The Minnesota Golden Gophers got off to a strong start last season, but a midseason slide caused them to finish the regular season 19-14 and miss the NCAA Tournament. Despite a run to the NIT final, one analyst said Gophers head coach Tubby Smith will begin the 2012-13 season on the hot seat.
Smith was one of 12 coaches listed on the preseason hot seat by CBS Sports.com. He was one of two coaches on the list from the Big Ten, joining Bill Carmody from Northwestern. The list, which is put together by Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish, has been accurate as five of the 12 coaches on the preseason list last year are no longer coaching at the same school.
Here is what Parrish had to say about Smith's status:
There aren't many coaches more respected than Smith, but the bottom line is the bottom line, and the bottom line hasn't been great lately. Smith has lost twice as many Big Ten games as he's won the past two years while missing the NCAA tournament, and he's never finished better than sixth in five years at Minnesota. Combine that with the off-the-court problems -- a player and an assistant both were charged with DUIs this offseason -- and it's reasonable to wonder whether another lackluster season might encourage new athletic director Norwood Teague to consider another direction.
After a good run in the NIT, Minnesota finished last season at 23-15. The Gophers are 103-64 under Smith, although Minnesota is just 38-49 in Big Ten play over that stretch. Minnesota will open its season on November 9 against American University.