If it were up to me, no one would have stormed the court after the men’s basketball team’s dominant 20-point win over No. 4 Villanova on Monday. Head Coach John Thompson III did not want it to happen, the players tried to signal to fans not to storm and, in general, the phenomenon of storming the court in college basketball is overdone. But it was not up to me. Even as president of Hoya Blue, there was little I could do to stop it. The fans were going to storm the court and I knew better than to throw myself in front of a mob bent on charging forward.

However, that does not mean storming the court was unwarranted or that the embarrassment expressed by alumni on social media is justified. For a moment, take Georgetown and Villanova out of the equation and think of the criteria that any fan base would use to justify storming the court. Courts are stormed after rivalry games, big upsets and historic wins — and Monday’s beatdown of Villanova was all three.
The matchup was obviously a rivalry game. In the current iteration of the Big East, Villanova is geographically the closest school to Georgetown and no one can question the history and animosity between the two teams. Villanova is the biggest rival we currently have, and Georgetown-Villanova is arguably the principal rivalry in a resurgent Big East.

That Monday’s game was a big upset goes hand in hand with the fact that it was a historic win. Few — if any — critics and fans expected the Hoyas to beat the fourth-ranked team in the country by 20 points and to dominate the game from start to finish. In terms of history, beating a team with Villanova’s ranking made it the highest ranked team the Hoyas have beaten since then-No. 7 Georgetown faced then-No. 2 Villanova on Feb. 6, 2010. To put that in perspective, the current seniors on the team were sophomores in high school and the current freshmen were in seventh grade. In that game, the Hoyas were ranked seventh in the nation.

To find a game where an unranked Georgetown team knocked off a top-five team, you need to go all the way back to Jan. 21, 2006, when Georgetown dethroned the top-ranked Duke Blue Devils. The current seniors were in sixth grade. Verizon Center was still called the MCI Center. Fans stormed the court following that win as well.

More importantly, Monday’s court storming represented an incredible statement by the Georgetown student body.

We. Are. Back.

For half of the current student body, this month’s brief flirtation with a No. 25 overall ranking was the only time in many students’ college careers that the Hoyas were ranked, and given our .500 start in Big East play, it was unclear whether we would reclaim a spot this season. For half of the current student body, this was the first time those students understood that Georgetown is a national powerhouse.

One of the critiques of the court storming was that our rich history of prominence on the national stage should place us above storming the court after beating a conference team. I would argue that fans stormed the court because of our rich history; we stormed to reclaim what we once had. We stormed because the team we bleed for had just delivered a savage haymaker to the jaw of the No. 4 team in the country and announced to all of college basketball that the Hoyas are back and they are not to be trifled with.

There were six hundred and sixty-eight days between Georgetown’s 2013 loss to Florida Gulf Coast in the NCAA Tournament and Monday’s win over Villanova. Six hundred and sixty-eight days since Georgetown fans were able to witness the team they knew as a national powerhouse. Six hundred and sixty-eight days of waiting poured out onto the court Monday.

Perhaps Thompson was right in his postgame comments. We probably watch too much TV. We want the incredible experience of storming the court that we’ve seen on “Fox Sports Live” (if you still watch “SportsCenter” you’re betraying the Big East). But more importantly than Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole talking about Georgetown during the highlights or debating whether the court storming was justified is that the atmosphere in Verizon Center on Monday was more electric than any game since the final Georgetown vs. Syracuse game in 2013, where, coincidentally, fans stormed the court. The fans on Monday brought a tangible energy that blew the roof off of the arena and seemed to rattle Villanova early and often. If a less-than-necessary court storming is the price to pay for that energy, so be it.

Jimmy Canfield is a senior in the College. He is the current president of Hoya Blue.

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2 Comments

  1. The initial spread on this game was 3 points. Anything under 3.5 is Vegas saying “we have no idea who will win but villanova has been the better team this season.” This was not a “huge upset”. A huge upset is FGCU beating Georgetown, or Mercer beating Duke.

  2. People care way too much about this.

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