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Iowa’s Fran McCaffery ejected for bumping official, costs team win at Wisconsin (VIDEO)

Jan 5, 2014, 9:38 PM EDT

Fran McCaffery is notorious for having one of the most vicious tempers in all of college basketball, and he exploded on Sunday night. He is perhaps best known for this chair throwing incident.

With No. 22 Iowa leading No. 4 Wisconsin 41-39 in the Kohl Center, McCaffery went off again. He was upset about a no-call at one end and a foul that was called against Iowa at the other end, and he exploded. He had a couple of magic words to say, I mean scream in a spittle-laden tantrum at the officials. That earned him the first technical.

When he got lit up, he really lost it, bumping a second official. That got him ejected.

He’ll be hearing from the league after that, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a suspension was handed down.

There’s worse news, however.

Simply put, McCaffery’s ejection was the turning point. The Badgers hit the four technical free throws and then hit a fifth free throw on the ensuing possession which sparked a 10-2 run that put Wisconsin in control. The Hawkeyes had a run in them, eventually getting the deficit back to just a point, but they were never able to come all the way back. They lost 75-71.

But the bottom line is that Iowa really could have used this win. They cost themselves a win at Iowa State with poor free throw shooting. They gave away a win over Villanova in the final of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Now, it’s important to note that the Hawkeyes could have easily lost this game if McCaffery had kept his composure. Wisconsin was down 35-24 at the half and had already exerted taken control of the game, and I’m sure the frustration at giving up another double-digit lead in one of the toughest road environments played a part in McCaffery’s eruption.

For the most part, McCaffery is a good coach whose overreactions are worth a chuckle. The same can be said about his wife, who has been tossed out of games before. But when your actions, your inability to control your temper, starts costing you wins — wins at Wisconsin, nonetheless — it’s time for a change, no?

The Hawkeyes have enough depth and talent to be considered the best team in the Big Ten not named Michigan State, Ohio State or Wisconsin. I think their performance against the Badgers, despite McCaffery’s antics, reinforces that point.

But Iowa is still in a position where they have three losses and their best win is against Notre Dame. Eventually, if they are going to be taken seriously, they’ll have to close out a win against elite competition.

Doing so without having to overcome game-changing spurts created by their head coach would be a good thing.

  1. badgerbuck - Jan 5, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    Did he go to the Bobby Knight school of tantrums?

  2. jinxinbadgerland - Jan 5, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    Coaches as suppose to lead by example. The refs were terrible on both sides of the court. Iowa had the lead at the time of the bizarre incident. They didn’t stand a chance after it.

    • tecmosuperhawk - Jan 5, 2014 at 11:18 PM

      Actually they stood a very good chance. 64-63 with 2:00 left is a pretty good chance. If Decker doesn’t get that offensive rebound and 3 pointer, the game might have turned out different. That was a bigger play in the game, in my opinion.

  3. tecmosuperhawk - Jan 5, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    The official moved toward Fran and put his forearm into him. Fran did not “bump” the official and I think he got his 2nd T for something he said, not any contact. He deserved at least 2, if not 3 technicals. Still you know when you go to Madison you’re playing against more than just the 5 guys in white and red, Fran has to understand this and keep his composure.

  4. cmb11978 - Jan 5, 2014 at 11:57 PM

    If you’d watched the game you would know that the technicals were not a turning point. Wisconsin had already cut an eleven point lead to two, thanks in part to officials who were calling moving screens against Iowa while letting Wisconsin get away with heavy contact on shooters going to the rim. Wisconsin spent most of this game on the three point line, yet somehow still shot 10 more free throws than Iowa, which had the ball in the paint nearly every possession.

    • wick0926 - Jan 6, 2014 at 6:25 AM

      Iowa actually had more FT attempts than WI late in the game before Iowa started fouling them to stop the clock. I can’t be 100% right on this but BTN showed the stat with about 4min left in the game and WI was 13/19 and Iowa was 15/24. That being said this game was poorly officiated on both sides

  5. hwkeycubronco - Jan 6, 2014 at 1:45 AM

    As a college basketball fan I’m just tired of the coaches working the officials and I’m tired of the officials influencing the outcome of the game. I’m tired of the players chatting with the officials like they are friends….The coaches need to sit down and let the players play the game. If a coach is up to call a play or what not then so be it. It’s the head coaches that influence the officials who in turn influence the game. Bo, I zoo and others make it a point especially on their home courts.

  6. hwkeycubronco - Jan 6, 2014 at 1:46 AM

    The game should be about the kids not a coach or the officials.

  7. commonesnes - Jan 6, 2014 at 7:55 AM

    You can’t win a close game at Wisky. Bo Ryan’s refs make sure of that. You either win convincingly or you loose to the refs. This isn’t a new phenomenon. No good team wants to play an OOC game in Madison.

    • padraighansen - Jan 6, 2014 at 8:21 AM

      @commonesnes

      Where do I start with this ridiculously ignorant comment? Let’s work backwards. First, this was NOT an “OOC” (out of conference) game. It was a Big10 game. Second, Bo Ryan doesn’t hire and pick the officials for the game, the league does.

      The officiating was horrible on Sunday night, but it was consistently horrible. The crew did not have a good game. The difference is that one team’s coach let emotions get the best of him, and the other teams’ coach did not.

  8. toobit666 - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    Ryan works the refs more than any other coach I have seen. His players are constantly begging for calls.

    I agree the officials need to take control of the game. Rarely happens when Wisconsin plays.

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