The Hot Seat: Tubby Smith vs. Ben Howland


If winners take all, what do the losers get? In the case of Friday night's NCAA Tournament game between the Gophers and UCLA, the loser's head coach might get fired.

While Tubby Smith has been place on the proverbial hot seat by Twin Cities media, UCLA head coach Ben Howland is on a much hotter seat.

Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times writes that Howland is "on thin ice." If the Bruins don't reach the Sweet 16, he could be fired.

Tubby Smith tells the Pioneer Press that Howland has handled the scrutiny "as well as anybody in the country."

The microscope on Gophers basketball isn't comparable to UCLA. While Smith has taken Minnesota to the NCAA Tournament just three times in six years, Howland went to three straight Final Fours (2006, 2007, 2008). If Smith had done that with the Gophers he would probably be untouchable.

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