Michigan vs Wisconsin fight: What the sports world is saying about Juwan Howard striking Wisconsin assistant after game


An on-court scuffle between Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwan Howard and Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard was one of the biggest subjects in sports on Sunday.

The scuffle led to Howard drawing the most attention from it, as he threw a punch at Badgers assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft. Howard was irritated that Gard called a late timeout in a game where the Badgers were up a substantial amount. He’s likely to face a suspension but isn’t the only person from the program that will face discipline — players on both teams threw punches.

The fallout from the game will have big consequences for Michigan (14-11), as they’re fighting to make the NCAA Tournament. The Badgers, meanwhile, are 21-5 and preparing for another tournament bid.

Reaction to the incident made national waves in the sports world. The commentary about Howard’s role in the scuffle was strong.

“For Howard to react the way he did was alarming but not without precedent,” wrote CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander. “He had to be restrained from going after Maryland coach Mark Turgeon during last year’s Big Ten Tournament. He was not suspended for that. For this, he will be. Multiple games. If it’s for the remainder of the season, that would be appropriate.

“Some are calling for Howard to be fired. The Michigan administration can do whatever it pleases, but that would likely be a step too far. Howard doesn’t need or deserve to be fired what he did. Another incident like this, and sure, he would probably have to go. Two confrontations in two years is short of a trend, but it’s also not a good sign. The university, the sport cannot have this again.”

The Athletic’s Brian Hamilton said Howard’s job at Michigan should be in jeopardy.

“But Juwan Howard absolutely should be fired for what he did and said Sunday, if only because he doesn’t seem to grasp that the head men’s basketball coach at Michigan shouldn’t act like a child,” he wrote.

Zach Braziller of the New York Post believes Howard should be suspended the rest of the season.

“Whether the Michigan coach was right or wrong — and all indications are the latter — is irrelevant,” Braziller wrote. “His job as a college basketball coach is partly as an educator. He’s a mentor. He’s supposed to be a leader.

“He wasn’t any of those things on Sunday afternoon in Madison, Wis., after his team suffered a 14-point loss. He acted like a child. He lost his temper. He got physical with not one but two opposing coaches, escalating a situation that needed to be de-escalated.

“For that reason, he has to be suspended for the rest of the season, until Michigan has played its final game. He can’t be part of this program until the year is over.”

And here’s more commentary about the scuffle from Twitter:

— Aron Yohannes

ayohannes@oregonian.com; @aronyohannes

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