Minnesota fired Tubby Smith on Monday, cutting ties with the veteran coach one day after the Golden Gophers lost to Florida in the NCAA tournament.

Athletic director Norwood Teague said it was time for a "fresh set of eyes" on the program.

Smith was 124-81 in six seasons at Minnesota, helping to bring the program back to respectability and ramping up expectations for a team hit hard by an academic cheating scandal.

Smith won at least 20 games five times. But he went just 46-62 in Big Ten play and never finished higher than sixth. The Gophers made three NCAA tournament appearances under Smith.

"Tubby has had a long and distinguished career and we feel it's time for a fresh set of eyes for our student-athletes and our program in general," athletic director Norwood Teague said. "We are grateful to Tubby and his entire staff for their hard work and dedication to this university, our students and the entire Minnesota community."

The Gophers started off 15-1 this season and climbed as high as No. 8 in The Associated Press poll, with wins over Michigan State, Illinois and Memphis. But they lost seven of 10 games in Big Ten play and squeaked into the tournament as a No. 11 seed thanks in large part to a win over No. 1 Indiana.

Minnesota beat UCLA to open the NCAA tournament before losing to Florida.


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Florida Gulf Coast: The Eagles returned to campus as heroes after a school that opened 16 years ago qualified for the Sweet 16 this past weekend.

Guard Sherwood Brown walked into a restaurant to buy a bagel and was quickly surrounded. People wanted autographs. People wanted photos. People just wanted to yell words of encouragement.

"I had no idea it was going to be like this, but I'm loving it," Brown said as he made his escape from the shop. "I feel like we're getting a lot of America behind us. I guess you could say we're a part of America's team at this point."

UCLA: Ben Howland was applauded by supporters as he walked into a news conference at Pauley Pavilion for the last time.

He thanked the athletic director who had fired him a day earlier and said he is excited about the future and wants to coach again.

"We had a great year. I was so proud of our players and coaches to win the Pac-12 championship," he said. "I feel very good about leaving here with a good nucleus."

TV ratings: The NCAA tournament's first week has earned its highest television rating in 15 years.

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