The final seconds on the clock wound down on what had been a one-sided dominating performance by Kansas on Tuesday night. The Jayhawks, ranked No. 3 in this week’s Associated Press poll, were dribbling out the clock on a 22-point win over rival Kansas State.
As sophomore Silvio De Sousa dribbled in the waning seconds, Kansas State freshman guard DaJuan Gordon stole the ball and took off the other direction for a layup. Trailing the play, De Sousa flew in for a block, then immediately stood over Gordon in an apparent taunt.
Seconds later, both benches cleared, punches were thrown, and the resulting melee spilled off the court, into a press area and seating area. The entire benches for both teams were ejected and only the 10 players on the court were allowed back, while the Wildcats shot a pair of technical foul shots.
Crazy scene at the end of Kansas-Kansas State game.
— Rivals (@Rivals) January 22, 2020
The final, 81-60 win for Kansas was anything but what has been talked about since the brawl ensued.
Many media personalities, coaches, and athletes have been among those who have weighed in on the fracas.
There were many actions that escalated this. However, there is no excuse for the ensuing fight. Punches thrown should lead to suspensions. Period. And, stop calling players “kids.” It infantilizes them. The NCAA calls it Men’s Basketball. They are adults. https://t.co/R4HD5BYZPs
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) January 22, 2020
Using Social Studio to analyze the incident, using the keywords “Kansas,” “brawl,” “fight,” and “basketball” found more than 73,000 posts, 94.6 percent on Twitter. And perhaps unsurprisingly, the sentiment towards the brawl has been overwhelmingly negative, at 83.8 percent.
A look at the words and phrases being used in social media posts can be seen in a word cloud generated by Social Studio. This includes “massive,” “breaks,” and “brawl.” The latter is confirmation of the keyword choice used in this search, as it has been used most commonly to describe the events that transpired at the end of the game.
What hasn’t been accounted for in analytic data, but revealed in tweets recognized by Social Studio are a number of racist remarks made. While many of the players involved were African-American, white players also took part in the melee. Yet, numerous tweets made racial inferences and other disparaging remarks, such as this:
This lends itself to future research, particularly fan response to sporting events. Social Studio can be used to find posts such as this, which can then be used in a content analysis, for instance.
In the aftermath of the brawl, De Sousa was suspended for his role by Kansas coach Bill Self. This is notable here on Rocky Top, as Tennessee plays at Kansas at 4 pm ET Saturday in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.