Fallout Begins With Two Firings
Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith reacts to a call during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament against Florida, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Minnesota coach Tubby Smith reacts to a foul call during the second half of a third-round game against Florida in the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Austin, Texas. Florida defeated Minnesota 78-64. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Minneapolis — Minnesota fired Tubby Smith yesterday, cutting ties with the veteran coach one day after the Golden Gophers lost to Florida in the NCAA tournament.
Athletic director Norwood Teague announced the decision yesterday and said it was time for a “fresh set of eyes” on the program.
Smith was 124-81 (.610) in six seasons at Minnesota, helping to bring the program back to respectability and ramping up expectations for a team hit hard by an academic cheating scandal.
Smith won 20 games five times. But he went just 46-62 in Big Ten play and never finished higher than sixth in the conference. The Gophers made three NCAA tournament appearances under Smith. They beat UCLA this year before losing on Sunday.
UCLA Releases Howland
Los Angeles — Ben Howland kept it classy in departing as UCLA basketball coach, thanking the athletic director who had fired him a day earlier while noting the high expectations that come with running a program that owns a record 11 national championships.
Howland was applauded by supporters as he walked into a news conference at Pauley Pavilion for the last time yesterday. The 55-year-old coach expressed gratitude for his 10-year run in Westwood, the longest tenure since John Wooden retired in 1975 after 27 years on the sideline.
Leaving for A-10
Fairfax, Va. — George Mason athletic director Tom O’Connor says it’s “bittersweet” to be leaving the Colonial Athletic Association for the Atlantic 10.
GMU announced yesterday it is switching conferences as of July 1.
GMU was one of the founding members of the CAA, but O’Connor said the changing landscape of college sports prompted the move. Two of Mason’s regional rivals — Virginia Commonwealth and Richmond — previously departed for the A-10, and the switch also sets up a subway conference rivalry with nearby George Washington.
NIT: Providence Wins
Providence, r.i. — Vincent Council scored seven of his 12 points in the closing 5:21, including a key 3-point play off his only basket of the game, to lift Providence to a 77-68 win over Robert Morris in the second round of the NIT last night.
LaDontae Henton led the Friars (19-14) with 21 points and Bryce Cotton had 20. Council added 10 assists and was 10 of 13 from the free-throw line despite shooting 1 of 9 from the floor.
Providence will face Baylor in the quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
Karvel Anderson had 18 points and Russell Johnson 16 for Robert Morris (24-11).
Council made a spinning off-balance basket, getting fouled on the play. He hit the free throw to give the Friars a 70-64 lead with 3 minutes left.
Robert Morris ousted defending NCAA champion Kentucky in the opening round.