I wonder how we'll look back on Tubby Smith's tenure in Minnesota. Underachieving? Disappointing? Or just about right? Minnesota knew what they were getting when they hired him: a coach who had turned Kentucky into second round NCAA Team. And that might be enough for, say, Wisconsin, but it sure as hell isn't good enough for Kentucky. Why do you think Kentucky fans gave him the name "Ten Loss Tubby"?
But anyone had to be better than Dan Monson. In his first three seasons at Minnesota Tubby won at least 20 games and took the Golden Gophers to the NIT and NCAA Tournament twice. Things were promising. Then they went 17-14 (Not the end of the world). Then they were the NIT runner-up (THE HORROR). Then they made it to the third round of the NCAA Tournament (OMG NO. See the trend?). The whole "third round of the NCAA Tournament" thing doesn't sound so bad but considering they were 15-1 at one point in the season you thought they'd do better. I suppose that's the motto of Tubby Smith's career: you thought they'd do better.
As a dose of perspective, here's some historical facts on Tubby and Minnesota's basketball history:
- Minnesota has made the NCAA Tournament twelve times. Four of those appearances were forfeited due to the Clem Haskins scandal of the 1990's. That means Tubby Smith has taken Minnesota to nearly 40% of their Tournament appearances.
- Smith finished his career with a 46-62 (.426) Big Ten record. That's the highest winning percentage in conference (post-sanctions) since Jim Dutcher, who coached Minnesota from 1975-1986 and went 83-89 (.483). Has any head coach not cheated at Minnesota? Furthermore, does anyone have a winning conference record?
- Smith had 5 seasons of at least 20 wins. That's the most for a Minnesota head coach since...well...at least Bill Musselman.
But now, TubbyTime is dead and gone. Let us remember him in happier times:
Now time to explore some of the possible candidates. Here's a few of the names:
- Shaka Smart: Current head coach at VCU that has ties to the Minnesota athletic department. Unfortunately, he also has better job offers and has passed up BETTER job offers in the past.
- Flip Saunders: Former NBA head coach. You remember Flip, right? Coached the Pistons? Got fired? Got fired basically everywhere he's been? He's also old.
- Anthony Grant: Head coach at Alabama.
- Brad Stevens: Head coach at Butler.
- Josh Pastner: Head coach at Memphis.
- Buzz Williams: Head coach at Marquette.
- Dane Fife: Assistant head coach at Michigan State.
- Chris Mooney: Head coach at Richmond.
- Bill Carmody?!??!?!?!
Minnesota is not hiring a search firm and will be handling the whole operation in house. As much as they'd like to get Shaka I think he's completely out of the question. It will probably be a coach from a Mid-Major but I highly doubt Stevens, Mooney or Williams will give up their comfortable jobs for the risks of Minneapolis. Thoughts? I hear Todd Lickliter is looking for a better job...
- The Crimson Quarry has a great piece on the history of the Indiana v. Syracuse series. Which isn't really a series...but the Hoosiers and Orange have met a bunch of times in the NCAA Tournament.
- Iowa's road trip to Virginia is their last chance to break through a road block.
- MLive asks why the Michigan Wolverines can't win a national title.
- Tom Izzo embraces the challenge that Duke presents. He also says he wasn't happy about Tubby getting fired. He also wasn't happy about Todd Lickliter getting fired. Why do we always ask him? Who cares?
- With Tubby out, this is Norwood Teague's first opportunity to make a mark on the Minnesota program.
- Minnesota's loss is Northwestern's gain! ... Apparently.
- Why Northwestern's 2QB system works, via the ESPN.
- Buckeye Battle Cry breaks down the tOSU v. Arizona NCAA Tournament game.
- Mark Emmert says the Penn State penalties will likely remain.
- Purdue lost to whatever Santa Clara is so uh...let's talk about spring football!
- Wisconsin basketball was like a box of chocolates. So many Bruesewitz v. Gump comparisons...
- Finally, the University of the Maryland doesn't have their Big Ten contract. No big deal.