The blog formerly about a daily dose of mostly Minnesota sports rants and raves with a sprinkling of general sports commentary and a pinch of jaded-malaise regarding the world around us

March 25, 2013

Tubby Done

Apparently, support within the university and among the fan base was at an all-time low, even though people around the country are snickering and saying that a program like the U has no right to have high expectations, and was lucky to even have Tubby (I disagree, but don't want to digress).  Quite frankly, Tubby never really did much, besides stabilize the program after the Monson debacle.  The players never improved, good players transferred and got better (see Justin Cobbs at Cal and Colton Iverson at Colorado St.), and the team regressed as each year wore on.  I thought the article linked below provided a good take: the team simply didn't consistently compete and play hard.  We weren't expecting Final Fours, but we were hoping for better than 9th in the Big Ten with an experienced team.

http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/81798/for-tubby-smith-and-gophers-it-was-time

2 Comments:

Blogger MCA said...

Let's stipulate that this season was a disappointment. I would argue that had they not started the season playing out of their minds, it wouldn't have been nearly as disappointing, given the historic strength of the conference this year. But losing to NW, Iowa, Purdue and whatnot when you had a top quartile finish in the conference and 4 seed at worst in your sights is quite a disappointment.

I'll also grant that Tubby's teams have shown a knack for sliding backwards and/or collapsing at the U. I understand fan frustration.

At the same time, the national media is at least partly right here, as well. (1) This program was a piece of garbage at the end of Monson's time, in terms of cupboard of talent and W/L's [note that I was always mindful and appreciative of what Monson did for the program in the wake of Haskins, while nonetheless not disagreeing with ending his time there]. (2) Tubby engineered three NCAA Tournament appearances in 6 years, and just got the program its first NCAA Tournament victory that won't subsequently be vacated in over 20 years. (3) We are not in a good position to hire someone that's anything but a 50/50 bust potential at this point, unless Teague really does have a line on Shaka Smart [I presume his master plan is some other guy from the Villa 7 ranks - Smart turned down Illinois, why would he come here just to be reunited with his former boss?].

Where I think the whole "Why CAN'T we have higher hopes and expectations?" line falls is that it doesn't include any provision for timing. Of course Minnesota can and should have hopes and expectations of something more than the occasional NCAA Tourney victory and middle of the pack B1G finish (with a B1G Tournament runnerup every once in awhile). It just shouldn't have them yet. They needed 3-4 more years of sustained better than mediocrity before deciding they're too big for their britches. A track record of a few more tournament appearances to get on the radar as a better than average program with somewhere to go.

March 26, 2013 at 4:46 PM

 
Blogger MCA said...

Adding to the wordiness above:

I think Smith, for all his problems with never seeming to actually get the full potential (or even 85% of it) out of the teams he put together, was on the way to providing that solidity at the "better than average, not a powerhouse but something that could be built upon" stage of a program.

Having Tubby fall into their lap raised expectations, rightly, but too swiftly and too high. This is a program with four, FOUR Sweet 16 appearances in its entire history. It hasn't won the Big Ten in over 30 years. I could name at least 35 to 40 programs off the top of my head that would be above the U on the "best head coaching jobs" rankings; and at least that many programs that are, circa 2013, probably thought of as higher in the recruitment minds of young players.

We're now gambling on the next guy bringing an increased profile our way immediately, when he just as easily could fail miserably and push us back to Iowa and Penn State territory.

They're not getting Shaka Smart. They're not getting Anthony Grant. They're not getting Ben Howland. And they sure as hell a'int getting Brad Stevens. I'm sure Teague knows what he's doing, and it's possible the next person treads water where they are now. It's not a terrible decision to let Tubby go. But I think it's one that should have waited another couple years.

March 26, 2013 at 4:51 PM

 

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