Faceoff: Does Tubby deserve to stick around?
FELDY: It was entertaining watching pretty much every fan in the lower bowl at Williams Arena on Tuesday storm the court after the Gophers upset No. 1-ranked Indiana. It was a nice win for the Gophers, a great win. The signature win of Tubby Smith's time in Minneapolis. The common consensus seems to be that it's enough to save Smith's job. But, should it be? It was just the fourth win in 12 games for the Gophers. What if they go 1-2 in their final three regular season games and bow out in the first round of the NCAA tournament? It was a nice win, a fun win, but it can't overshadow the bigger picture.
PHERSY:It shouldn't, but it will. Smith will be around for at least another year, and it's time to accept that. It doesn't mean he deserves to stick around. But the fact of the matter is, this team will be around .500 or better in the toughest conference in America. As frustrating as they are to watch, that should count for something. ... Feldy, we're in full playoff mode around here, so I'll stick with playoff questions. Is that how you see the Gophers, as a one-and-done NCAA team?
FELDY: Unfortunately, yeah, that's how I see them. As I said, they're 4-8 in their last 12 games and, aside from beating Indiana, there aren't many impressive victories on their schedule this season. And as much fun as it was to see them beat the Hoosiers, look at Minnesota's previous two games. They weren't even close, a 21-point loss at Iowa and a 26-point loss at Ohio State. The Gophers are 1-6 on the road in the Big Ten. Those facts seem to be getting pushed aside in the wake of Tuesday's victory.
PHERSY:Well, I'll go out on a limb and say they win one NCAA game, which will drive fans nuts as it will be another notch in the "Keep Tubby" belt. ... Feldy, let's dive into things we enjoy a little be more than a boring, sloppy college hoops team. The state boys hockey tournament is right around the corner. Can you give me a big upset, in both Class A and AA, or will this one be by the books?
FELDY: It's hard to bet against St. Thomas Academy in Class A. The defending state champs are 23-2-2 and have outscored their first two playoff opponents 15-0. They have a brick wall in goal, as David Zevnik has a 1.32 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage. I'd be stunned if they're not raising the trophy on March 9. Class AA is a tougher call. Every No. 1 seed advanced to the section finals, and no team lower than a No. 3 seed made it to a final. It's possible that six of the top seven ranked teams in the state poll will reach the state tournament. ... Phersy, you'll be up to the top of your singlet in wrestling this weekend. What should folks in St. Paul watch for?
PHERSY:Well, I don't remember ever being more excited for the state team tournament. Tonight's Class AA finals between Kasson-Mantorville and Simley will go down to the wire, as will the AAA finals between St. Michael-Albertville and Apple Valley. I'm taking K-M and Valley (slight upset), though a case could be made for all four teams. In the individual tournament, it's unfortunate, but K-M's Brady Berge will meet Simley's Kyle Gliva in the second round at 132. That's a state-title match. Berge, as an eighth-grader, already is a state champ, and Gliva is a three-time state finalist. Hopefully, a silly matchup like this will finally force them to seed this tournament next year. I'm also beyond pumped to see Lance Benick of Totino-Grace and Broc Berge meet in the finals at 195. It's going to be a war! I'm pretty pumped for the whole weekend, actually.