- The Washington Times - Monday, March 18, 2002

Bo Ryan knows the coarse words, in all their various forms, as he demonstrated late in the first half on Fun Street yesterday.
Ryan hurled a number of colorful words after Mike Wilkinson was charged with a blocking foul against Juan Dixon. It could have been a player-control foul against Dixon. One referee appeared to have ruled against Dixon before one furtive exchange led to another. Dixon was awarded the ball, Ryan an explanation.
The explanation did not seem to help Ryan. After the referee left the make-believe cage on the sideline, Ryan cut loose with his insights.
He must have watched the uncensored version of Bob Knight last Sunday night. Ryan could not believe the injustice of it all, although his Badgers actually were in fairly good shape at that point in the game.
The Badgers were up 20-19 on the Terps after Dixon hit both free throws with 6:50 left in the first half.
As one of the nation's leading educators, Ryan probably could sense what was about to unfold. He could see the mess ahead, and he couldn't restrain himself from conveying that message to his players.
Even his body language was wrong.
His face was red, his eyes wild, the disgust self-evident. His body appeared to be saying: We're in big trouble. Dial 911. Help.
Ryan is one of the deep thinkers of the Big Ten Conference. In fact, he was the Big Ten Coach of the Year this season. That is really deep. That means Ryan is a deeper thinker than the rest of the coaches in the Big Ten.
As one of America's celebrated deep thinkers and the deepest from the Big Ten, Ryan undoubtedly knows it is unwise to be in an agitated state around the players. If they detect anxiety in the agitation, they are more apt to play with a sense of anxiety, which is no way to play at all.
One of the referees eventually urged Ryan not to be such a demonstrative educator. Yes, this is important stuff. Yes, the sun might not come up today in Madison, Wis. Yes, life is tough, and it is especially tough in Afghanistan, in the Third World and dumps like that. But try to have some dignity.
Coincidentally, soon after Ryan went nuts in the name of good sportsmanship, the Badgers fell to their knees, shakened by the sight of the big, bad Terps.
The game was decided early in the second half, which probably was just as well for Ryan. He was teaching serious life lessons in the NCAA tournament, as all the suits on the sidelines are doing.
No wonder there are almost as many suits on a bench as there are players. There is a suit to monitor deflections. There is a suit to keep track of the timeouts. There even is a suit to record each time a player pats another on the fanny.
The Terps ended up beating the Badgers by 30 points. The Badgers earned major pity points. Give them that. To be nice, Terps coach Gary Williams emptied his bench late in the game. He was even nicer after the game.
"To lose four starters and go to the NCAA tournament, [Ryan] ought to be the National Coach of the Year," Williams said.
Madison's civic leaders at least should name a park or road after Ryan, so one day he won't be like Nolan Richardson and wonder why something isn't named in his honor.
The basketball educators need to be validated just as much as the next person. They need to feel the love.
It was tough to be so far from home, in Tony Cheng's neighborhood, in this den of inequity.
"I think we were outnumbered," Ryan said. "When it came down, it came down pretty hard."
The calls went one way, the Badgers the other. The Terps went on a 22-5 run at the start of the second half. The NCAA does not have a mercy rule. Otherwise, the game would have been stopped after Dixon put the Terps ahead 60-35 with 12:16 left.
"Whenever you smell blood, it just comes in bunches," Ryan said. "Once you get one turnover, two turnovers, the scoring becomes easier. It's just an emotional thing that takes its toll. It was very difficult for us to get re-energized after their one big explosion."
At least Ryan exploded before the Terps.


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