Monday, December 6, 2010

Georgia-Georgia Tech Basketball Game Is Litmus Test on Fox's, Hewitt's Progress

Georgia and Georgia Tech will lace it up on Tuesday night in Atlanta in a rivalry game that is huge for the confidence level in both head coaches. 

Tech Head Coach Paul Hewitt  has come under considerable criticism in recent years for inconsistent play from his team and a poor ACC record. Also, Hewitt is 4-6 against a Georgia program that has seen a lot of turmoil during the last 10 seasons. Ironically enough, his best win in the series came in 2002 against the best Bulldog club in that span. All four of Hewitt's wins in the series have come at the site of Tuesday's game.
Georgia Tech has already suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Kennesaw State this season and a loss to Georgia with a brutal ACC schedule upcoming would only add insult to injury. Also, Tech fans want some redemption for the loss in football a couple of weeks ago and see themselves as having more prowess historically on the hardwood.

Meanwhile, Georgia comes into Alexander Memorial Coliseum at 5-2 with all seven contests being decided by nine points or fewer, four by three points or less.

The Bulldogs held on for a 66-64 win against UAB at home last Friday. UGA fans are ultra-high on second year head coach Mark Fox who got a lot of pub in the off season as an up and coming coach in the SEC.

The media likes his returning squad, which includes two likely first round draft picks, enough to pick them third in the SEC East ahead of Tennessee. Fox beat a ranked Tech team last year in Athens that featured two NBA Draft picks of its own. And while the SEC record was not great, the Bulldogs were much more competitive in conference games than in previous years under Dennis Felton.

I would think UGA fans would expect a victory against Tech because of the talent they have and perceived advantage in the coaching staff as well. A win gives UGA fans more to crow about with their in state neighbors and a "BCS" road win for NCAA selection consideration.

However, a loss may signal a need to reset some lofty expectations that started the year and indicate Tech is not falling as fast as some think.

The teams have not played a common opponent yet, but word is that Tech played UAB in a "scrimmage" before the season and got blitzed by the Blazers. I use the term scrimmage because nobody really knows what goes on in these secret matchups.

The SEC is 2-0 in these cross conference rivalry games thus far with Florida beating FSU and South Carolina knocking Clemson. 

UGA has covered the spread in the last three meetings, but I expect this game to be basically a 'pick'em'.

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