Tubby Time at TSB

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By Paul M. Banks and Rikki Greenberg

Orlando “Tubby” Smith is currently the men’s basketball head coach at the University of Minnesota. Smith previously served in the same role at the University of Tulsa, the University of Georgia, and most recently, University of Kentucky. Smith’s coaching has had an immediate impact on the previously inept Gophers squad. The team went from 8–22 in 2006-2007 to 20–14 in 2007-2008.

Smith also led his Golden Gophers to the Big Ten Tournament semi-finals after defeating 2nd seeded Indiana. Coach Smith also harvested a top 25 recruiting class, the best in years for the program. In 2008, Smith had the highest salary of any employee of the State of Minnesota.

The legendary coach’s resume includes a national title, 5 SEC Championships, and three coach of the year awards. My apprentice Rikki and I asked him a few questions after his team got upset by Northwestern.

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Coming off an emotional win at Wisconsin, his team displayed a lack of energy at Northwestern, especially in the second half. Tubby talked about why they possibly had a (please excuse the horrible cliché) “trap” game.

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“You got to be able to match the level of intensity and if you don’t, you’re not going to win. I think the guys tried and we went to a line up, we tried a lot of different defensive adjustments and changing our defensive ability. I know we played hard and with energy. We’re a good team, but we don’t have that guy to take over and dominate the inside.”

In the midst of his presser, a spider dropped in on the podium. Tubby commented on the unsuspecting party crasher
“It’s a good sign right? (laughter ensues) Even he’s got the best of the Gophers! I’m going to crush him.”

You go man!

A reporter there asked him “whether or not the loss to Northwestern was a good thing for the team?” (que? Huh? What? Why?)

“Oh no, I don’t think there is any good time for a loss, but if there’s one time to be had certainly to get one behind a good win. I think it was a real attention getter for our guys…to understand how hard they have to prepare and play and I thought that was important. We played a lot of guys so we should have found that combination, but we couldn’t.”

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Finally, Tubby commented on how NU plays a “unique brand of basketball” with their Princeton set on offense and their 1-3-1 zone on defense. Mr. Banks (not Lacey Banks of the Chicago Sun-Times, but our own Mr. Banks) asked him what the biggest difference between the current Northwestern team is from the NU team Minnesota played last year, and in what areas they improved the most from last year…

“Northwestern doesn’t win a lot of games and they’ve battled through some of the toughest teams in the league. Today they looked they corrected some things I saw on the tape. A lot of it had to with shots…a lot of lay-ups and when you don’t shoot well, your problems get magnified.”

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Comments

  1. Does this man have “a chocolate face?”

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