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Klonsinski: What just happened?

| Wednesday, April 8, 2015

To be honest, I’m still trying to process everything that happened at the Final Four this weekend. And I’m not talking about wins and losses. In reality, the games were the side show at times, especially Saturday night.

It started off innocently enough as eventual national champion Duke trounced Michigan State. Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo — two of the all-time greats — shook hands, led their teams off the court, and the country eagerly awaited the more anticipated of the two matchups between Kentucky and Wisconsin.

As the second game moved into the closing stages, Kentucky freshman forward Trey Lyles did his best Rocky impression on Wisconsin redshirt-senior guard Josh Gasser. No call at first, then it’s under review. Good, they’ll get this right and … no call.

Suddenly, everything went downhill in a hurry.

A huge missed shot-clock violation on Badger sophomore forward Nigel Hayes’s game-tying bucket followed shortly after the Lyles no-call. Alright, just the game evening itself out, I guess. The media, of course, played to Big Blue Nation after the game about the shot-clock call but the punch/slap thing by Lyles was overlooked, typically.

I was only partially questioning our society’s morals at this point, but I guess it’s not that big a deal, heat-of-the-moment and everything. Next thing you know, Kentucky players are walking off without shaking hands. At least show some sportsmansh … Wait. What did Andrew Harrison just say? The Wildcat sophomore guard said what during a question about Badger senior center Frank Kaminsky in the post-game press conference?

“F— that n—.”

Really? There’s no excuse for that language, period, especially not at a nationally-televised press conference in a room full of hungry reporters dialed in for good quotes. Did you learn anything from the “Nigel Hayes Hysteria” that swept the nation after his “accidental” microphone slip about the stenographer in Los Angeles? Someone is always listening, and there are dozens of video cameras pointed right at you to capture the moment forever.

At least Harrison called and apologized to Kaminsky. As bad as what he said was, at least he’s taking responsibility for it … by calling it a joke on Twitter?

“First i want to apologize for my poor choice of words used in jest.”

As bluntly described by a character in “Monsters, Inc.”: “Shut up! You’re just making it worse!”

You have one hell of a sense of humor, Mr. Harrison, especially 15 minutes after losing for the first time all season. About the only people who laughed at what you said were your brother seated next to you and everyone who ever dreamed of watching you and your teammates make further fools of yourselves and the Kentucky program. Real funny.

Please, somebody, make it stop.

“[We’re] over it,” and “nothing more needs to be made of it,” Kaminsky said when reporters probed him for a reaction at Sunday’s press conference.

Thank you, Frank and/or the Wisconsin PR coaches.

Not that the action was confined to Indianapolis, of course. Like after seemingly every other major sporting event nowadays, Lexington, Kentucky, was restless for a few hours as students burned random things and rioted in the streets. Police there arrested 31 for public intoxication and disorderly conduct after some fights broke out. Fans in Madison, Wisconsin, took to the streets in a similar manner after the Badgers fell to the Blue Devils in Monday night’s national championship game, although there were “only” five arrests, one guy jumping off a light post and racial comments remained confined to Yik Yak.

Still, someone needs to be held accountable for something this weekend. I don’t know if you can fine universities or their presidents to get a message across, but something needs to happen. Saturday night’s events in particular were a disgrace to college basketball, one quickly being swept under the rug by the NCAA thanks to the championship game Monday night.

But hey, at least Saturday night saw a great college basketball game. Too bad it was completely overshadowed.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Zach Klonsinski

A History graduate, Zach spent all four of his years on campus as a resident of Knott Hall. Hailing from Belgrade, Montana, he covered a wide variety of sports in his time at Notre Dame, including Football, Hockey, Men's Basketball, Men's Soccer, Women's Tennis, Fencing, Rowing, Women's Lacrosse and other events around campus. You can contact him in his post-graduation travels and job search at [email protected]

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