Don’t expect Dick Vitale to receive a Christmas card from Mike Anderson.
The Arkansas basketball coach appeared on The Paul Finebaum Show on SEC Network on Monday, a day after the SEC Tournament championship game between the Razorbacks and Kentucky turned chippy toward the end. As you’ll remember, Arkansas’ Moses Kingsley was given a Flagrant 2 foul for hitting Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox, warranting an automatic ejection.
Vitale, a noted ESPN announcer, went off after the sequence, saying, “They’re frustrated. There’s no place for that. You lose, you lose like a man. There’s no place for that, none whatsoever. For those out there watching, that doesn’t make you a man, that makes you a mouse.”
Well, Anderson didn’t agree.
Speaking to Finebaum, the Arkansas coach was quick to tell his side of the story and defend Kingsley. Anderson told Finebaum:
“Of course, the Moses Kingsley incident, he made a hard foul. I don’t think there was any intent or maliciousness. … It was a hard foul, and the officials did what they’re supposed to do — they got him out of the game. I thought they did the right thing. But for people to attack guys’ character, I think that is so out of character. So for the guy that was talking about that, who actually came to my locker room before the game, he did not even know the kid’s name. He called the guy Beasley. … I thought he just went overboard with (the criticism).”
It’s not a shock that Anderson would defend his player with such passion. Vitale gave pointed criticism, and viewers can draw their own conclusions about the play. Clearly, Anderson disagreed with Vitale’s characterization of the events.
This much is known: Anderson provided fodder for fantastic television.
Click below to listen to Anderson’s complete interview with Finebaum.
Mike Anderson had words for Dickie V after yesterday's game. pic.twitter.com/jGLRNOaVgA
— Razorbackers (@RazorbackersFS) March 13, 2017
Arkansas opens its NCAA Tournament play on Friday against Seton Hall. Game time is 1:30 p.m. ET at Greenville, S.C.