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Monday, December 20, 2010

Mark Fox speaks, Mr. Blog Man listens

The Georgia men’s basketball team has a couple games before Christmas, including a sojourn to Macon on Thursday. Head coach Mark Fox discussed this and other matters, including his payout on his lost bet with Chris Barnes, on Monday.

- With four more games before SEC play begins (the Bulldogs play High Point on Tuesday night), Fox said he’s pretty comfortable with his team’s rotation. That’s despite not really being able to empty the bench, since it hasn’t had any comfortable wins this season.

Nine players got at least 10 minutes in Saturday’s win over Arkansas State, and Donte’ Williams and Connor Nolte also saw action.

“We’d like to get some guys still more minutes, to get their feet wetter than they already are,” Fox said. “But I think we’re starting to get a clear picture of what guys can do and what combinations work well together.”

- Fox brushed off the recent losses of SEC teams and what they mean to the league as a whole.

“If you just look at our side, so Tennessee lost a couple games. They also got some great wins,” Fox said. “Every league has a bad loss or two. Every league. Our league is no different. The ACC has them, the Pac-10 has them. The Big Ten has them. That’s something that’s not an issue just for our league.”

Fox had no way of knowing this, but as he was speaking Florida was in the midst of losing at home to Jacksonville.

MY TAKE: To be fair to Fox, he has to support and defend his league, but the fact is the SEC has more than a few bad losses. And it’s more if you count some of the blowouts, like Mississippi State to Virginia Tech.

“I haven’t seen it since, but last week our division had three teams in the top 10 of the RPI. And four of the top 25, so I think we’ll enough strength there,” Fox said.

As of Monday, Florida was No. 3, Kentucky was No. 7, Tennessee was No. 13 and Vanderbilt was No. 16.

Georgia was No. 42, while the two teams it lost to – Notre Dame and Temple – were both in the top 30.

- There might be more away games at smaller in-state schools in Georgia's future. The Bulldogs agreed to play at Mercer for scheduling purposes, but Fox said there are benefits to it as well.

"It might be a smaller gym but we like to play around the state a little bit,"" Fox said, pointing out that the Bulldogs played in Gwinnett last season. "So once in awhile we'll get out, just to make it easier for those fans to see us, who live in that part of the state."

MY TAKE: More and more big schools are having to play these games, because the mid-majors are jumping at the chance to do two-for-ones, as Mercer did in this situation. Honestly I'm not sure Fox really wants to do this on a regular basis, but it's a nice thing to say.

- Finally, Fox said he did make good on his bet to Chris Barnes. (Fox had told his senior forward, a 47-percent career free throw shooter, that he would run the steps at Stegeman Coliseum if Barnes hit two consecutive free throws.

It was reported in some outlets that Fox had to run at Sanford Stadium, but the coach said that wasn’t the case.

“I’m not stupid,” Fox said. “I’ll bet him that he’ll shoot 80 percent from the line – if he shoots that for the year, I’ll run Sanford Stadium.”

MY TAKE: It depends on how many levels Fox would have to run in order to say he actually "ran Sanford Stadium." If it's just from the ground up to the concourse, c'mon coach, that shouldn't be a problem. The whole stadium, yeah, that'd be crazy.


stick jackson said...

"Run Sanford" has a very clear meaning within the basketball program, because early in his tenure Fox got angry at the team for overall sloppiness of approach, and everyone ran every step. Much vomiting ensued, and a good time was had by none. Players still reference that incident as the one scenario that must be avoided at all costs.

<--- Dawg Stephen Himself said...

This guy is a CLASS act in every aspect of the game. We are VERY lucky to have Coach Fox and although we didnt know it at the time, it was to be the last great move Damon Evans made.

I spoke on the air with former Tech great Kenny Anderson, and he raved about coach Fox and said that he has NO DOUBT that UGA will be in the NCAA Tournament this year.

How things change in a hurry.

Russ said...

Agreed. Coach Fox has me excited about Georgia BBall. I like the way this team plays and the future really looks bright.

steve said...

Back in the Durham days UGA occasionally played in Savannah and Augusta. He even scheduled games in Albany and at Valdosta St. I think its okay to do now and then especially in southwest GA where so much talent comes from. It's a part of the state that frankly seems neglected by UGA and it is showing in our lack of recruiting prowess there in both football and basketball.