Monday, March 1, 2010

Steve Alford channeled his inner Bobby Knight

New Mexico picked up what was likely their biggest win of all-time as they went into the Marriott Center and knocked off BYU.

For those that are unaware, BYU is one of the most difficult places to play on the road, regardless of conference affiliation. Prior to New Mexico's win on Saturday, the Cougars had not lost in Provo in 21 games.

Not only did New Mexico win, they clinched at least a share of the MWC crown and earned the top spot in next week's conference tournament. But despite the impressive victory by the Lobos, it seems that everyone is talking about an incident in the postgame handshake than the actual win.

Darington Hobson saved the game with a block on Saturday afternoon.
(photo credit: B/R)

It started with just under a minute left. Jonathon Tavernari of BYU was defending New Mexico's Darington Hobson when New Mexico head coach Steve Alford called a timeout. What happened next is a bit unclear, but the general consensus seems to be that Tavernari played defense a little bit to physically for a little bit too long, and Hobson gave him a nice little elbow to the ribs for his trouble. Tavernari reacted and had to be held back by multiple teammates.

Officials checked the monitor but didn't give Hobson a technical.

That brings us to the post-game handshake. According to multiple reports, Alford tried to congratulate Tavernari on an excellent career at BYU, but Tavernari didn't take too kindly too the words. What happened next was caught on tape.

A couple things about this incident. For starters, the only thing you can clearly make out from either party is Alford saying "I'm gonna tell you you're a good player and you act like that? You're an a**hole."

Then, he had this to say after the game to Andy Katz:
"I was telling him he had a phenomenal year and career at BYU," Alford said of the senior. "He was obviously upset and had words for me. But he came into the locker room afterwards and apologized. It was a class act. He's a great kid and it was senior day so I felt for him. I understand what happened. He's one of my favorites in the league."
Confrontation aside, New Mexico has to be considered a contender for a #2 seed and, dare I say, a threat to reach the Final Four?


The Lobos have now swept BYU, beat Pac-10 champ Cal, knocked off Texas A&M on a neutral court in Houston, and beat both Texas Tech and Dayton when those two teams were peaking. They have won 13 straight conference games after dropping their first two to San Diego State and UNLV.

The Lobos have made it very clear that they are not afraid of playing anyone this season.

Maybe the country should take note.

No comments: