NCAA Tournament 2013: Will Minnesota Gophers Use Buyout on Tubby Smith?


Mar 2, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach Tubby Smith looks on during the first half against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Williams Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Gophers’ March Madness came to an end when No. 11 seed Minnesota was unable to keep up with a superior opponent in their 78-64 loss to No. 3 Florida on Sunday evening.

Despite leading the team to an NCAA Tournament and advancing past a depleted UCLA squad, head coach Tubby Smith is on the hot seat.

Smith has been criticized for his team’s breakdown and extended losing streak in February, which almost resulted in Minnesota missing the NCAA Tournament. He has been unable to recruit top Minnesota prospects and has not had a squad finish higher than sixth in the Big Ten in six years.

The school has a reported $2.5 million buyout on Smith. He received a $150,000 bonus for winning in the second round against the Bruins on Friday. It was believed by some that Smith would need to win two games in the NCAA March Madness tournament to save his job, and he only got halfway to that goal.

Many fans are calling for former Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders to replace Smith and there is a belief among fans and local analysts alike that the Gophers will try their hardest to pry VCU’s Shaka Smart away from the Rams and drag him to Minnesota.