There are two horrid basketball teams in town. Last week I called for one of them to change coaches. I didn't mention the lesser of the two horrid basketball teams — the Minnesota Gophers men's team.
Why call for a change with the Wolves and not the Gophers?
Because timing and circumstance always matter in sports.
Mitchell is an interim coach who will be re-evaluated this summer. I don't think he's done enough to keep the job, and I believe there are great coaches available who would kill to coach Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. It doesn't make sense to keep him.
Pitino has had an even worse season than Mitchell. But he is not an interim coach, and he works for an organization that doesn't have an entrenched athletic director or a president who is sports-savvy. Unlike in Mitchell's case, Pitino's best players are not here yet. They will arrive next season.
Mitchell is a better coach than Pitino right now, but Pitino, under these circumstances, will get a longer look. That might not seem fair, but it makes sense.
Souhan on Sports: startribune.com/sports