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It's safe to say ESPN analyst Dan Dakich and Iowa coach Fran McCaffery do not see eye to eye over the behavior of Hawkeyes center Adam Woodbury.
TV cameras caught Woodbury poke Wisconsin big men Nigel Hayes and Frank Kaminsky in the eyes while guarding them during the Badgers' 82-50 throttling of the Hawkeyes on Tuesday night. Hayes rubbed his eyes and gave up the ball after the first incident, while Kaminsky raised his arms and gestured for a foul to be called after the second one.
Dakich tore into Woodbury on the ESPN broadcast, describing his actions as "cowardly" and "gutless' and calling for Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan to send the video to the Big Ten and request that the 7-foot-1 junior be suspended.
"That's complete garbage," Dakich said. "When you do that, you're doing it on purpose to a completely defenseless player. It's one thing if you and I go up for a rebound and I knock you or whatever, but when you've got the basketball, you are completely defenseless. And he's doing it on purpose. You can say he's not and everyone can get mad at me all you want, but he's doing it on purpose. It needs to stop and the Big Ten office needs to discipline the kid."
McCaffery defended his player and took issue with Dakich's stance when informed of it after the game.
“There’s absolutely no way Adam Woodbury did that on purpose,” McCaffery told the Cedar Rapids Gazette. “Dan Dakich is completely out of line. He crossed the line. He is out of line. He’s not right, it was an accident. Adam Woodbury would never, ever, ever do that. EVER do that.”
It will be up to Big Ten officials to determine whether Woodbury will face punishment for the apparent eye gouging. Big Ten basketball communications director Brett McWethy said Wednesday morning that he would check to see whether the league planned to take a closer look at Woodbury's behavior or issue any sort of reprimand.
It might be difficult for the Big Ten to unequivocally determine Woodbury's intent, but there are certainly a couple things corroborating Dakich's view that the eye pokes may not have been accidental.
On the second one, Woodbury reached out with his right hand and rubbed the top of Kaminsky's head as though he were measuring a target. Only a couple of minutes later, he was assessed a frustration foul for an elbow to forward Duje Dukan's head as the two were scrapping for position near the basket.
The accusations from Dakich drew the ire of Iowa fans who felt the outspoken ESPN analyst went too far in calling out a college player. They blasted Dakich on social media, noting that Kaminsky himself laughed off the eye poke after the game and told reporters he'd had much worse happen previously.
Nonetheless, Dakich did not back down from his assessment.
Tweeted the ESPN analyst and former Indiana coach late Tuesday night, "The vine I just retweeted didn't show Woodbury measuring up Kaminsky by rubbing his head.. "Out of line".. Please."
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