Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tubby Smith Update

The last two years Tubby Smith coached at UK were 2006 and 2007.  In those years, the Cats were ranked 22d and 14th in the country by Ken Pomeroy.  But the 2007 team lost a lot of close games, and ended up with an 8 seed, and that was it for Tubby.  Here's what UK did in the next two years:

2008:  18-13 (67th in Ken Pom)
2009:  22-14 (56th in Ken Pom)

A pretty dramatic decline.  It turned out that you could do much worse than Tubby Smith.  Or much better, as Coach Cal has shown.

Meanwhile, Tubby went to Minnesota.  The year before he arrived, Minnesota went 9-22 and was 170th in the country.  Here's what Tubby did:

2008:  20-14 (81st)
2009:  22-11 (39th) (10 seed in the NCAA's)
2010:  21-14 (35th) (11 seed in the NCAA's)
2011:  17-14 (58th)
2012:  23-15 (47th)
2013:  21-13 (26th) (11 seed in the NCAA's)

Tubby's last team went to the tournament, crushed UCLA, and then lost to a loaded Florida team.  He was fired, despite three tournament bids in six years.  Minnesota brought in Rick Pitino, Jr.  Here's what he's done:

2014:  25-13 (48th)
2015:  18-15 (58th)
2016:  6-19 (181st)

Once again, it turns out you can do worse than Tubby Smith.

So now Tubby has gone to Texas Tech.  The year before he got there, they were a complete train wreck -- 233d in the country.  Here's what Tubby has done:

2014:  14-18 (83d)
2015:  13-19 (168th)
2016:  15-9 (41st)

In less than three full seasons, he has the Red Raiders on the bubble for the NCAA's -- which is pretty much where he had Minnesota while he was there.

There's a sense that Tubby sort of dropped off the earth after leaving UK, but that's not really true.  The evidence shows that he's still a very solid coach, capable of coaching up his guys to the point where they can beat almost anyone who doesn't have a lot more talent than he does -- just as he did at UK.  And as we learned, and as Minnesota is learning, you can do a lot worse than that.


  1. Last night, Tubby's guys won their third consecutive game against a ranked opponent, beating Oklahoma 65-63. The Red Raiders are now 16-9 overall, 6-7 in the Big XII, and 40th on Ken Pom.