What college basketball should do about court stormings, and other takeaways from Saturday


Greenberg voices displeasure with Wake Forest’s administration after court-storming injury (2:07)

Seth Greenberg puts the blame on Wake Forest’s administration after Duke’s Kyle Filipowski gets injured in a court storming. (2:07)

  • ESPN

Feb 24, 2024, 09:30 PM ET

Following Duke’ 83-79 loss at Wake Forest, a frustrated Jon Scheyer asked the question: “When are we going to ban court storming?” Minutes earlier, Kyle Filipowski was injured after he got caught in a sea of Wake Forest fans as they stormed the court at the final buzzer. Per video of the incident, a fan appeared to collide with the projected All-American and draft lottery pick as he tried to leave the floor. Filipowski’s teammates and Duke staff surrounded him and had to carry him off the court.

The conversation about court storming is not new. In 2015, Bill Self got trapped in the rush to the court by Kansas State fans after Kansas lost to its in-state rival. In the same court storming, former KU forward Jamari Traylor got bumped. In 2018, West Virginia’s Wesley Harris threw a punch at a Texas Tech fan who’d participated in a court storm. Two years ago, Boise State fans were tackled and pushed by security guards as they tried to storm the floor after their team sealed the Mountain West championship.

When it’s safe and fun, court storming can be a proper celebration for a significant victory. But college basketball has yet to find a way to make it so every time. It’s why Scheyer and others around the sport are advocating for an end to court storming. Filipowski’s injury could be the catalyst that leads to effective change.

ESPN’s Myron Medcalf, Jeff Borzello and Joe Lunardi discuss the biggest talking point of a busy Saturday slate, along with what happened around the rest of the sport.



Duke’s Kyle Filipowski helped off after Wake Forest fans storm the court

Kyle Filipowski appears to get injured during Wake Forest’s court storm after the Demon Deacons beat Duke.

What will it take to see real solutions in addressing court storming? What could those solutions look like?

Myron Medcalf: It’s important to note that schools and conferences are working to stop court storming. The SEC fine for court storming one time is $100,000. For the second offense, it’s $250,000. For the third, $500,000. ACC schools do not have a fine structure or disciplinary measures in place for when fans rush the court, according to information provided to ESPN. Each school manages its own events. There are some conference requirements for keeping officials and visiting teams safe and helping them off the floor. At a minimum, schools should be fined a significant amount if they fail to protect the visiting team before their fans rush the court. And college basketball rules have to adjust to that reality.

Whatever is necessary to allow a team to leave the floor safely, let’s do it. There should be a court-storming timeout that automatically occurs with a second or two on the clock if fans might storm the court. Then, the opposing team exits. Yes, it’s difficult to do this in a close game. If a team wins on a buzzer-beater, it’s hard to enforce those precautions. But we’ve seen too much drama around court stormings at this point.

Increase the fines, and the next step will involve penalizing students who participate before the opposing team and staff are safe. Ban them from games, depending on their actions. We just can’t have another court storm that leaves players in a vulnerable spot. No matter what.



Duke coach calls for court storming to be banned

Duke head coach Jon Scheyer explains why he wants to see court storming banned.

Jeff Borzello: Fining the schools is a good start. If the response to demanding an increase in security around the floor is that it’s too expensive, forcing a school to pay a quarter-million or half-million dollars per court storm is a worthy response. And I think an increase in security is the logical next step, since no schools — and no fans — want to move students further away from the court. Having students in the lower sections and front rows is one of the best things about college basketball; it’s part of the home-court environment.

But if incidents continue to happen during court stormings, some schools might have to take drastic steps. Banning court storms is a solution, but it’s hard to achieve without the aforementioned steps (increased security, penalizing individuals, etc.) working in the first place.

Joe Lunardi: At the risk of stepping outside my lane, the appeal of court storming — no matter how fun — simply isn’t worth the inherent risks. Does anyone actually buy a ticket with that in mind? Or, for that matter, to tear down a goalpost in college football? There have been catastrophic injuries from the latter, and it’s only a matter of time before the same happens in basketball. Storm the court and you lose student ticket privileges, period. There could be no worse punishment than to having to sit with the grown-ups.


North Carolina eked out a win at Virginia. Is the 54-44 result more telling about the Cavaliers’ offense or the Tar Heels’ defense? Which is more concerning?

Medcalf: Definitely Virginia’s offense. The Cavaliers have struggled to score lately and are 12th in the ACC in offensive efficiency with a sub-100 ranking in adjusted offensive efficiency. Which is interesting, because they’re a good 3-point shooting team (37%) but can’t score in other ways. They’ve averaged just 50.5 points per game in their seven losses this season. In February alone, they’ve made just 47% of their shots inside the arc, putting them at 281st nationally per barttorvik.com. That’s a problem. Saturday demonstrated how bad things can get.

Borzello: UNC’s defense is the best in the ACC, but Virginia’s offense is abysmal. According to ESPN Stats & Information, only two teams in the history of the conference have had longer streaks of scoring fewer than 50 points in a game. Tony Bennett-coached teams rarely have the most explosive offenses in the country because of their deliberately slow pace, but the best of them have still been incredibly efficient. The national championship team of 2019 was No. 2 in adjusted offensive efficiency at KenPom, and Bennett has had four other teams inside KenPom’s top 30 in the past decade. This season’s team is neither explosive nor efficient. The Cavaliers don’t get to the free throw line, and they don’t make shots from the perimeter, hitting just 12 3-pointers in their past four games and five or fewer in six of their past seven.



Are the 4 NCAA tournament No. 1 seeds locked in?

Joe Lunardi assesses Purdue, UConn, Houston and Arizona as probable No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament.

Has Houston finally silenced those who doubted its ability to rule the Big 12? Where do you place the Cougars in the national title conversation?

Borzello: For weeks, the debate has been, which team is No. 1: UConn or Purdue? After Houston’s week, the Cougars need to be in that conversation (and might have the best case for it). They’re also certainly in the conversation alongside the Huskies and Boilermakers when it comes to title favorites. The home win over Iowa State and Saturday’s overtime win at Baylor were arguably their two best victories of the season, and their résumé is starting to catch up to their metrics — where they’ve been ranked No. 1 in KenPom, BPI and the NET.

Kelvin Sampson’s team is as elite defensively as it’s ever been, it’s physical and tough on the glass, and it has bona fide game-changers in the backcourt in Jamal Shead and L.J. Cryer. Against Baylor, J’Wan Roberts once again came through to provide interior balance, finishing with 17 points, 8 boards, 4 assists, 3 blocks and 6 steals. He typified what has made Sampson-coached Houston teams successful at both ends of the floor. To potentially win the Big 12 in Houston’s first season after moving from the AAC is yet another impressive line on Sampson’s résumé.

Medcalf: I’m not sure anyone who watched Kelvin Sampson and Houston in recent years could have doubted their shot at winning the Big 12. He has averaged 30 wins per season over the past five years, a stretch that’s included a Final Four and Elite Eight appearance. Houston has also finished top-five overall on KenPom for three consecutive seasons. But this has been a strong debut in the Big 12 for a Houston squad with a one-game lead over Iowa State. The Cougars can win the national title because of a defense that has held nine teams under 50 points this season.

I think the addition of Cryer, however, has really changed their ceiling. He gives them another scorer who can get a bucket when they need one. With Roberts, Shead and Cryer, Houston has players who can keep it afloat offensively in tough games. The Cougars showed that in the win over Baylor, one of the top offensive units in the country.

More quick thoughts from Saturday



Hunter Sallis drops 29 to power Wake Forest past Duke

Hunter Sallis drops 29 points, including the game-sealing free throws, to lead Wake Forest to an upset victory over Duke.

Medcalf: Lost in the conversation about court storming after the Duke-Wake Forest game was the performance of Hunter Sallis. The Gonzaga transfer (29 points, 11-for-13) carried his team to a win that could be the difference for the Demon Deacons on Selection Sunday.

While Houston, UConn and Purdue might have an edge on the field, this also feels like a season in which the NCAA tournament could be defined by epic performances by the game’s best. There is parity across the board, and only a handful of teams that have separated themselves. That’s why Sallis and Wake Forest are worth watching in the weeks ahead. If they secure a spot in the field, and if Sallis continues his form, they could pull off an upset or two.

Borzello: Kentucky’s record-breaking offensive performance against Alabama was a reminder of how dynamic this team can be — and how few teams in the country have the ceiling the Wildcats have when they’re firing on all cylinders. Sure, Alabama scored 95 points, but the Crimson Tide had the best offense in college basketball entering the weekend and the Wildcats simply said, “We’re going to try to outscore you.” And it worked. They hit 13 3-pointers, Justin Edwards had the best game of his career, Rob Dillingham again looked unguardable at times, Antonio Reeves continued his All-American season and even Zvonimir Ivisic came out of nowhere to score 18 points after not seeing much playing time since his debut.

John Calipari has so many weapons and he lets them rock. The Wildcats’ defense has shown signs of life the past few weeks, and when you combine that with the potential of this offense, it’s a group that can win several games in March (and maybe early April).