More of the same
by Jim Buzzerd
The West Virginia University Men’s Basketball team suffered a pair of losses, extending their losing streak to four. WVU lost at home to Kansas 71-58 last Saturday and 77-67 Monday night at TCU. The loss leaves the Mountaineers 14-13 overall record and 3-11 in conference. WVU is in jeopardy of not just missing the NCAA tournament, but the NIT as well.
Determining the number of wins needed to make the NCAA tournament is not an exact science, but it is likely the minimum number is 18 wins, which means West Virginia needs four, probably five more in the win column to have any reason to tune in to selection Sunday. Considering there are only four regular season games left on the schedule WVU’s chances aren’t realistic.
West Virginia plays at Iowa State Wednesday, a team they beat them by 16 in Morgantown. So, there’s a chance. Then the Mountaineers have Texas at home on Saturday. There’s always a chance in the Coliseum. Oklahoma in Norman next Tuesday looks problematic since the Sooners won by 10 in Morgantown and it didn’t seem that close. The regular season finale sees TCU come to Morgantown. Again, there’s a chance.
Perhaps more interesting than West Virginia’s disappointing basketball season was the end of Sunday’s 77-63 win by Wisconsin over Michigan. Michigan head coach Juwan Howard got into some push and shove and finger pointing in the handshake line with Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard. That escalated into staff and players trying to calm the situation by separating the two coaches, which ultimately ended with Howard throwing a punch and hitting Wisconsin assistant Joe Krabbenhoft.
Howard was upset that Gard called a timeout with four seconds left with the game having long been decided. “I didn’t like the timeout being called being totally honest,” Howard said. “I thought it was unnecessary at that moment, especially it being a large lead. And then, the timeout being called with three or four seconds to go, I thought that was, what I felt, wasn’t fair to our guys, so that’s what happened.”
To help with context here, Michigan was playing full court defense against Wisconsin’s backups and the 10 second clock was about to expire, so Gard called timeout. “I took a timeout and got us a new 10 seconds and it helped them (the reserves) get organized and get the ball in. And he did not like that when he came through the handshake line. I’ll leave it at that, and the tape will show the rest.”
What I see on the tape is Howard attempting to bypass Gard in the line, but Gard reached out and grabbed Howard’s arm to stop Howard from passing. There was nothing malicious looking about the contact, but it was obvious in a few seconds Gard should have let Howard pass.
For the next 24 hours talking heads weighed in on their outrage. Some said Howard should be fired. The vast majority said he should be suspended for the rest of the season, including the post season. It was announced on Monday that Michigan will only suspend him for the five remaining regular season games, which, I guess, means he can coach in the conference tournament. It’s not immediately clear if the Big 10 Conference can add on to the length of the suspension.