Fran McCaffery Earns One-Game Suspension for Sunday OutburstPosted by Brendan Brody on January 7th, 2014
During Iowa’s 75-71 loss at Wisconsin on Sunday night, Fran McCaffery briefly lost his mind and went after the officials, getting two technical fouls in succession as his team was leading the game by two. He was miffed over a couple of non-calls on Gabriel Olasemi under the basket, and then a foul call on Olaseni on the defensive end as the Badgers’ Nigel Hayes went up and drew contact. McCaffery stated that he intended to get one technical foul, but that he didn’t plan on getting the second one. After receiving the whistle, he went after the refs in an aggressive manner and was immediately given the second T whereupon he was ejected. Today, per a release from the Big Ten, McCaffery will have to serve a one-game suspension as a result. Iowa was also fined $10,000 and McCaffery was publicly reprimanded.
On the surface, this isn’t as big a deal as the amount of news and attention it’s receiving today. The reason for this is because Iowa’s next game is against Northwestern. Not to pick on the 7-8 Wildcats, but Iowa should be able to beat them with Peter Jok serving as player/coach. So in the general scheme of things, McCaffery missing one game is unlikely to affect the B1G standings. If you dig a little deeper, however, check back on Iowa at the end of January to see where they stand. Iowa is in a place right now that they haven’t been in quite a while in terms of expectations. None of the players currently on the roster have ever been part of a Top 25 team until this season, and none have never played in an NCAA Tournament game.
Was McCaffery’s blow-up on Sunday night a signal that Iowa is starting to crack under the pressure from these expectations? Iowa plays Northwestern twice in January, but the rest of their four games are all against teams that as of right now are slated for the field of 68. Was blowing an 11-point halftime lead, and the subsequent actions of McCaffery once things started to swing the other way, somehow suggestive that Iowa isn’t quite ready for prime time? These next couple of weeks will go a long way toward determining whether this is the case.
What happens next is that Iowa moves forward and both players and coaches try to forget that the game in Madison ever even happened. The Hawkeyes will play Northwestern on Thursday night without their coach, and then will head to Columbus for a nationally televised game against Ohio State on Sunday afternoon. If they can bounce back and upset the Buckeyes — no easy task — all else will essentially forgotten. If they lose that one, however, some questions will remain as the pressure will be magnified in Iowa City with several difficult games on the horizon.