Gophers Season Over; Tubby Rumors Swirl


By Mike Gallagher

March is a great time of year in college basketball, but it’s times like these I wonder why I still look forward to it and enjoy it.

My bracket, like many of yours, has fallen apart.  The Gophers continue their brutal tournament streak of not winning a tourney game in 13 years.  Plus, Tubby Smith is, as usual, the hot name on everyone’s tongue whenever a job opens.

Firstly, let’s address the pathetic effort that was the Gophers facing Xavier today.

As we discussed in the preview Tuesday, the keys for Minnesota were their bigs as well as Devoe Joseph.  Quite simply, none of them showed up.

It looked as if it would be a dominant inside performance from the Gophers in the first half, as they were well on their way to setting an NCAA tournament record for blocked shots with ten at the half.  The record is 14 and the Gophers finished with 11, clearly lacking defensive intensity in the second half.

Iverson in particular was impressive in the first half on the defensive end, but the Gophers might as well have been playing one on five on the offensive end, because Lawrence Westbrook was the only one out there.

While in the first half the Gophers were getting inside, Ralph Sampson missed a number of easy shots at the tin, Iverson hurt the Gophers more than he helped them on that end of the floor, with his first two touches being tournovers, and Joseph was 1-6 from the floor and was nowhere to be found when they needed a big bucket.

As far as tempo went, which was our other key to the game, it was even in the first half, but leaning in the Gophers favor with the monotonous, half court game.  But in the second half the Musketeers got some fast break opportunities and some big shots from Jordan Crawford to seal this one up.

The Musketeers pounded the offensive glass as well, and when you get so many chances and don’t waste many of them (only six turnovers), you’ve got a recipe for success.

Crawford came to play and the Gophers had no answer.  He is a very impressive player, perhaps of NBA caliber, and made the Gophers look foolish on a number of different occasions.  He definitely made Indiana look foolish for letting him walk away after his freshman year.

Quite frankly, and getting right down to it here, shooting 30% from the field and having only one player score more than seven points in the game, you’re just offensively not good enough at this level.

Off the court, rumors were abound before the Gophers first round matchup about the future of head coach Tubby Smith.

Dennis Dodd of was absolutely convinced Thursday night that Tubby was headed to Auburn according to a “source close to the situation.”

Other reports a couple weeks back had Tubby linked to Oregon’s job opening.

Tubby has had a few different responses to these rumors, but all are along the same lines.

“Obviously it’s just talk, because I’m very pleased with what we’ve accomplished here,” said Smith.  He added; “I’m looking forward to coming back to Minnesota.”

When asked about the Oregon job when the rumors came up, Smith’s reaction was generally the same.

“I don’t address the rumors, because they’re just that,” he said.

Not to discredit Dennis Dodd, but read his report and the updates of his following it and tell me you believe this is happening.

One reason Dodd gives that Tubby is going to Auburn is that they’re looking for an African-American head coach.  That wouldn’t be an issue if it was one reason in a long list, but it’s one of the top reasons.

Another quantification he gives for the report is that he says the Auburn AD is “highly interested” and that there MAY be “mutual interest.”

Just absurd.  These are considered legitimate reports?  Reasons like there possibly being interest from Tubby are considered evidence of him coming?  Unless it comes out of Tubby’s mouth that there is interest, how is there interest?  Since that hasn’t happened yet, how is that considered reliable?

Auburn wants an African-American head coach.  Congratulations, but there are, at last check, 54 African American head coaches at Division 1 institutions.  Tubby Smith used to coach in the SEC, blah blah blah, the reasoning behind it doesn’t matter, it’s just a rumor backed up by evidence that holds no weight.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you that two million is more than 1.75 million.  Reportedly, by moron of the minute Dennis Dodd, Smith would receive two million per season at Auburn as opposed to the 1.75 he currently makes at Minnesota.  It also doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you that Tubby Smith isn’t in this for the money.  Coaching for 20 years at Division 1 basketball schools has made plenty of money for him and his family.  Smith is in it for his personal happiness and his family’s well-being.  A difference of $250,000 per year is a complete non-issue in this situation.

These are just rumors, and there are rumors every year about Tubby Smith.  Any time there is a job opening, Tubby Smith’s name pops up, and that’s how it will stay until he retires.  Is it that he’s had four different college head coaching jobs?  Is it that he left Kentucky out of the blue to take the Minnesota job?  I’m not one to say, but he was forced out of Kentucky and couldn’t help but leave Georgia when offered the Kentucky job, it was his dream.  He’s not as prone to job hopping as much as people think.

Will Tubby Smith leave the Gophers?  NO.  It’s not going to happen and these rumors are just as unsubstantiated as all the previous offseason speculation.

On the off chance that he does leave, Auburn wouldn’t seem to even be tops on his list.

Oregon is a better job and with the AD just stepping down, perhaps he could be persuaded by the whole fresh start, you-and-me til the end with the athletic director thing.  On top of the fact that Oregon has had recent success on the national stage as opposed to Auburn’s futility, it would seem like a no-brainer to take the Oregon job over Auburn.

But I’ll leave all the speculation at that, because that’s all it is.  There’s no reason to expand on it further other than to say, Tubby has done a great job with this team and if he says he is happy here, why not take him at his word?

In summary, the Gophers never showed up today and Dennis Dodd is an idiot.  A Gophers season recap and offseason preview will be available within the next few days to the loyal and loved readers of The Sports Bank.


  1. aww… how nice to hear how much you care for your readers! i trust you, mike, & if you say tubby’s staying, i will take that to the bank & sleep well tonight!

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