Sunday night's eruption of “Mount McCaffery'' — Iowa coach Fran McCaffery's two technical fouls and ejection in a 75-71 loss at Wisconsin — was still the talk of college basketball on Monday.
Barely 12 hours from the time McCaffery chased down officials in the second half, he formally apologized.
Props to McCaffery for publicly taking his medicine on Monday instead of hiding behind a statement or bullheadedly trying to defend actions that torpedoed No. 22 Iowa's hopes to upset No. 3 Wisconsin.
“You've got to be able to assess things that happen,'' he said on Monday's Big Ten coaches call. “That's what you ask your players to do.
“I didn't put our team in a position that benefited them. You've got to be man enough to admit that and say, 'Hey, I regret that.' I don't want, in any way, to put them in that position.''
The national attention the outburst created has other implications, which McCaffery rightly noted.
“You never want to do anything that would in any way embarrass the university,” he said. “We live in a different world.
“If you get a double-T 10 years ago, that was it. Now, everybody looks at it and everybody wants to assess it and weigh in on it.”
(Gee, any lessons to be learned here?)
McCaffery did his volcano imitation with 11:51 to go in the second half. During a media timeout, he protested contact that wasn't called a foul against Iowa, then contact that was called in Wisconsin's favor.
The first technical foul, McCaffery said, was intentional. Iowa had seen an 11-point halftime lead slip to two, and he wanted to refocus his team and alter momentum. But after the first technical, he charged toward a second official and got another technical.
“I regret the second T, no question,'' McCaffery said.
TV replays appeared to show physical contact between coach and official, but as after the game, McCaffery on Monday denied bumping anyone.
Wisconsin's Ben Brust, a 92 percent free-throw shooter, hit all four technical shots that gave the Badgers a lead they never gave up.
McCaffery is a Philadelphia guy who is no stranger to referee-baiting and shows of emotion. His technical foul and chair-slamming incident at Michigan State two years ago is proof.
Still, he intelligently and calmly answered questions postgame Sunday, and did the same on the Big Ten call.
The question going forward is how to walk the line between defending your team without hurting it.
“It's hard to define,” McCaffery said. “In a perfect world, you say your piece, you get banged and you hope that will jump-start things. Your assistants pull you away, they get two free throws and we're done with it.''
Belaboring the point and getting a second technical came at too high a price.
Overlooked amid all the hubbub was the nearly spotless first half Iowa played in one of the country's most difficult environments. Later, the Hawkeyes rebounded from Wisconsin's 16-6 burst with the technical fouls to close within a point near the end.
Despite the loss, Iowa (12-3, 1-1) rose two spots in the Associated Press poll Monday to No. 20. The three losses are by a combined 12 points to teams that together are 41-1.
That said, things aren't settled going forward for the Hawkeyes.
McCaffery can't keep playing 11 guys. The rotation will have to get screwed down to eight or nine for maximum effectiveness, especially to get senior guard Roy Devyn Marble and junior forward Aaron White more attempts.
A clear candidate for a reduction in time is 7-foot-1 center Adam Woodbury.
The sophomore from Sioux City, Iowa, has started all 15 games but still struggles with the pace of play too frequently. He averages 5.5 points and 4.2 rebounds with just five blocked shots.
But this team will be fun to watch. Iowa will make plenty of noise this season as long as its coach decides to quiet down.