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McCaffery steers clear of Wisconsin controversy

[ 5 ] March 12, 2012 |
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan

Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery beat Wisconsin twice this season. Now he’s trying to steer clear of a mini-controversy that surrounds a piece that put a negative spin on the Badger program and coach Bo Ryan.

Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated and CBS sent off a wave of controversy earlier this month when he ran a piece on si.com that critiqued some major programs across the country. Davis used two coaches from each of the six power conferences – some head coaches, some assistants – as  unnamed sources.

This is what he wrote about Wisconsin, based, again, on information from two coaches:

“Wisconsin: I don’t really respect the way they play. Jordan Taylor likes to run and grab you, and then throw his head back and try to get a call. If you set a pick, they take a dive. They cheat the game. Everybody raves about this defensive juggernaut, but that’s bull. They dribble the clock out and mug you out of the building. Part of the reason they lost to Cornell and Davidson is because when you get into the tournament, refs outside the Big Ten don’t fall for that. Taylor is kind of struggling, but they’re always going to be in the game because they’re not going to shoot until there are six seconds left on the shot clock. Then they give it to Taylor. That’s their offense. They don’t even run the swing as much as they used to. Taylor plays no defense because he’s trying to save his energy. Jared Berggren, Josh Gasser and Mike Bruesewitz have all had fabulous seasons, and Ryan Evans has really taken his game to the next level. They’re going to be in every game because of the way they play and the fact that they have a lot of weapons.”

I asked McCaffery about this criticism of Ryan and the Badgers on the Iowa coach’s teleconference Sunday evening. Here’s what McCaffery had to say.

“The only thing I can tell you is this: Bo Ryan is a friend of mine,” McCaffery said. “He was a friend of my wife’s (Margaret) before I knew him. I have such great respect for him, his program, how he does it. Without question a lock for the Hall of Fame. And if I’m fortunate enough to be here for 12 years, I hope that I can accomplish half of what he’s accomplished.”

McCaffery grew up in Philadelphia, Pa., Ryan in nearby Chester, Pa. McCaffery said he was not as source on the Davis story.

“I can assure you, unequivocally, it wasn’t me,” McCaffery said.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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