The Arizona Wildcats lost a road game to the Colorado Buffaloes Wednesday night and, in what has become a common practice, the opposing fans stormed the court as time expired. It's the 10th time in the Wildcats' last 11 road losses that the court has been stormed.
Sean Miller is not a fan of it, primarily for safety reasons. Here's what he had to say after the game (via Ezra Amacher of the Arizona Daily Wildcat):
"Eventually what’s going to happen in the Pac-12 is this: an Arizona player is going to punch a fan, and they’re going to punch the fan out of self-defense.
When it happens, only when it happens, will everybody take a deep breath and say, we have to do something to protect both teams so that when the game ends, that we have a deep breath to be able to leave the gym. Or at least shake the other team’s hand, and then get to our locker room.
Three consecutive years, anytime we lose a game on the road, it’s the same. Some are more under control, some aren’t. It’s tough because not everybody is going through it, and because of that nobody really cares except me. From this point forward, I care. And we’re almost at a point where our guys have to protect themselves."
It's easy to understand Miller's point of view, especially when things like this happen:
One fan, wearing a Denver Broncos sweatshirt, visibly yelled at and touched Arizona head coach Sean Miller and Wildcat players as the team entered the locker room hallway.
Also, you have to love Miller's subtle jab at other Pac-12 programs for not being good enough to have the court stormed against them:
If more teams had the court stormed on them, I wouldn’t be the only guy who is bringing it up.
It's important to note that nothing Miller said points to him believing that court storming should be abolished altogether. But he did make it clear that the Pac-12 needs to do a better job of making sure that opposing players and coaches are out of harm's way when it does happen. Because if nothing changes, as Miller said, eventually something terrible is going to happen and it's not going to be that surprising.
"It's not for me to decide. It's up to the Pac-12 and the NCAA. I'd hate to see someone get hurt. I've been a part of a lot of them, and last night was probably the craziest. I was right in the middle of it, and it almost seemed like the fans were already out there before the buzzer went off. Usually it takes a little bit for them to get through security on the court. I love the passion and emotion of college basketball, but you also want to make sure that no players or fans get hurt."
But what does Miller suggest the Pac-12 should do about it?
"I don’t know what other conferences are doing, but if there is a fine, I’m pretty sure that there wouldn’t be people just storming over the bench within five seconds of a victory."
Miller isn't optimistic anything will get done, though. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott was at the game, but as Miller said: "He doesn't care."