Monday, March 2, 2015

The Storms of February

By Jean Neuberger

February brought us two types of court storms.

The first was a destructive force that is making an impressive statement towards a run at history. The second was a storm that was not impressive whatsoever.

The first, Kentucky, is now 29-0 and is only getting stronger. It seems as though when the spotlight is bigger, the Wildcats relish it that much more and become that much better. The length, the shooting touch of the Harrison twins, the defensive grit of Willie Cauley-Stein and the physical prowess of Karl-Anthony Towns and Trey Lyles simply have been too much for other teams and even the computers are recognizing it. Arkansas, which had no chance all game against Kentucky, lost by 17 and went up a spot in the newest RPI rankings. UK will be, deservedly, one of the biggest March Madness favorites in history.

Kentucky isn't weathering the storm. They are simply a bigger one.

As for the usual "one and done" complaints and that Kentucky and John Calipari are ruining college basketball, they fall short this year. The reason Kentucky is as great as they are is because Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, and the Harrisons came back. While the Cats play four freshman who would start for pretty much every team in the country, it's their upperclassmen that helped turn a good team into a very dangerous one.

The second storm happened in Manhattan, Kansas last Monday. Kansas State, 4-49 against rival Kansas in their last 53 games, stunned the Jayhawks, 70-63, and pandemonium ensued.

The Wildcat players deserved the celebration; however, Kansas players being taunted, hip-checked and having punches thrown at them ruined what should've been a special scene at the Octagon of Doom. Also, there were way too many profane chants. I know rivalry games bring out the best in profanity but there are limits ... K-State's fans went a little too far.

Kansas State is better than that and last night, following a last second upset of Iowa State, they showed it by not causing an ugly scene. However, the court storm against Kansas does bring up the notion that such events need to be prohibited in future seasons.

That last statement was honestly pretty tough to type. During my college years, I stormed a basketball court and a football field. Both were big victories and were awesome memories that I carry with me still today. I love those moments. However, the problem is that it becomes more dangerous with each time. The lines get pushed that much more and eventually, scenes like Monday in Manhattan happen.

I really don't want to see court storming end. I do, though, want drastic security measures taken to protect the opposing team. It can't be a spur of the moment plan. There has to be something set in place to protect players and coaches. Otherwise, celebrations will have to be tampered and that's nearly not as much fun for everyone.

The month of February was defined by two storms: One seems unstoppable until April. One must be contained through the madness of March.

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