Marilyn Indahl-US PRESSWIRE
Tubby Smith's run at Kentucky was solid by anyone's standards. Anyone except the faithful at Kentucky, that is. Entering his sixth year at Minnesota, Smith has hit a rough patch the likes of which he's never seen as a head coach.
Only two of Tubby's five seasons have ended in the NCAA tournament, and both of those were in the first round. Last season's NIT runner-up finish was his most sustained postseason run since 2005's Elite Eight trip with UK.
In addition to the on-court losses, player attrition has been common during Tubby's tenure. Six players have left the Gopher program since 2010, including names like Devoe Joseph and Royce White who found some success elsewhere.
An embarrassing DWI incident involving Tubby's son/assistant coach Saul Smith serves to smear the program, as do recurring legal problems surrounding sixth-year senior forward Trevor Mbakwe.
Minnesota is expected to contend for a mid-table position in the Big Ten this season, and that may be the bare minimum to keep Tubby's seat from being turned up to scorching. Both on-court injuries and off-court turmoil have conspired to keep the Gophers from reaching what should have been considerable potential.
If Tubby can't instill the discipline needed to keep his team from spiraling out of control again, it'll be time for Minnesota to find someone who can.
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