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By Matt McCoy
Thad Matta has company. His name is Bo Ryan.
Tom Crean, the coach of the No. 2 ranked Indiana Hoosiers, became known around these parts, for his quick, blow-by handshake with Matta following a Buckeye victory in Bloomington in 2010. It had many wondering if there was a rift between the coaches but Matta publically has insisted there's no issue.
But after an Ohio State win over the Hoosiers last season, Crean went on a bizarre rant during his radio show the following week. While never mentioning Ohio State by name, many in Columbus believe that his comments were directed at Matta's staff.
“I think when you get to the game and you get out there early at Indiana, you don’t see our (assistants) hob-nobbing with national media members and sitting on the sideline and relaxing,” Crean said on his show in January of 2012. “I don’t have a group of guys that are grandstanders, that are looking to get an article done about them. I’ve got a group of guys that are really, really hungry to make the team better.”
He went even further when the conversation went toward recruiting.
“Our coaches, they’re very tolerant, and sometimes I don’t like that,” Crean said. “They’re tolerant of some of the grandstand assistant coaches that run their mouth constantly against us in recruiting and want to talk about development, yet they’re the guys that are cheerleading and hob-nobbing and all of those kinda things."
Maybe Crean wasn't talking about the Buckeyes...maybe the 2010 Matta handshake (and others since then) are the product of a frustrated coach following a loss. Whatever the case, Matta isn't the only one to get the blow-by treatment. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan is on the list as well.
Crean came to Indiana from Marquette and coached against Ryan in the Marquette-Wisconsin rivalry. Now he sees him at least once a year in the Big 10 and Ryan has his number.
Tuesday night, the Hoosiers were 11 point home favorites against the Badgers and lost 64-59. It's Wisconsin's 11th straight win over Indiana including five in a row in Bloomington. The last nine of those losses have been with Crean in charge.
Following the game, the Crean-Ryan handshake was so quick that if you blinked, you missed it. Crean never broke stride and that immediately got the attention of the social media crowd with a variety of reporters and observers wondering about the icy exchange. Crean didn't exactly seem like a gracious loser in his post-game press conference either.
"They made some shots, especially at (end of) the shot clock that reminded me of the Michael Jordan-Larry Bird McDonald's (commercial) horse game," Crean said. "Some of those shots that they made...I'd like to see them take those shots again."
I have videos posted below of Crean's greatest hits. For comparison's sake, the first two are the Matta and Ryan handshakes. You can judge which was colder.
The third is one of my all-time favorites. It's Crean, celebrating with fans in an Assembly Hall lobby as though they had won the national title. It followed a 52-49 home win over Illinois in 2011. It wasn't No. 1 Illinois but rather No. 21. Holy overreaction.