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College Basketball: 5 of the Game's Greatest Traditions

Scott PolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 21, 2016

College Basketball: 5 of the Game's Greatest Traditions

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    College football is loaded with traditions, many of which even casual fans can recite from memory.

    There’s the Clemson team running down the hill and touching Howard’s Rock, Tommy Trojan piercing the midfield logo with a sword, Uga watching games from between the hedges and Rocky Top blaring all Saturday afternoon in Knoxville and the dotting of the "i" in Script Ohio.

    While college basketball doesn’t have the sheer amount of traditions that its gridiron counterpart does, those that are in place are fueled by equal levels of passion and devotion.

    Here are five of the best college basketball traditions across the country.

Taylor University: The “Silent Night Game”

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    Taylor University may appear to be no different than hundreds of other small Christian schools across the nation, but it has one of the most unique traditions in all of sports.

    Every December Taylor hosts what is deemed the “Silent Night Game.” The crowd shows up in a number of outlandish costumes, many of them Christmas related, and always takes the spotlight away from the actual game.

    The fans remain eerily silent until Taylor scores its 10th point, which is when they go completely crazy. Fueled by the pent up energy developed during the quiet beginning, the crowd then ratchets up the intensity to intimidating levels for the rest of the game.

    That is, until the outcome is well in hand. Then the Taylor faithful begin swaying back and forth as they break out into a moving rendition of silent night.

    Fast forward to the 2:30 mark in the video to hear the singing.

Kansas: Rock Chalk Chant

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    Of all the traditions on this list, the “Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk, KU” chant, which echoes perfectly in Allen Fieldhouse, is probably the most likely one to give college basketball fans goose bumps.

    The cheer actually has its origins in the chemistry department on campus. A professor created a cheer for the science club in 1886, but the original "Rah, Rah" was later replaced by the familiar rock chalk, which is the name for the limestone found on Mount Oread, where Kansas University is located.

    While the chant is much more boisterous as the game is about to begin, it is the ghostly rendition when Kansas has the game in hand that leaves the most memorable mark.

    The actual chant starts at 1:07 in the video.

John Brown University: The TP Game

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    If there was a March Madness-style tournament of unique traditions in college basketball, John Brown University would probably match up with Taylor University and its Silent Night singers.

    For the first game of every season, the fans make sure to show up armed with rolls of toilet paper. When the Golden Eagles score their first basket, the crowd proceeds to throw all of its toilet paper on the court.

    The Golden Eagle mascot has even been known to do its version of snow angels in the sea of white paper.

    It inevitably draws a technical foul and has been affectionately termed the best technical foul in all of sports.

St. Joseph’s: The Hawk

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    Look, mascots are a dime a dozen. Yes, some are more popular than others, but they ultimately serve the same purpose.

    So why does the St. Joseph’s hawk find itself on this list?

    Well, it never stops moving and flapping its wings, which is why the St. Joseph’s motto is “The Hawk Will Never Die.” In fact, according to ESPN, the hawk once flapped its wings 3,500 times during a game.

    As you can see, not even the national anthem will stop the hawk.

    The hawk is one of the few mascots that actually travels to road games in college basketball, and the student who dons the costume receives a full ride scholarship to the school.

    Not a bad deal.

One Shining Moment

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    It would take something truly special after the broadcast of a national championship game to delay the winning team fanbase's celebration.

    It would also take something special to prevent the losing team’s fanbase from disgustedly turning the TV off right after the final buzzer.

    Good thing for CBS that “One Shining Moment” is that something special.

    Ironically enough, the most iconic song in college basketball was scribbled down on a napkin in 20 minutes by David Barrett while he waited for a friend to meet him for brunch.

    The napkin story may not be as historically poetic as the tale of Francis Scott Key writing the National Anthem, but it’s as unique as the song itself.

    Make sure to stay up late enough to watch the highlight montage at the end of next year’s NCAA tournament.

    It’s worth it.

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