Jim Souhan: Uh, Kentucky, y'all were right about Tubby

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 13, 2011 - 10:25 AM

Disappointments that led to the end of the coach's UK career are surfacing with the Gophers.

hide

Gophers coach Tubby Smith has not produced the results fans had hoped he would since coming over from Kentucky.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

An open letter to the Bluegrass State:

When Tubby Smith left the University of Kentucky to replace Dan Monson at the U, we provincial Northerners sneered at you.

Sorry. I meant to say, "Y'all.''

We assumed that if a coach of Smith's stature decided to leave one of the five greatest programs in college basketball, it had to be the fault of obsessive fans who have been known to spend entire evenings second-guessing the execution of a first-half inbounds play.

We figured a pungent blend of idiocy and racism drove Smith from a university built for and around basketball greatness, a place where he won a national title and his son played point guard.

Our suspicions were not baseless. Drive through Kentucky, and you still can find the odd Confederate flag and a museum featuring a dinosaur wearing a saddle, celebrating the belief that man and Magnosaurus co-existed.

To those Kentucky fans who based their assessment of Smith on facts and trends, though, let us apologize. You were right.

Four seasons after his arrival, Smith's tenure at the University of Minnesota is officially a disappointment.

Kentucky fans complained that Smith runs no discernible offense.

That he failed to recruit outstanding talent.

That his program had lost momentum and had slid into mediocrity.

Smith won the national title in his first season at Kentucky, with Rick Pitino's players. He continued to be remarkably successful through 2004-05, when he reached the NCAA Elite Eight for the fourth time in eight years.

Since then, Smith appears to have become a different coach. Since then, Smith's teams have been mediocre, and he has appeared increasingly aloof and sensitive.

At Minnesota, he is 31-35 in Big Ten games and has failed to win an NCAA tourney game. Since his last Elite Eight appearance, he is 49-49 in conference games and 2-4 in the tournament, despite having enjoyed the immense advantages provided by Kentucky.

If a coach without Smith's résumé had performed to that level over the course of eight years, he probably wouldn't get fired, but he wouldn't be treated as a conquering hero, either.

This week might have provided the low point of an impressive career. Smith not only coached poorly; he became whiny, an unseemly characteristic for a supposed leader of young men.

After his team lost to Ohio State last Sunday, Smith linked his team's weak play to Minnesota's lack of a practice facility. Smith actually told Minnesotans that it was hard for his players to walk across the street in the cold to lift weights, one of the most pathetic excuses in the history of sport.

After his team lost to a struggling Illinois team at Williams Arena on Thursday, Smith called out a handful of his players for gutless or unintelligent play. He even criticized Blake Hoffarber, who is playing out of position and with a troublesome knee, for failing to draw more fouls.

This is scapegoating at its worst. In college basketball, coach is king, and the program is his fiefdom. He is responsible for recruiting, player improvement, roster makeup, offense, defense, game management and public relations.

He reaps the rewards when he wins; he should accept blame when the program that is a manifestation of his skills and decisions implodes.

Hoffarber is playing point guard because Smith failed to recruit or keep enough other players who could handle the position. He ran off Devoe Joseph, whose presence would have guaranteed an NCAA tournament berth by now, and Justin Cobbs.

Thursday, Smith complained about lacking "men'' on his roster like last year's upperclassmen, Lawrence Westbrook and Paul Carter. Carter left the program. It is well-known on campus that Smith did not like Westbrook. Suddenly, Westbrook and Carter are role models?

Nearing the end of a remarkable career, Smith is becoming increasingly petty as his coaching skills appear to wane.

So congratulations, Kentucky. We thought Tubby viewed Minnesota as a place he could win. Turns out that when he looks at Goldy Gopher, all he sees is a 401(k).

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon on AM-1500 KSTP. • jsouhan@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Gameday: Gophers at Iowa

    Sunday February 13, 2011

    Preview: The Gophers (16-8, 5-7 Big Ten) will try to end their first four-game losing streak under coach Tubby Smith...

  • Smith seeking formula that ends the struggles

    Sunday February 13, 2011

    Tubby Smith challenged his team with pointed comments following a fourth consecutive loss. Against the Hawkeyes, he will see if the motivation works.

  • GOPHERS AT IOWA

    5 p.m. today • TV: BTN (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia 0 Top 6th Inning
Oakland 0
Toronto 4 Top 6th Inning
NY Yankees 2
Arizona 1 Bottom 6th Inning
Colorado 5
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 20 3rd Qtr
East Carolina 35
Army 21 3rd Qtr 0:00
Wake Forest 14
Virginia 16 3rd Qtr 7:31
(21) BYU 20
(6) Texas A&M 48 3rd Qtr 5:47
SMU 3
Rutgers 31 3rd Qtr 6:20
Navy 17
Central Mich 3 3rd Qtr 13:10
Kansas 7
Utah 20 3rd Qtr 2:25
Michigan 10
Florida 14 3rd Qtr 13:15
(3) Alabama 21
Louisville 14 2nd Qtr 5:12
FIU 0
Texas State 14 Delayed 13:35
Illinois 6
Indiana 17 3rd Qtr
(18) Missouri 17
Massachusetts 0 3rd Qtr
Penn State 34
Fla Atlantic 6 3rd Qtr 9:25
Wyoming 10
San Jose St 7 3rd Qtr 7:10
Minnesota 17
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 0 1st Half
Portland 1
Houston 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
New England 6:30 PM
Columbus
San Jose 6:30 PM
Montreal
Seattle 6:30 PM
Red Bull New York
D.C. 7:30 PM
Chicago
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close