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Big Ten temper tantrums, ranked

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Who from the Big Ten have given us the best post-Bobby Knight temper tantrums?

Indiana v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

At the conclusion of last night’s Iowa-North Dakota game, resident Big Ten baby-man Fran McCaffery lost his mind when North Dakota stole the ball from an Iowa player in the backcourt with just seconds remaining in an 11-point game and tried to beat the buzzer. After the buzzer, he lost his class, ordering his players to leave the floor without shaking hands with the North Dakota players and staff.

Essentially, McCaffery said, “we’re not going to shake your hands because you played until the final buzzer.” After the game he said that he took umbrage with North Dakota’s physical play that continued after the outcome of the game was decided, suggesting that he felt their play, specifically the last play, was dirty. That’s one hell of an accusation and statement by a guy who coached, stood up for, and never punished Adam Woodbury, but I digress.

This was just one in a long string of McCaffery temper tantrums. But it got us thinking: what were the best (or worst) temper tantrums in the Big Ten post-Bobby Knight?

Honorable Mention: Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany vs. the world

As John M., former Crimson Quarry contributor put it when it happened in 2007, this was Jim Delany’s amateur hour. On the heels of comments disparaging SEC football and then-ESPN commentator Doug Gottlieb, Delany went on the offensive again when Comcast said that the Big Ten Network would be showing second- and third-tier programming. Delany said the comments were an insult to the 11 member institutions and added, “[t]here are no second-rate contests in the Big Ten.”

He followed this up by adding Rutger to the conference, ensuring that there would be at least 18 in-conference games played in basketball each year that are second-rate. Add in teams like Indiana playing a bunch of sub-300 teams, and Delany was lying through his teeth just for the sake of raising hell and milking a little more money out of his iffy product.

Honorable Mention: Mike Rice

C’mon, we weren’t going to do a list like this without Rutger. Forget the physical abuse of players, because that goes far beyond a temper tantrum. Let’s just go with him getting tossed as a fan from his son’s high school game.

5. Jim Harbaugh and Michigan fans after their loss to Ohio State this November

Everyone has seen the play by now. 4th and 1, or whatever, Ohio State trailing by 3 in overtime. JT Barrett runs and gets the first down. The Buckeyes go on to score a touchdown and win.

Everyone has also seen and heard the pissing and moaning coming out of Ann Arbor. Michigan fans think this was a conspiracy of the greatest kind. Harbaugh was inconsolable and promptly filled his diaper in the press conference following the game, which earned him a $10,000 fine from the Big Ten. A nuclear physicist from Wayne State (a Michigan graduate) went full Purdue-after-Indiana-fans-thought-the-kick-was-good and used some fancy words and stupid car-driving-by-you analogy to show that Barrett was short. And an array of Michigan men have been filling up message boards and blogs with their conspiracy theories and film breakdowns ever since.

4. Mike Davis at Freedom Hall

Hoo boy, this one probably should be higher on the list, but the contributors to this blog are admittedly Mike Davis apologists. But in making this list, there’s no way to overlook this incident.

With less than 10 seconds left and trailing Kentucky by one in Louisville, Bracey Wright drove the lane for a potential game-winning attempt and was whacked in the face by a Wildcats defender. No call came, of course, and Kentucky was able to secure the ball, dribble out, and draw a foul with 2.7 seconds left. Davis went nuts as he saw a third straight loss to Kentucky, and felt the fanbase, closing in. He ran onto the floor at Freedom Hall while slapping himself in the forehead and berated the officials before quickly receiving two technicals and being ejected.

3. Fran McCaffery and his entire staff go off on the officials, then Fran takes it out on the players and a chair

You knew we couldn’t have a list of these temper tantrums without Fran making the cut. In 2012, while getting absolutely throttled at Michigan State, McCaffery threw a huge tissy and he and his entire staff accosted the officials. Then, during the next timeout, McCaffery took the rest of his aggression out on his players and an innocent chair.

These antics marked the first real look we got at Fran McCaffery’s ass, and it wasn’t a pretty sight.

2. Fran McCaffery goes ballistic at Wisconsin

The Big Ten’s reddest and nudest coach unquestionably crossed the line at Wisconsin in 2014 after the Hawkeyes were whistled for a foul with 12 minutes remaining in the game. McCaffery blew his top and got hit with a quick technical. Then, he proceeded to bump an official and be shown the exit, which he did not immediately find as he continued to chase after the officials while being restrained by his assistants. His tirade lasted through the TV timeout, after which Wisconsin made four consecutive free throws to take the lead. The Badgers ultimately won the game by four points.

Iowa’s athletic director said McCaffery, “crossed a line of acceptable behavior,” and the Big Ten suspended him for one game.

1. Tom Crean goes after Jeff Meyer

It has to be, right? It doesn’t matter if this is a list of the best temper tantrums or the worst — Tom Crean going after Jeff Meyer, who “helped wreck our program.”

Here’s Don Fischer to set the scene:

If you don’t want to watch and somehow don’t remember, Indiana came back from dead to beat Michigan in Ann Arbor to clinch the outright 2012-2013 Big Ten Championship. How did Tom Crean celebrate? Well, he embraced his players, he jumped for joy, and he chased down Meyer, a former Kelvin Sampson assistant, and gave him an earful:

Maybe this wasn’t as much of a meltdown as Fran’s incidents or Mike Davis, but it’s hard not to love it as an Indiana fan, and surely it made all other Big Ten fans hate Tom Crean and his ill-fitting pants even more. But for Hoosiers, this was Tom Crean letting out all of our frustration for us in the most fitting moment ever, telling the Sampson guard “you couldn’t keep us down.” Look at Jeff Meyer’s stupid face. He couldn’t believe Crean would lose his mind in that way in that moment. All of these things are what made this temper tantrum great.

Surely we left some deserving candidate off the list, but it’s hard to argue that any of these don’t either have extreme whininess or over-the-top antics.