Michigan's Juwan Howard, Wisconsin's Greg Gard on solid ground

MINNEAPOLIS -- Time seemingly heals all wounds in the Big Ten, as Michigan men's basketball coach Juwan Howard and Wisconsin counterpart Greg Gard both said they've moved past last season's confrontation.

They even took a photo together at Big Ten media day Wednesday.

The turnabout came months after the Big Ten suspended Howard for the final five games of the 2021-22 season after he swiped Badgers assistant Joe Krabbenhoft following Wisconsin's 77-63 home win over the Wolverines on Feb. 20.

After the game, Gard grabbed Howard's arm in the handshake line, and the two had a heated verbal exchange before Howard hit Krabbenhoft. Three players, two from Michigan and one from Wisconsin, also were suspended by the Big Ten after the incident. Gard had to pay a $10,000 fine but wasn't suspended. Howard also paid a $40,000 fine.

But that was eight months ago.

On Wednesday, the two head coaches said their relationship is solid now.

"There's always been a respect level we've had for each other before last season," Howard said at media day. "Unfortunately ... that took us all a little step back. It's nice to see we're moving forward. Hopefully, everyone will join in and move forward with us."

Gard said he's had respect for Howard since the day they met three years ago. On that day, Howard was preparing for his introductory news conference at Michigan, but he made time to visit former Wisconsin assistant Howard Moore, who had been in a tragic crash in Michigan with his family and was being treated at a local hospital. Gard met Howard there.

"That's the Juwan Howard I know," Gard said. "We talked about that today."

Last year's confrontation, Gard said, is no longer an issue between the two coaches.

"We've all been in those situations," he said. "It's water under the bridge. He's competitive. I'm competitive. We all are. All is good."