Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Georgia-Georgia Tech: Paul Hewitt Has More To Lose Than A Game Tonight

AJC Sports Columnist Jeff Schultz has a mostly insightful piece on what tonight's Georgia-Georgia Tech basketball game tonight means for both head coaches.

Schultz talks about how this contest, which has no bearing in ACC play, could change (or reaffirm) perceptions about the job Hewitt is doing.

He continues...
"The perception since early in Mark Fox’s first season in Athens is that the Dogs have momentum and are moving forward while the Jackets are regressing and even imploding under Paul Hewitt. (Tech’s loss at Kennesaw State three weeks ago did nothing to change that.)

When I asked Hewitt Monday if he agreed with that perception, he bristled.

“How do you want me to answer that?’ he said."

That would seem to be the perception amongst both fan bases that at the current rate UGA will have passed Tech in basketball prowess very soon (meaning UGA is going to the NCAA Tournament and Tech is not)

Hewitt does have a "not so fast" in winning the recruiting battle for Julian Royal beating out Fox and Georgia, so Tech basketball is not dead yet among the top players in the state.

But results, not recruiting rankings, are what ultimately matter. Just ask the Mark Richt critics.

Fox was short on results in year one, but the improvement seen was enough for UGA fans to be giddy about this season and the future. The media followed suit with some picking them to win the SEC behind preseason player of the year Trey Thompkins.

Schultz contrasts what the game means for UGA...
"It’s different for Fox. Win or lose, there will be a sense of optimism about his program’s direction. Some are picking the Dogs to win the SEC."

I disagree with Schultz here. If UGA loses to Tech then the optimism will definitely be tempered in Athens because many UGA fans perceive their coach to be much better than the one they will face tonight. Also, the talent UGA has this year with two potential first round draft picks is at the very least equal to a rebuilding Tech squad.

Still, Hewitt has much more to lose tonight than just a game. A second loss in a row to Georgia, giving him a 4-7 series record, would be near impossible for the embattled head coach to overcome barring a miraculous and unlikely run in the ACC.

Even with a loss tonight if he still survives as head coach then we truly know the singular reason - his contract.

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