdict: 9/10, Oregon State. 7.5/10, Rutgers. 4/10, NC State.
5. Enthusiasm of Crowd – Not the biggest factor, but if you’re going to rush you better have the crowd in a frenzy, and have a well-executed rush of the court or you’ll be docked some major points here. You may ask, “if you’re trying to determine if you should rush, how can you factor in the actual rush of the court into the equation?” Well if you’re bad at rushing the court maybe you shouldn’t do it! You don’t want to see people just wandering onto the court; you want to see a seemingly synchronized sprint to mid-court. The Wolfpack have done this before and this time no one was trampled during the rush. Great enthusiasm is expected here as they don’t exactly harbor a lot of love of the Blue Devils. Who does? Forty-six of Duke’s last fifty-six road losses have ended with students storming the court. Nothing whips a bunch of college students into a frenzy like beating the Blue Devils – quite the testament to Coach K though. Oregon State rushed with a lot of fervor and the players were into it as well – seemingly rushing to center court to meet the fans. Great to watch from a program that has seen a lot of hard times recently. Rutgers on the other hand had one of the worst court rushes I’ve ever seen prompting Eddie Jordan to joke after the game, “One thing we have to work on is how we rush the court when we have a big win like that.” Not sure exactly how to explain what happened there. After a few minutes the students/fans trickled to center court to join the team. Verdict: 9/10, Oregon State. 2/10, Rutgers. 8.5/10, NC State.
Because this is my formula, here’s how I’m breaking it down: 30% weight for Upset Factor and Program Impact, 15% on Season Impact and Dramatic Ending, and 10% weight on Crowd Enthusiasm. You have to get over a 5 to have an argument, but ideally I’d like to see you in the 6.5-7 range at the very least. Oregon State came in as a no-brainer to rush at 8.55. Rutgers gets the thumbs up as well at 7.175, but didn’t do themselves any favors by wandering on the court after the biggest win in school history. Perhaps the students didn’t know what to do with themselves after a big win? Maybe they were dazed? I’m kidding of course, congrats to the Rutgers program. After the Mike Rice scandal, this program needed something to help it turn the corner. Let’s hope this is it. NC State gets a pass as well at 7.15. Their crowd enthusiasm and hatred for Duke pushes them over the top, but as an NC State fan you should expect to beat the Blue Devils at home. You’ve seen it before, and you have a lot of talent on that team. I’m a little surprised they were 10 points underdogs to be honest. Maybe I’ll turn this into a gambling blog. I’m joking, kind of. I’d almost say to NC State fans, “next time you beat Duke, you shouldn’t rush the floor,” BUT we all know how much Coach K hates when students rush the court. Thus, as a fan base that despises Duke you’re almost obligated to do so, right?