In the wake of a game-ending fight between Xavier and Cincinnati on Saturday, both coaches — Xavier's Chris Mack and Cincinnati's Mick Cronin — will be asked about it ad nauseam. In Cronin's post-game press conference, he had plenty to say.
Here's a partial transcript of Cronin's comments.
On what he was doing when the fight broke out, and the officials' culpability:
"I was trying to call time out. I saw (Xavier's players) talking to our bench. I had repeatedly asked the officials to stop it."
"I saw it coming and tried to call a timeout. With all due respect to the three (referees), that's where I'm most upset."
On the fight itself:
"There is no excuse for any of it. On our side, on their side, guys need to grow up. I'm not blaming anybody. From our standpoint, we accept full responsiblility and it will be handled. There is zero excuse for that in basketball. You gotta learn how to win, on one side, and you gotta learn how to lose on the other side."
"The world don't revolve around them, around basketball."
"It's a prime example of guys thinking they're too important, and I'm talking about everyone involved."
"That whole scene is embarrassing. It's a complete embarrassment."
On possible punishment:
"I will meet with my AD and my president, and I will decide who's on the team going forward. I've never been this embarrassed. We represent an institution of higher learning. It's way more important than basketball games." "And whoever puts their jersey back on — I made everybody take their jersey off, and they will not put it on again until they have a full understanding of where they go to school, and what the university stands for, and how lucky they are to even be there, let alone have a scholarship, 'cause there's a whole lot of kids that can't pay for college."
"They're all sittin' in there with no jersey on. Some of 'em, I physically took 'em off."
"At the end of the day, if (a suspension) has to happen, to answer your question, that's a shame, if you have to not play a game because of something like that."
"(Cincinnati's AD and president) don't have to worry about me doing the right thing, and the program standing for certain things. And that might not be as sexy as some people want it."
"Toughness is doing the right thing in life. We talk about -- that's what we talk about. So if that's the case, you're being provoked, or this or that true toughness, you walk away. You take your ass-whipping and you go home. And you get better."
"Certain people want to act a certain way? That's on them."
To a question about whether a radio interview by Bearcats guard Sean Kilpatrick provoked the fight, as Xavier's Tu Holloway asserted in a post-game press conference:
"That's ridiculous. Grow up. Okay? Our sports information department made a mistake by puttin' him on with someone that was gonna provoke him. Read the statement: the kid said he's a great player to start off. And then people wanna make something of it? Who cares?"
"At the end of the day, what's that got to do with anything? Play the game, you know? Have some class. Represent your university. He should've never even been put in that situation."
A final statement:
"My players, they need to handle themselves the way I expect the University of Cincinnati basketball team to handle (themselves), regardless of the situation they're in. Period. Represent our university. That's what I was hired to do six years ago. And that's what will happen as long as I'm the coach, whether we have five guys on the team on Monday, or 10 or 13. There's enough guys out there that would appreciate the scholarship. I don't care how good you are."
"That whole scene is just an embarrassment. Guys think they're way too important in the scope of what's going on in the world. It's not professional sports."
After that, Cronin got a smattering of applause from the assembled media members.