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On college basketball, class, and JP Macura

JP was back at his glorious best last night in Wisconsin, and many pearls are being clutched.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Wisconsin
“If they leave Pritzl on JP, he’s going to get 40.” -Byron Larkin
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Depending on who you read this morning you may have thought the world ended last night. It didn’t, but JP Macura was back at his very finest. After game full of sustained verbal abuse from the student section, JP took his moment to answer with the clock winding down. The crowd spent the game chanting “a**hole,” and, according to multiple sources at the game, “little d*ck” at the one person who feeds off that negative attention. [Video of this display of respect for opponents at the bottom of the article]. After Kaiser Gates stepped through a trap, JP ran down the left wing and took a lob from Quentin Goodin to dunk home an emphatic finish to the game.

JP is JP, and he couldn’t miss chance to let the Wisconsin student section know that he’d heard them. Some quick barking on his way back down the floor turned into an opportunity to do a full on gator chomp when he was subbed out of the game. For those of you who don’t remember, it was Florida who eliminated Wisconsin from the tournament last year. That would be from the NCAA tournament where Xavier reach the Elite Eight, and Wisconsin did not. JP took a great relish in reminding the Wisconsin fans of that.

Bill Raftery, the fossil that Fox Sports insists on trotting out to spew insightless cliches, was the first to head for the fainting couch, insisting JP was “not that kind of player.” (He definitely is). Raftery inadvertently hit upon why some straight arm clapping offended him so dearly when he started a sentence with “maybe I’m getting old.” His impromptu soapbox on how engaging in trash talk in somehow ruining the game of college basketball was just the tip of a Twitter iceberg.

The Twittersphere immediately exploded. The same Wisconsin fans who were more than proud to chant expletives at a 22 year old playing basketball were now enraged by the fact he had imitated an alligator. PGA golfers, other Wisconsin supporting media, and a whole host of whiners took this opportunity to cry about the fact their basketball team lost a game.

Which brings us to the crux of the issue. Sometime around the first time I got upset about being taunted a coach pulled me aside and offered this bit of advice: “maybe don’t let them beat you.” In a sporting event there is emotion, otherwise it’s horrendously dull. When student sections, as they should, add to that atmosphere it reminds us of why college ball is so much fun. There’s give and take, genuine passion, and people invested in the outcome. The Badgers student section spent the entire game tapping the glass while JP did JP things. If you win in that situation, so much the better. Not only have you yelled at an opponent all game, you leave with the knowledge he has no comeback.

But if you lose. If your vaunted defense collapses to the tune of 1.55 points per possession in the second half, if your offense scores once in their last seven possessions, if your opponent’s star buries two dagger threes and scores ten points in the last 1:47, and if your All-American center gets outmuscled when it matters by an absolute junkyard dog of a sophomore, you need to brace yourself. If all those things happen, and if they happen and you lose by 10, at home, without shutting up, then yes, you are going to get reminded of it. Don’t want that to happen? Maybe don’t let them beat you.

God bless JP Macura.

[As promised, video of the Wisconsin fans chanting at JP].