Fran McCaffery

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


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.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.