What Could Fox Do With a Better Breed?

CHARLOTTE - I’m having a difficult time writing about what happened here today.

Nothing was surprising - the team I thought would win won. Georgia gave great effort, and guys like Kenny Gaines Charles Mann, Marcus Thornton and Nemanja Djurisic played their asses off (combined 53 points and 25 rebounds). The game was... well... just blah.

There was no magic trick at the end. I wasn’t surprised. I hardly think Georgia embarrassed itself. I don’t know if it moved forward any in the world of college basketball. What should have happened happened.

I think it was just that - predictable… and I mean that in the least judgmental way possible. Simply put: the team of three stars lost to the other team with three stars and one five-star player.

Mark Fox said the better team won on Friday here at Time Warner Cable Arena, and he’s 100% correct. Michigan State beat Georgia 70-63 in the First (or Second) Round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

Now, I think, Fox and Georgia need to work on being the better team from here on out. That’s what this audience of red and black wants - they want a winner… all of the time. They want a winner they can depend on.

And let’s be honest, Fox has delivered a winner here of late, but if Georgia is going go get where it needs to go this sort of season has to happen more often. Not the part about where the Dawgs lose in the opening game of the NCAAs; the part about where they string together 20-plus-win seasons.

That Georgia got this far - only its third NCAA bid since 2003 - is an accomplishment. That Georgia has failed to win an NCAA Tournament game since 2002 is failure.

It's both.

One could argue that this was the best season Mark Fox has coached in Athens, and yet there was more to be had - at least there is the want of more to be had… and that’s critical. I should preface any criticism of this team with the fact that a slew of injuries really did retard the trajectory of this team.

But to take a cue from former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: there are known unknowns.

There is simply no way we can know what Georgia would have been like had everyone been healthy the entire time. Keep in mind that it got so bad with injuries this season for this team that one of its players was hit by a car… a moving car.

That is crazy.

This game today, Michigan State-Georgia, wasn’t a clash of the titans. It was a game that I feel pretty confident saying the Spartans would win in East Lansing and that Georgia might pull off in Athens.

Still, it is hard to not make more of this game when it is played on this stage. This, after all, is the NCAAs. This game (these games) are the entire reason you play to begin with.

The sixth-year head coach showed this season that he can win 20+ games in a season with a roster that does not have a single four-star prospect (or higher) on it shows that he knows how to scheme his way to some wins.

For that he deserves to get a lot of praise.

But what could Fox do with a better bunch of Bulldogs? Georgia was outclassed today by a team that was obviously deeper than the Bulldogs is one thing, but what if Georgia had a bench it really could depend on?

Nick Chubb was a pretty good answer for a replacement of Todd Gurley; J.J. Green as a replacement… not as much. Same principle applies to Georgia basketball.

Mark Fox and company have put the foundation in for the future on the hardwood. Now it's time, one way or the other, to go out and build the rest of the house - and that’s recruiting, which needs to improve if Georgia wants to be the better team in the future.

Mark Fox has done a great job of developing talent. For this program to get to the next level (which means playing next weekend instead of going home this weekend) recruiting is going to have to improve.


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