Men's Basketball Roundup: Gophers fire Smith after six seasons

Associated Press Published:

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota has fired Tubby Smith one day after the Golden Gophers lost to Florida in the NCAA Tournament.

Athletics director Norwood Teague announced the decision Monday and said it was time for a "fresh set of eyes" on the program.

Smith was 124-81 (.610) in six seasons at Minnesota. He arrived in 2007 from Kentucky, immediately ramping up expectations for a team that was buried by an academic cheating scandal.

Smith won 20 games five times. But he went just 46-62 in Big Ten play and never finished higher than sixth in the conference. The Gophers made three NCAA Tournament appearances under Smith. They beat UCLA this year before losing on Sunday.

Howland bids farewell to UCLA after firing

LOS ANGELES -- Ben Howland kept it classy in departing as UCLA basketball coach, thanking the athletic director who had fired him a day earlier while noting the high expectations that come with running a program that owns a record 11 national championships.

Howland was applauded by supporters as he walked into a news conference at Pauley Pavilion for the last time Monday. The 55-year-old coach expressed gratitude for his 10-year run in Westwood, the longest tenure since John Wooden retired in 1975 after 27 years on the sideline.

Howland says he's excited about the future and wants to coach again, although he doesn't know where or when that will happen. He says he wanted to speak out one last time at UCLA so he could publicly thank his current and former players and his staff.

Michigan State guard keith Appling shoots with shoulder wrap

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State guard Keith Appling says he'll be "all right" in the Midwest Regional semifinals against Duke.

Appling practiced Monday with his banged-up right shoulder in a protective wrap after taking a pad off his left knee.

He hurt his shoulder in Saturday's win over Memphis with 8:35 left in the game and didn't return. He has been playing with a sore knee.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior is Michigan State's leading scorer, averaging 13.3 points a game, and has a team-high 3.4 assists per game.

No. 9 seed Shockers moving on in NCAA Tournament

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Cleanthony Early heard someone say before the start of the NCAA Tournament that only about 30 percent of brackets filled out by fans had Wichita State winning its first game.

Well, the junior forward has just one question now: How many had the Shockers winning two?

In a tournament that has given rise to the lower class, where double-digit seeds have become adept at knocking off the game's blue bloods, the ninth-seeded Shockers' upset of No. 1 seed Gonzaga has quietly put them in a position to make an improbable run at the Final Four.

The Shockers (28-8) take on No. 13 seed La Salle on Thursday night in Los Angeles.

TV ratings up for NCAA tournament's first week

NEW YORK -- The NCAA Tournament's first week has earned its highest television rating in 15 years.

The broadcasts on CBC, TBS, TNT and truTV averaged a 5.8 household rating and 12 share, the highest rating for the tournament's first week since 1998. That year, the rating was 5.9 and 15 share.

The networks say that's up 27 percent from last year's 5.6 and 11.

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