There’s no changing this Georgia Basketball Team. It is what it is.
Georgia had not lost to Tennessee during the duration of Yante Maten’s time at Georgia and in the final regular season game at Tennessee managed to do so. Yante Maten was completely spent, he’s Mark Fox’s Hero of the Season and much like the way J.J. Frazier ran out of gas at times last season, the SEC Player of the Year did so tonight. The game does not and should not ever have to fall onto Maten’s shoulders like this, but it was designed this way. Mark Fox’s designated Heroes end up being Martyrs and that was the warning back in October in the charity exhibition game against Michigan State. It’s a shame that Yante Maten’s efforts were so terribly squandered under Mark Fox, but this is what happens when those in charge are either comfortable with losing in non-Football sports or actually want to lose. Yante Maten has done a lot of great things in Athens. And when he faced adversity – he was hit by a car, he played it off like it was no big deal. He’s tough, he’s charismatic, he’s the SEC Player of the Year and he’s a Georgia Legend. Strangely, the only person who recognized it at Thompson-Boling Arena was Rick Barnes. It’s time to retire the #1, but not for other greats like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Travis Leslie, but for an SEC Player of the Year who was able to accomplish so much in his four years in Athens – Yante Maten.
Onto the awfulness that was this game…
Georgia’s Hot Start was Fool’s Gold
Georgia scored 42 points in the First Half and the shots taken were high degree of difficulty shots. Georgia was 7 for 12 from three point range in the First Half, which is a sign that there will be regression to the mean. Turtle Jackson was off to a hot start taking shots with hands in his face and off one foot while coming toward the baseline 16 feet away from the basket. The offensive ball movement had its moments and the movement without the ball was all scripted in the half court.
The game was chippy and chopped up due to fouls, technical fouls, reviews and clock issues. What is notable is that nothing was dirty about the play on the floor, it was just a very physical game.
Georgia only had two turnovers in the First Half, which is also Fool’s Gold because the team would wear down in the Second Half.
The Abominable Second Half
Mark Fox wore down his team with his refusal to use his depth properly. Rick Barnes was going to press Georgia all game long and the pressure eventually resulted in 9 turnovers in the Second Half, which helped fuel Tennessee’s comeback. What was also noticeable was that the defense was much worse in the Second Half because of the fatigue and when a coach is effectively playing 7 Deep, that’s a problem.
The offensive effort was stagnant and it became too predictable once again. There was a lack of aggression and general unwillingness to do anything that was not prescribed. Forcing the ball into Yante Maten and hoping for the best is not an offense, not acting on a ball screen with the usage of all options is not an alternative. Georgia’s best offense was off the rebound again and this is just a symptom of an overall miasma that surrounds this program.
Mark Fox was evidently not trying to win, he’s trying to make analysts and those stuck in the past happy. That’s what we saw tonight. Georgia had only 19 points in the Second Half and he wore his team out. The team went on a 6 minute 55 second drought in the Second Half, which is a good sign that Georgia is going to lose.
The pressure from Jordan Bone, Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner combined with the grit of Admiral Schofield, Kyle Alexander and Grant Williams in the post won out against a team that is arguably more talented. It’s amazing what confidence and winning can do for a team in the late stages of a season. Losing can do the exact opposite.
Is it possible that Mark Fox comes back for Year 10?
Georgia will be playing on Wednesday in St. Louis. This could be the last game Mark Fox coaches at Georgia or will it? Why would The Powers That Be (Administration + Oligopolists) want to keep Mark Fox?
- He’s a big cheerleader for the Football Program even at the expense of his own Program.
- Mark Fox is proud of Point #1 and publicly made it clear.
- Winning in Men’s Basketball can detract from Spring Football.
- Winning in Men’s Basketball means the possibility of investigations (this is how they think).
- Mark Fox does not “embarrass the program” in their mindset.
- Mark Fox is friends with the Oligopolists, note the plural.
- Fear that Men’s Basketball success may hurt Football success due to resources being used.
- How old are they? Pretty damn old with different “values”.
- Is something being hidden at Butts-Mehre? No seriously, is there something we should know and root out?
At this point, Mark Fox should be fired. However, this is still a complete unknown. It’s all about fear and priorities. The Powers That Be are consumed by fear and their priorities are to have a predictable UGAA. However, the past ten years have been an exercise in disruption and Georgia has not been able to respond to the times changing. Maybe they like the idea of watching Tennessee celebrate an SEC Regular Season Championship while the UGA roster walks off like zombies or even the fact that Georgia Tech has more SEC Regular Season Championships than UGA. Georgia Tech has not even been in the SEC since 1964 and their last SEC title was in 1944, which happened to be their second SEC Championship.
Whatever it is, it is time for a fresh new start. No “pep talk” e-mails from Greg McGarity are going to cover this one up.