Earlier Monday, yours truly detailed Ohio State freshman Jared Sullinger's claims that he was spit on during Wisconsin's court storm after the Badgers' huge win over the Buckeyes Saturday. Long story short: Sullinger says a Wisconsin fan spit on him in Saturday's postgame fracas, and based on Sullinger's track record, we tend to believe him.
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, on the other hand, isn't as convinced. Ryan responded to a question about the spit heard 'round the world during the Big Ten coaches' teleconference today, and it's clear Ryan took umbrage at any criticism of Wisconsin's loyal fans. From the Columbus Dispatch:
"You know what? Every area of our facility is all videotaped," Ryan said. "There is absolutely nothing that has come to my attention. All I know is, we won the game. Deal with it."
Columbus Dispatch writer Bob Baptist e-mailed Wisconsin and Big Ten officials to see if any footage of this infamous spit has surfaced. As of this writing, he hadn't received a response.
For his part, Ohio State coach Thad Matta downplayed the incident, confirming Sullinger's account while also claiming the saliva projectile in question was "nothing too major."
"What are you going to do? Those things happen," Matta said. "It was a crazy environment, which was great for college basketball (and) for their fans and that sort of stuff. You don’t want stuff like that to happen, but you can’t do anything about it."
Matta's attitude is pitch-perfect. No, fans shouldn't be spitting on opposing players. That's not cool. But it's also not the greatest crime ever committed, and sometimes, when you're on the road in the Big Ten and a jubilant, fired-up opposing crowd is rushing around you, you might get a little ancillary saliva in your grill. It shouldn't happen, but it does.
In the meantime, we'll eagerly (read: I've already stopped caring about this story) wait on that footage Ryan is talking about. Only then will we be able to get to the bottom of this all-important (read: This is the last time we'll be mentioning it, thanks) case file. Stay tuned. (Read: don't.)