Yes, the 2013 NCAA Tournament was more than a month ago and Tubby Smith getting fired is old news, but the Minnesota Golden Gophers had a tough break in the dance by having to play the Florida Gators.
First off, Smith should not have been fired. Sure, Minnesota did not record a win in the tourney in his time until this past season, but he still was a pretty good coach for Minnesota. It is not like this is a team that has extremely high expectations or anything. They may have some now, but that is a result of Smith taking over as the head coach.
I understand that the program probably wants to go in a different direction now, but good luck with that direction.
Alright, now let’s get back to the original subject. Yes, the Big Ten was great this season, but nothing could have prepared the Golden Gophers for the Florida Gators. It does not matter that Florida only made it to the Elite Eight and lost to a Big Ten team in the Michigan Wolverines.
The Gators were an amazing team. Not to mention, they could not miss to open up the game against Minnesota. The huge lead at half pretty much put the game out of reach.
Give credit to Minnesota for blowing out a very good UCLA team. That should be looked at in a positive light after the roller coaster season that the Golden Gophers had.
Sure, Minnesota had high expectations–once again thanks to Smith–entering the season and probably did not expect to get bounced out of the round of 32, but the Big Dance is all about the matchups. It does not matter how good a team is entering, if the matchup is not in that team’s favor, an early exit is probably in the near future.
For Minnesota, many fans could have seen this coming when there was a chance–which actually did happen–that the Golden Gophers would have to play Florida.
The Gators blew teams out left and right on the season and they did the same against Minnesota. The Gophers did not have the offensive abilities to keep up with Florida on paper and that is exactly what the case was when the game actually took place.
The Golden Gophers still had a great season, regardless of the results not ending the way that the program would have liked.
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