Most Ridiculous Superstitions in College Basketball
Let's face it, athletes are an extremely superstitious bunch.
Some baseball players wear women's lingerie in an attempt to break out of a slump. Some athletes will not change their stinky socks for weeks if they are playing well.
Others feel their success hinges on having things done in such a particular manner that is often bizarre and inexplicable to anyone but the player doing it.
College basketball is not immune to these bizarre superstitions. These student-athletes and their fanbases often take drastic measures or simply do weird things to ensure their team's success.
Here is a look at some college basketball's superstitions, past and present.
St. Mary's Gaels
The 2011-12 version of the St. Mary's Gaels men's basketball exhibited some strange superstitions. Take current senior guard Matthew Dellavedova for example.
Dellavedova owns a Wolverine figure that one of the coaches' sons gave him. Before games, Dellavedova claimed he makes sure he puts the toy's claws facing out when it's time for the game.
It is unclear where the Wolverine is during the game or if the Gaels' star does the same thing coming off a poor game.
Head coach Randy Bennett refuses to wear a tie again if his team lost while he was wearing it.
Teammate Beau Levesque wears blue socks under his white socks and the same baby blue arm tape once the Gaels got on a five-game winning streak.
St. Mary's won its second WCC tourney title in three years in March after over a decade of dominance by the Gonzaga Bulldogs,so they must have good reason to be superstitious.
UNC Coach Roy Williams
Williams has led the Tar Heels to two national championships, but it doesn't mean he takes care of business in a normal way. According to ESPN.com's Robbi Pickeral, Williams is full of superstitions.
First, UNC star Harrison Barnes claimed that after a loss, Williams throws away his tie and potentially the suit he was wearing during the game. One can understand not wearing the tie again, but throwing it away? It sounds like he isn't used to losing all that much or budgets his money for at least five new suits each season.
In the locker room, Williams must have a black marker on the left of the board and blue one on the right. His players mess with him, but he always catches the trick. Finally, Williams makes sure the team always eats before watching film.
A great coach like Williams is wired differently and succeeds because he demands things done a certain way, whether that be on or off the court.
Duke's Cameron Crazies
The Cameron Crazies are so particular about getting the best tickets for games that they camp out just to have the opportunity for those tickets. Before big games, they camp out in Krzyzewskiville in anticipation of the game.
You can call this tradition and dedication, but it can be seen as highly superstitious because fans must feel that without their camp outs, face and body paint, and wild cheers, the Blue Devils would not have the home court advantage they have at cozy Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The Baylor Bears won all four games they played in March sporting their new glow-in-the-dark neon green jerseys.
When the Bears took on Kentucky in an Elite Eight matchup, head coach Scott Drew made a case to the NCAA to let his team wear the jerseys, even though they were technically the higher seed in a game against the eventual national champions. His request was turned down and the Bears wore black and camouflage green jerseys instead.
Drew didn't stop at saying it was simply for luck purposes, telling reporters there was another purpose behind it, via Yahoo! Sports:
"We've had some turnover issues earlier in the year, and I think this has helped with it," Drew told reporters at his pregame news conference. "We pass to the right guys because we stand out, so I'm good with that."
Drew has a good point here, but the defense could see his guys pretty clearly, too. The yellow highlighter-looking jerseys were certainly an eyesore for viewers.
The Bears ended up losing 82-70 to end their season. It'll be interesting to see if Drew brings back the jerseys for the 2013-14 season.
Student Section-Utah State Aggies
Who would have thought that Utah State would have the most rabid fan base in the western part of the country? Teams like UCLA or USC seem more likely to hold that honor, but the fans at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum are among the most energetic in the sport.
As evidenced by the video above, Aggies' fans are passionate about their team, a team that made three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from 2009-11.
Their behavior and routine seems to suggest they are, indeed, very superstitious and creatures of habit at home contests. Their chant, the "Winning Team, Losing Team" chant with the Aggies up late in a game, can be seen here.
Distraction at the Free Throw Line
Fans pull out all different types of tactics to distract a free throw shooter at the foul line. Whether that means waving arms, moving them from side to side, or yelling at the shooter, fans have a firm belief that their actions are directly impacting the shooter.
Indiana Hoosier fans wave cardboard cutouts of celebrities wildly as a foul shot is attempted. The Speedo Guy, as seen in the 2009 ESPN video above, embodies the ridiculousness of this particular superstition in college basketball.
Sure, these means of distraction can throw off a shooter who is not totally focused on the task at hand, but there are no stats to prove that the more obnoxious and wild the distraction, the more likely the shooter will miss the free throw.
It all comes down to the shooter's ability to put aside distractions, go through a routine, and sink the shots from the charity stripe.