Mark Fox has done a pretty good job at Georgia over the past three seasons. The Dawgs were above .500 in the conference this year for the third straight time. Should Georgia hold serve tomorrow night in The Steg against Belmont, Coach Fox will enjoy his third straight 20-win season, certainly no small feat since it hasn’t been done since the streak between ’96-98.
The AJC and other local media outlets have written numerous articles lately highlighting these accomplishments. I get it: things are better now than they were before Fox got here.
And I’m not advocating that Georgia get rid of Fox – he has two 4-star guards coming in next year to join J.J. Frazier, Yante Maten and a crop of rising sophomores that for the most part got decent game experience in their freshman seasons.
However, when it comes to winning against stronger competition, Fox’s teams have failed. Since the departures of Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie, Georgia has won just 4 of its 38 games against the RPI Top 50. Additionally, the Dawgs are just 3-22 when playing ranked opponents during the same time span. And again, this inability to perform well against better teams has been over the course of the past 5 seasons when UGA has been playing with Fox’s guys on the court.
Georgia doesn’t need a “breakthrough moment” as Mark Bradley stated in his article the other day. They need many of them. Georgia is the flagship university of the state and Atlanta is a hotbed for high school basketball recruiting. This weekend, if you tune in to watch any of the NCAA tournament you will surely see plenty of rosters sporting players from the state of Georgia (1-seed Virginia has 3). UGA is in a Power 5 conference, yet its track record against the RPI Top 50 resembles that of a mid-major program.
At some point, Georgia needs to become a regular in the NCAA tournament. Can Fox get them there?