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Did Tubby Smith do enough in the tournament to save his job?

Mar 24, 2013, 8:44 PM EDT

Minnesota v UCLA Getty Images

No. 11 seed Minnesota dug themselves to deep of a hole in their 78-64 loss to No. 3 Florida on Sunday evening.

The Gophers were on the wrong end of a Florida blitzkrieg in the first half, helpless as the Gators drilled three-ball after three-ball and stymied the Minnesota offensive attack to open up a 48-27 lead at the break.

Minnesota didn’t roll over, however. In fact, they outplayed the Gators for the majority of the second half, riding the hot hand of Andre Hollins to a 25-12 surge to open the second half, cutting Florida’s lead to eight points. And if it wasn’t for the foul trouble that Hollins got into midway through the second half, the Gophers may have come all the way back.

That’s a tough argument to make, especially against a program as good as Florida, but the bottom line is that Minnesota didn’t role over despite seemingly doing so for what felt like the last two months of the regular season.

The question now becomes whether or not that will be enough to save Tubby Smith’s job.

The irony of the Gophers’ opening round game against No. 6 seed UCLA is that the loser seemed destined to be fired by the institution they are employed by. Tubby got the win, and then put together a performance in the round of 32 that was much more impressive than the final score would indicate.

But he also once again headed up a team that climbed into the top ten in November only to see an extended losing streak in February cost him a favorable seed in the NCAA tournament. It’s become a trend for the Gophers, and that’s not the kind of reputation that any coach wants. The fans are fed up.

Are the athletic department’s decision-makers fed up as well?

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. kirschmania - Mar 24, 2013 at 8:54 PM


  2. mnwildfan15 - Mar 24, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    Just go ask tyus jones who he wants to play and then go hire whoever he says

  3. sdb74 - Mar 24, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    Minnesota will have a difficult time finding someone better than Tubby.

    • mogogo1 - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:03 AM

      That is simple fact. Always funny when unrealistic expectations make schools with no real history of huge success start thinking they’re a national power. Minnesota is no major coach’s dream job…it’s a backup plan.

  4. packhawk04 - Mar 24, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    Smith has recruited athletes instead of of basketball players. No good in the big ten. His my way or the highway style just doesnt work anymore, and it makes it even tougher knowing tubby came here to retire. 6 years and not one top 6 big ten finish. His big ten record is very similar to dan monsons while with the gophs.

  5. jollyjoker2 - Mar 24, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    Tubby aint going anywhere. He makes 2 million a year and has a smarmy pushover AD. Not a problem. The U of M has been that way for years. They had a chance to bring in Lou Holtz as AD a few years back and go big time and instead they brought in some weirdo. The last decent coach they had was clem haskins but some woman with a crooked nose with warts did him in.

  6. sdb74 - Mar 24, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    Minnesota could do Tubby or a future coach a big favor & build a state of the art practice facility like virtually everyone else in the Big 10. Even Nebraska’s practice facility is ridiculous!

  7. creek0512 - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:14 AM

    Minnesota has become Iowa before they ran off Alford, unable to live with their moderate success.

  8. kingghidora - Mar 25, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    My oh my how times have changed. The national press wouldn’t dare utter a word against the “great family man” Orlando Smith when he was dragging UK down to the depths of mid-major status. But fail to raise Minnesota to the level of the stars and it’s “hit the road jack”. It’s funny how parity is only OK if you are a team the media wants to lose. Anyone who uttered a bad word about Smith when he was at UK was an instant racist. Now it’s just the desire to be a winner that drives the idea Smith should be replaced of course. After all. Minn. isn’t taking titles away from the media darling teams and rounding up the best talent in the country by the truckload. The media doesn’t fear Minn. owning college basketball instead of their precious Duke or favored Tar Heels. But they sure wanted a halfazz coach at UK. They didn’t want someone like Cal showing up and cleaning up. It’s funny how it’s fine to suggest Smith might deserve to be fired now after failing to win 2 tournament games for the Gophers. He failed to win more than 2 after his first year at UK. You remember Kentucky. 8 national titles, more wins than any team, etc. etc.. It was oh so wrong for UK fans to expect to win more than 2 NCAA games but it’s not so bad for Minn. fans to expect to win more than one. Ain’t it funny how the color of the uniform changes how a coach is perceived by the media? Smith not winning in Gopher land is not acceptable. But not winning in the Bluegrass was not only acceptable, it was desirable for the nation as a whole. That whole nation view seems pretty appropriate considering the holes that promote it. Where were the NBC columns suggesting Smith should be fired for failing to do well at UK? All I saw was lectures on how UK fans should accept the inevitability of parity. Well guess what. We didn’t accept parity and now there is none of course. UK is by far the dominant team in the NCAA (again) even after a disaster of a season. The next one won’t be a disaster. It won’t even be mediocre like it would have been with Smith as the coach. It might be the best college basketball team of all time in fact. It is already the best recruiting year of all time. Yeah parity was always inevitable. That’s why the Gophers do just as well as the Wildcats now. They should accept parity – if they can achieve it.

  9. fanofevilempire - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    I want to see who they will hire if they do something stupid like firing Tubby.
    I love the fact that people think they can actually do better, this guy is a good
    coach who the heck do you expect him to recruit to Minnesota. I can see the
    guide telling you how much snow they have and how great it is for snow boarding
    and winter sport, would you really go to this University over Duke, UK, North Carolina.

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