SAN ANTONIO — Usually Shaka Smart is a bastion of calm during basketball games. The Virginia Commonwealth University coach’s tie stays tightened, sleeves remain buttoned and face devoid of unease or panic. He doesn’t deliver red-faced rants to players or officials. Unflappable comes to mind.
All that made Smart’s technical foul in Sunday’s upset of Kansas well out of character.
“I was mad at myself after I got it,” Smart admitted. “I kind of lost it a little bit.”
After Ed Nixon was called for an offensive foul with 15:43 remaining in the second half, Smart charged onto the court to protest. The technical came quickly, in the midst of a 17-5 Kansas surge.
Smart insisted he didn’t say anything to the referees. His gait was the problem.
“(I) ran a little bit faster than I should have,” Smart said, adding that was the reason he received last season’s technical. ” I’ve got to control my pace as I move toward the officials.”
Smart’s assistants finally pulled him back to the huddle. He apologized, then gave them the sort of speech that sends teams to the Final Four. Much of it isn’t printable.
“It was basically, ‘Forget about the refs, forget Kansas. This is about us and we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do,’” Smart said. “And we did.”