Chaos erupted following Sunday’s NCAA men’s basketball matchup between Michigan and Wisconsin when Wolverines coach Juwan Howard took a swing at Badgers assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft. Several players also appeared to throw punches in the ensuing fight.
As was noted by the commentators, Howard was slow to get in line for the postgame handshake following Michigan’s 77-63 loss to Wisconsin. It appeared as though Howard was going to walk by Badgers head coach Greg Gard without shaking his hand, but Gard stopped Howard and the two exchanged words.
Both men appeared to grab each others’ sweaters, and Howard then put his finger in Gard’s face. Several players and assistants surrounded the coaches as they continued yelling at each other, and Howard then took a swing at Krabbenhoft and appeared to hit him in the face.
Players and coaches from both teams then started pushing and shoving each other as others worked to separate the two sides. A few players appeared to throw punches as well.
Howard confirmed in a postgame press conference that he was unhappy with Gard calling a timeout with 15 seconds left in the game and the Badgers up by 15 points. Howard then said he took issue with somebody touching him.
“Someone had touched me, and I think it was very uncalled for, for them to touch me, as we were verbalizing and communicating with one another,” he said. “So, that’s what ended up happening. That’s what escalated it.”
Gard told CBS Sports he took the timeout to give his backups more time to get the ball over midcourt.
“We only had 4 seconds to get the ball past half court,” he said. “I didn’t want to put my bench guys in that position of scrambling, so I took the timeout. He did not like that when he came through the handshake line.”
Michigan Athletic Director Ward Manuel said in a statement following the fight that “There is no excuse for any of our staff or student-athletes to get into a physical altercation with others regardless of instigating factors.”
Manuel said he and other school officials have apologized to officials from Wisconsin and added that they will “review the situation more thoroughly and work with the Big Ten Conference as they determine their disciplinary actions and will determine if further disciplinary actions are warranted.”
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