Minnesota Golden Gophers Basketball: Should Tubby Smith Leave?

Joe PetruloCorrespondent IIIMarch 10, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 08:  Head aoch Tubby Smith of the Minnesota Golden Gophers coaches against the St. Joseph's Hawks at Michael J. Hagan Arena on December 8, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

Multiple departures from players.

Nine losses in the last 10 games.

Two NCAA Tournament first-round losses.

Criminal charges and academic instances for more than one player.

Tubby Smith has had to deal with all of these things in the past couple of years. These are definitely uncommon waters for Tubby to tread in. His last season in which he had less than 20 wins was back in the 1992-93 season. Yes, his second year at Tulsa. Now, with all the criticisms of his team in Minneapolis, is this the end of Tubby as the leader of the Golden Gophers?

His hiring was one of the more positive, yet unexpected events to ever happen for Gopher Nation. Kentucky had slowly pushed him out the door, because quite frankly, second round ousts in the tourney in three out of his last four years was never going to cut it in Lexington.

He started out very well with the Gophers program. His first recruiting class included a number of star-studded names that led people to think that Tubby could return the Gophers to Final Four territory. Better yet, he managed a 20-14 season with a bunch of Monson guys that didn't fit his system.

A nice NCAA Tournament appearance followed the next year, and then the problems hit.

One of the most prized recruits in Gopher history, Royce White, ran into all kinds of trouble and might have even turned Tubby's head completely gray. If that didn't do the job, the transfer of Paul Carter and Justin Cobbs, criminal charges against Trevor Mbakwe, and the academic issues of his point guard, Al Nolen definitely did the trick.

Player issues have continued into this year with the transfer of Devoe Joseph. Tubby may be at fault for these problems, but that is up for discussion. Nonetheless, he has probably not enjoyed dealing with them.

This year, the performance of the team has to be taken into consideration as well. They are a measly 17-13, having lost nine out of their last 10.

Who is to blame?

Although the roster is really not all that talented, this one is on Tubby. He has lost control of this team. He never makes proper in-game adjustments, and his timeouts actually seem to hurt the team. He truly was a product of the program's prestige at Kentucky, and his true coaching abilities are now coming to light.

With the team heading into the Big Ten Tournament as the third worst seed, maybe it is time for Tubby to take a step back and decide if this is the right place for him.

I enjoy having him here because of the increased publicity and accessibility of recruits. Still, Tubby, it's your time to move on.