Monday, March 20, 2017

Get your shit together, Georgia Basketball

This is not a fire Mark Fox post.

Mark Fox is coming back for another year despite a season that ended with a first round NIT loss, a season that can accurately be described as "about right for Georgia under Mark Fox."

And it damn sure isn't a criticism of our players. I see your talent. I see you hustling. And I know you're busting ass in a thousand ways I never see.

I'm sorry we've failed you. I'm sorry that, despite what looks every bit like the potential to build a big-time program, we keep handing you the keys to a rusted mini van.

Obviously I am not the first to point out that Georgia basketball ought to be better. We've got millions of dollars and we're down the street from talent rich metro Atlanta. It's hard to accept we've been historically this bad.

Mark Fox, whose all time record at Georgia is barely above 500, who has never gotten us past the first round of the NCAA Tournament or the second round of the damn NIT, is responsible for 17 percent of our NCAA berths over the full 79 years of the men's tournament's existence.

Because we've only been 12 times. Ten if you don't count the vacated ones.

Here is a partial list of the more than 51 schools whose men's teams have made the tournament at least twice as often as we have:
  • Western Kentucky
  • LSU
  • Virginia
  • New Mexico State
  • Tennessee
  • N.C. State
  • Iowa
  • Missouri
  • Wisconsin
  • Purdue
  • Oklahoma State
  • Cincinnati
  • Texas
  • Notre Dame
I have focused here on school with fewer resources than our athletics department, on schools where football is obviously king and on schools without a particular basketball pedigree.

You want to quibble with an inclusion or two? Knock yourself out. Replace as many as you like from the very long list of programs that have been more successful than us. The sheer number of them shows without doubt that Georgia's men's basketball program has been inexcusably bad.

There is no reason we can't be better than Tennessee at men's basketball, folks.

How do we improve? It seems obvious that some combination of smart decisions and throwing money at the problem is called for. We're paying Mark Fox $1.7 million a year. Should he fail to earn that salary next year, why not pay someone else double, see what happens?

Count me within the school of thought that hiring a great head coach is far and away the best thing you can do for a college athletics program, and if it takes a stupid number to do it, so be it.

I'd also like to see cheaper tickets, particularly for games when we know Stegeman Coliseum is going to be half empty. Also to that end: Go to a damn game.

I'd like our copious blogging corps to write about the basketball program. You ain't gotta be these guys, and I know video of that sophomore running back from Valdosta will probably get more hits, but show this thing some love, maybe it will grow.

Though, of course, that's not your job or mine. It's Greg McGarity's job, and he needs to do it better.