Minnesota v UCLA

Did Tubby Smith do enough in the tournament to save his job?

10 Comments

No. 11 seed Minnesota dug themselves to deep of a hole in their 78-64 loss to No. 3 Florida on Sunday evening.

The Gophers were on the wrong end of a Florida blitzkrieg in the first half, helpless as the Gators drilled three-ball after three-ball and stymied the Minnesota offensive attack to open up a 48-27 lead at the break.

Minnesota didn’t roll over, however. In fact, they outplayed the Gators for the majority of the second half, riding the hot hand of Andre Hollins to a 25-12 surge to open the second half, cutting Florida’s lead to eight points. And if it wasn’t for the foul trouble that Hollins got into midway through the second half, the Gophers may have come all the way back.

That’s a tough argument to make, especially against a program as good as Florida, but the bottom line is that Minnesota didn’t role over despite seemingly doing so for what felt like the last two months of the regular season.

The question now becomes whether or not that will be enough to save Tubby Smith’s job.

The irony of the Gophers’ opening round game against No. 6 seed UCLA is that the loser seemed destined to be fired by the institution they are employed by. Tubby got the win, and then put together a performance in the round of 32 that was much more impressive than the final score would indicate.

But he also once again headed up a team that climbed into the top ten in November only to see an extended losing streak in February cost him a favorable seed in the NCAA tournament. It’s become a trend for the Gophers, and that’s not the kind of reputation that any coach wants. The fans are fed up.

Are the athletic department’s decision-makers fed up as well?

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

WATCH LIVE: Hofstra travels to Delaware on NBCSN

James Madison forward Yohanny Dalembert (40) prepares to shoot against Hofstra forward Rokas Gustys, behind, during the first half of an NCAA basketball game in Harrisonburg, Va., Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. (Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
(Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record via AP)
Leave a comment

Hofstra tries to keep pace with the conference’s elite as they travel to Delaware on Saturday afternoon. You can watch this CAA battle live on NBCSN at 5:00 p.m. EST.

The Pride (17-8, 9-4) are currently two games behind conference leader UNC-Wilmington and they’re trying to make a run to close out the season. Senior guard Juan’ya Green leads the Pride in points (17.7 ppg), assists (7 apg) and steals (1.8 spg) and he’s surrounded by a dangerous supporting cast.

Delaware (6-18, 1-12) had lost 15 consecutive games before beating Drexel in their last game. The Blue Hens have struggled in CAA play but Kory Holden (17.5 ppg, 4 apg) will try to help lead the upset.

These two teams met on Dec. 31 with Hofstra winning that one, 90-80, at home.

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Saturday afternoon.

Michigan gets Caris LeVert back in a win over No. 18 Purdue

Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan (50) tries to steal the ball from Michigan guard Caris LeVert (23) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
(AP Photo/Tony Ding)
Leave a comment

Zak Irvin scored 22 points and Michigan’s outmanned front line held Purdue’s redwoods to just seven offensive boards, six second chance points and just 22 points in the paint as the Wolverines landed a critical, 61-56, win over the No. 18 Boilermakers.

Depending on who you listen to, Michigan entered the day, at worst, on the bubble and at best, in headed for the 8-9 game.

And they picked up a top 25 win.

So yes, this win was big for them moving forward.

But more important than the win itself was that Wolverine fans got a glimpse of all-american guard Caris LeVert. He played just 11 points and didn’t return in the second half, he didn’t score and he missed the only shot that he took, but LeVert took the court for the first time since Dec. 30th. That day, LeVert rolled his left ankle and most likely reinjured a foot that had had a broken bone surgically repaired twice in the last 20 months. Michigan never confirmed what the actual injury was and never gave a timetable for when he would be back in the lineup, which is what made his brief appearance so important.

LeVert isn’t done for the season.

And since the Wolverines managed to post a 9-4 Big Ten record with LeVert acting as little more than a spectator, they have a chance to make a run in the Big Ten tournament and get into the NCAA tournament.

That will happen with LeVert in the rotation and, if all goes according to plan, the starting lineup.

So even with a loss against Purdue, the Wolverines had a good day. Bolstering their NCAA tournament profile was an added bonus.