Having already delivered a potentially fatal blow to fading West Virginia on Friday night, Marquette coach Buzz Williams couldn't resist taking a parting shot at the Mountaineers immediately after the final buzzer.
As John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" played over the loudspeakers at WVU Coliseum, Williams celebrated a 61-60 win by pantomiming a ballroom-style dance right in front of the student section.
Williams' dance inspired a reaction from the student section reminiscent of what happens when a lit match is tossed on a kerosene-soaked pile of kindling. West Virginia students were so livid with the Marquette coach that they had to be held back by security as they screamed at Williams during his courtside postgame TV interview.
"They're mad at me," Williams told ESPN's Bill Raftery. "I danced on the floor. They got mad. I was two-steppin' to this song. They got mad. That's my fault."
Williams later offered a more sincere apology in his postgame news conference, admitting he was unprofessional yet insisting he wasn't trying to be disrespectful.
"I was just really excited," the Texas native said. "I grew up in the country and 'Country Roads' was one of my favorite songs."
Williams' dance was probably a bit disrespectful since "Country Roads" is so synonymous with West Virginia, but it's hard to blame him for being excited after his team won a game many penciled in as a loss mere hours earlier. Marquette suspended starters Darius Johnson-Odom, Vander Blue and Junior Cadougan for the first half and key reserve Todd Mayo for the second half because of a violation of team rules, yet the Golden Eagles still erased a double-digit halftime deficit.
If the win further validated Marquette as a potential Final Four contender, it also dimmed West Virginia's hopes of making the NCAA tournament at all.
The Mountaineers (17-12, 7-9) now must win at home against DePaul and at surging South Florida just to finish .500 in the Big East. Even then, West Virginia will probably have to do some damage in the Big East tournament because the only truly notable wins it has this season came against Georgetown and Kansas State.
Williams' two-step on Friday night isn't the first time he's been in the news for his dancing. Two years ago, he became a YouTube staple when he walked it out on the sideline after a nice follow slam from guard Darius Johnson-Odom against Louisville.
Everyone got a good chuckle out of that dance. Everyone but a handful of enraged West Virginia students probably did at this one as well.
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- West Virginia
- Country Roads