08:21 AM ET 02.12 | Minnesota's weekend loss to Illinois dropped its Big Ten record to 5-6, further damaging Tubby Smith's conference record in February over the past three years. The timing of Smith's latest ugly loss is interesting. Last year, Illinois pursued Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart. He turned down the job. Smart was hired at VCU as a 32-year-old, in a piece of managerial brilliance, by newish Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague. Smith has a new, restructured contract that calls for a $2.5 million buyout. ... [That] number is starting to look like a bargain. ... If he can't drag his most talented team back to .500 and make his program presentable for the NCAA tournament selectors, Teague should buy him out and lure Smart to The Barn.