Want the definition of March Madness? I finally had a dinner with my family at our table for the first time in three weeks. With my diet officially consisting of stale popcorn and Mountain Dew, I think my body is rejecting the other three food groups. You know…the real ones.
The only thing that might have impressed me more about letting Tubby go would have been if the Gopher administration would have had White Sox play by play guy walk up to the mic before Norwood Teague and simply say "he gone". Smith is gone and everyone outside of the Land of 10,000 is going ballistic because in paraphrase fashion, this is Minnesota and who better than Tubby would ever come here. Obviously those same people haven't watched the product on the floor. When the slide started and talk of a dismissal began I asked people within the news room to find a player that actually improved under Tubby's watch. I honestly couldn't come up with one and neither could they.
I still remember six years ago sitting court side at the state tournament when it was announced that Tubby chose us. Why do we do that? This isn't flippin' Siberia or even Wisconsin for that matter. I just hate the notion that as fans of the program we should feel honored that a coach chose us. He or she should feel that way about leading us to bigger and better. We are better than 42-62 in conference over a six year span.
The last time we were in this transition phase we went after the hot commodity college guy and landed Dan Monson. That lasted seven plus seasons where Monson went 44-68 in conference. Monson was dismissed during the 2006-2007 season.
Tubby's big recruiting class was getting both locals, Rodney Williams and Royce White to stay home in 2009. Williams never seemed to improve and White never played a game and left the team after he was suspended after a pair of incidents in 2009. The best way to sum it up is that what we got in Minnesota was Tubby Smith the man, not the basketball coach.
The biggest name out there is VCU's Shaka Smart but whether Smart answers the phone when previous boss and current Gopher AD Norwood Teague calls will play out quickly. Teague said during his press conference that he isn't hiring a search firm and that he feels comfortable in the basketball landscape with the relationships that he has built.
With one of the best high school junior classes getting ready to punch the button and commit to their school of choice, getting a new coach into the living rooms of the Jones, Vaughn and Travis families will be mission number one.
Flip the Script
Rumors of what exactly Flip Saunders is going to do have been rampant. One week, he is going to be the GM of the Timberwolves, the next he is putting together an ownership group to buy the Wolves. What is known is that he is a Gopher alum and a name that would lend instant credibility to a program in search of some. Having coached at the highest level, he would be able to talk about the next level to kids who still have a dream of playing in the NBA. From a fund raising perspective, Flip would be able to walk in on day one and start pulling money into the Athletic Department.
Wasn't it just yesterday we were wondering how long Wild bench boss Mike Yeo was going to last? After stumbling out of the gate, the Wild are on a six game winning streak that includes wins in Vancouver and Dallas. George Bush was in office in his first term the last time the Wild won in the Big-D. 10+ years later, we've got a winner and can do it again on Friday night.
I cut my teeth watching Moorhead hockey in 1995 when Matt Cullen was a senior. Save the Carolina season where the Canes won the Cup, Matt hasn't had a better season than the one he is playing right now. The pieces are starting to come together and with 17 games left in the regular season, we are in for a serious playoff run.
Ian is calling for 34 balmy degrees next Monday. At least it is a dry heat? With an already suspect pitching staff, do we really need weather to become a factor with our arms? That said, I am somewhat excited for the first opening day at Target Field. I only wish it would have been last year when it was 70+. Per the Twins web site, tickets are still available for opening day against Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers. We will counter with TBD. Hope his fastball is working.