It is safe to say the national perception of Tubby Smith being fired at Minnesota is a little, well, different from the local perspective. But we didn't realize just how different until our pal and colleague Phil Miller -- we used to be his boss until he defected to the Twins beat, where he is doing a fabulous job -- did us a solid and transcribed a podcast exchange he listened to between East Coasters Bob Ryan and Tony Kornheiser. It was from Kornheiser's March 26 show, and it went like this:
RYAN: The successes people can have in the first weekend are enough to carry them and make it a gloriously successful, or unsuccessful, season. Although, Tubby -- wow, I didn't see that one coming. Howland, you saw coming. But you didn't see Tubby coming.
KORNHEISER: Not after you win a game in the tournament, with a team like Minnesota that, let's be fair -- what are your pretensions, Minnesota? What are you talking about? Why are you firing this guy?
RYAN: Yeah, you know, Minnesota, I've said this a hundred times. If you go back to the '50s, and look at football and basketball -- Tubby, he may be the first ... we'll see what happens, of course, with the aftermath, but generally speaking, you can't win at Minnesota without cheating. Football and basketball. You can't. You can't. Because your talent base isn't big enough. You have persuade young men to spend time in a city that I happen to like, and maybe you like, but it doesn't have any glamor attached, and it's freaking cold there.
KORNHEISER: Yeah, it's cold.
RYAN: And that's that. It's hard to recruit there, and you can't win without cheating. And of course the most egregious example was Clem Haskins' disgraceful Final Four team.
KORNHEISER: Yeah, well, you can recruit Kevin McHale, because he lives in an even colder place, in St. Paul. But you're right, there's not enough bodies in the state of Minnesota, so you have to go outside to get 'em, and after you're there about 10 minutes in December, you go, what am I doing here?
RYAN: Yeah, Kevin was fine, he thought that was going to the tropics. He was coming from the Iron Range, in Hibbing.
We swear that is an exact transcription from Phil Miller, a respected journalist. He typed what he heard. Honestly.
Do you agree? Thoughts, please, in the comments.