In the post-game handshake line between the teams, Michigan men’s basketball coach Juwan Howard took a dig at Wisconsin assistant Joe Krabbenhoft’s face, sparking a fight involving coaches and players from both sides.
Coach Greg Gard of Wisconsin pulled Howard aside in the handshake line, and the two men exchanged a few words before being swamped by players and coaches.
Before Krabbenhoft came over in the middle of the crowd, Howard shoved his finger in Gard’s face and grabbed Gard’s jumper.
Then Juwan Howard leaned out and smacked Krabbenhoft in the face. Both teams started bumping and pushing each other, with Michigan forwards Moussa Diabate and Terrance Williams throwing fists. Jacobi Neath, a Wisconsin guard, also looked to punch.
The Big Ten announced that the matter would be looked into carefully after talking to both the parties, and appropriate action would be taken.
Warde Manuel, Michigan’s athletic director, apologized to Wisconsin AD Chris McIntosh in a statement, and university president Mary Sue Coleman said she was reaching out to Wisconsin chancellor Rebecca Blank.
“I was aware of the conclusion of our men’s basketball game and watched it. There is no need for any of our employees or student-athletes to engage in physical conflict with others, regardless of the circumstances. I apologized to Chris McIntosh, and President Coleman has apologized to University of Washington Chancellor Blank for the completely reprehensible actions. We will conduct a more complete investigation and collaborate with the Big Ten Conference as they assess their disciplinary procedures and whether additional disciplinary actions are necessary.” he stated.
The game was competitive at halftime, but Wisconsin could pull away in the second half and coast to victory.
With 48 seconds remaining and Wisconsin leading 76-57, Gard used a timeout to remove his starters from the game and bring in his bench, including numerous walk-ons.
Michigan continued to play aggressively and defended with a full-court press.
Wisconsin’s inexperienced players struggled to move the ball up the floor and eventually handed it over, allowing Michigan to score a basket.
Gard claimed that he called another timeout with 15 seconds left to ensure that the players on the floor could break the press and advance the ball past half-court while avoiding a 10-second violation.
Regardless of the rationale, Juwan Howard was irritated by the timeout. As they walked past one other after the game, Howard said something to Gard, and the altercation occurred shortly after.
‘I didn’t like the fact that a timeout was called. I didn’t think it was necessary at the time, especially given the enormous lead. That didn’t seem fair to our men to me,’ After the game, Howard stated.
Juwan Howard informed reporters that he told Gard that he would “remember” the timeout and that the Wisconsin team escalated the issue.
Howard will almost probably be suspended, possibly for multiple games.
Both Gard and his assistants may face disciplinary action.
The Big Ten will review the footage to determine which player started the fight, which might result in suspensions.
After the game, Wisconsin athletic director Chris McIntosh said that he had already spoken with Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren.