Much to do about nothing

As far as I'm concerned it was much to do about nothing.

I reported in Sunday's paper about Nevada's Kyle Shiloh refusing to shake the hand of New Mexico State coach Reggie Theus following the 10th-ranked Pack's 69-65 win before a national television audience and a sold-out crowd at Lawlor Events Center.

Theus, according to reports, told Nevada coach Mark Fox about the incident. Bystanders said that Theus actually tried to chase down Shiloh after the incident, and that's when Theus and Fox exchanged words.

Fox said after the game his player was in the wrong, but I'm not so sure. Fox was politically correct in not mentioning Shiloh by name, but nearly all the media saw the incident and who was involved.

I've gotten to know Shiloh over the past four years, and that certainly is not his M.O. If you watched Shiloh before Saturday's game, he shook the hands of every NMSU starter and even hugged a couple of them.

I'm not wild about the ritual of shaking hands after every game.

Once in California, there was a fight between opposing players resulting in a broken jaw, and the post-game handshakes were stopped. In football, coaches tell their players to keep their helmets on after the game? Why do you think that is? It's because coaches are worried a disgruntled player might use his helmet as a weapon and hurt somebody.

Look closely the next time you watch a college basketball game on TV. Most of the time the players don't even make eye contact and just bump hands. Hey, if you can't look an opponent in the eye after a game, win or lose, why bother shaking somebody's hand. There's little sincerity after the game. The loser is down in the dumps, and the winner is trying not to smile too much.

I remember last season when a Kansas assistant coach started screaming at Nick Fazekas during the post-game handshake. Emotions were high then because Nevada had pulled off a big upset when Fazekas had blocked a last-second shot.

The Kansas coach later apologized, but if you didn't shake hands after the game, the incident wouldn't have happened.

The New Mexico State-Nevada rivalry probably resembles the Boise State-Nevada football rivalry or the Nevada-UNLV rivalry. It's physical, it's emotional and sometimes gets out of control.

I think Theus took things way too personally. If a kid didn't want to shake his hand, why worry about it. It's only one guy.

We don't know what might have been said in the past. There could have been things said on the court or in newspapers directed at Shiloh or directed at the Nevada team, and maybe this was Shiloh's way of responding to those remarks.

This was a hard-fought game and emotions certainly were running high throughout. Bodies hit the deck a lot more than normal, and at times the game resembled a rugby scrum.

The officials sure earned their money having to deal with both Theus and Fox during the contest. A couple of times, Theus had to be restrained by his coaches because he got so irate over calls, and I can't count how many times during timeouts he was out on the floor talking to officials instead of talking to his team.

At one point, all four NMSU coaches had an official surrounded, and Fox complained to one of the other officials in the crew. No doubt that crew was glad when that game was over.

Theus complained about the foul disparity, but that's something that happens all the time. In most cases, the home team will shoot more free throws than the visiting team. In my opinion, Nevada was the more aggressive team trying to attack the rim, and I thought that New Mexico State pounded on Fazekas the entire game with a lot of success.

No doubt that New Mexico State players certainly are looking forward to facing Nevada in the WAC championship game on March 10.

However, both have a lot of work to do before that. Fresno State is in New Mexico State's bracket, and the Bulldogs beat the Aggies twice during the regular season.

And, Nevada has to contend with Utah State, which knocked off the Pack 79-77 in overtime last week, and Hawai'i which is on a roll. Nevada survived two close calls with the Warriors this year.


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