Saturday, January 9, 2010

Georgia Has A Rising Star In Mark Fox

Georgia fell at Kentucky today, but in doing so put a huge scare into the undefeated and third ranked Wildcats.

Kentucky has two of the best freshman in the country, an experienced post man who could have been gone to the NBA by now, and a coach who has won 62 straight conference games.

But the Bulldogs nearly pulled off the monumental upset because of a Fox.

Mark Fox was hired from Nevada after last season when UGA dismissed Dennis Felton. While the head coach of the Wolfpack, Fox had five straight seasons with 20 wins or more, three NCAA Tournament appearances, and a conference title.

Kentucky came in today's game as 20 points favorites and a week to prepare for the Bulldogs. By halftime, John Calipari was staring at a deficit and survived 12 lead changes and nine ties. Georgia would close to within two with under a minute to play, but the Wildcats hit their free throws to seal the win.

Still, Georgia and Fox proved their win over rival Georgia Tech earlier this week was no fluke. In that game, the Bulldogs beat a ranked Yellow Jackets squad with three McDonald's All American's. Meanwhile one of UGA's main cogs, Ricky McPhee, is a walk on who torched Paul Hewitt's club for 16 points.

History says Fox's teams will be tough to beat in close games with a 57% winning percentage in games decided by six points or less.

History also says that a good coach can get it done at a football school like Georgia. Tubby Smith took the Bulldogs to the Sweet 16 losing in OT to Final Four participant Syracuse and brought UGA back to the Tournament the next year as a three seed.

The Bulldogs are a little undermanned right now, but Fox sits right down the road from the fertile Atlanta recruiting ground. The first year coach already has three NBA draft picks who have played under him in his short career.

This week's efforts showed that the arrival of Fox gives Georgia fans reason to pay attention in the Winter and not just fast forward to recruiting and spring football.


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