Midway through the second half of Maryland's battle with Michigan in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, things began to escalate.
It's difficult to tell on television exactly what happened to set off the two teams, but during a timeout, the two head coaches began jawing at each other. Both Mark Turgeon and Juwan Howard were animated, and the two teams began to scuffle around their coaches. Officials interceded quickly, and things seemed to settle down, until the two head coaches began jawing at each other once more.
TTurgeon was issued a technical foul for Maryland, but Howard was issued a double technical and immediately ejected from the game.
There was rampant speculation online about what might have been said to earn such a fiery reaction from Howard, but after the game, Turgeon said what he said was simple: "Don't talk to me."
"I thought I was as professional as I could try to be in the moment," Turgeon said in a postgame press conference. "Standing up for myself, 34 years of doing it the right way, and for Maryland basketball. And so that's all I did, I stood up for myself and my program and said 'Don't talk to me' and then it escalated."
According to Turgeon, this has been boiling all season. The Terps and Wolverines faced off twice in the regular season with both games ending in Michigan blowouts. There was a lot of chirping from freshman Hunter Dickinson toward the Maryland bench in those games, dating back to his recruitment history.
Dickinson plays with a chip on his shoulder claiming Turgeon elected not to recruit the local five-star big man. Most local reporters dispute Dickinson's take on his recruitment, but Turgeon has tried to avoid engaging with the big man.
But Turgeon also claims that prior to Friday's matchup he had reached out to the Big Ten conference and the commissioner to discuss Michigan's antics. It's not clear if he was specifically referring to Dickinson, or if Howard had gotten involved in the previous two contests.
Whatever happened then, Turgeon was clearly still unhappy with Howard on Friday He claimed in the postgame press conference that his response was simply him standing up for his players.
Turgeon did admit that he felt bad it happened, though he is unapologetic about the idea of sticking up for his program.
Howard had a similar recall of events.
"I'm going to always take ownership when I'm wrong and admit when I'm wrong," Howard told reporters after the game after apologizing to his players for losing his emotions. "So that's not the right way how to handle that situation."
According to his version of the story, the Michigan coach was trying to get an explanation for an out of bounds call by the officials when Turgeon tried to call him out for being outside the coach's box. Then, when Howard pushed back, Turgeon snapped at him and said "Juwan I’m not going to let you talk to me. You don’t talk to me ever again.”
Howard also claims Turgeon charged at him, which set off his defenses and led to his strong reaction.
Given that Michigan is a surefire one-seed in this year's NCAA Tournament and Maryland is likely going to fall around the 10-line, this is probably the last time the two programs will face off this season. But it will be interesting to see if any bad blood spills over into next year and beyond when these two coaches are on the court together once again.