By Paul Westerdawg
Over the past ten seasons, the basketball program has struggled. There's simply no other way to look at it. During that time some of the very old talk tracks have resurfaced about the program such as "We're a football school, and we'll never be good at hoops."
I reject the notion that we're in any way limited in basketball because of football. I'll get to that in a follow-up post, but I just want to start by asking you the question...
What is a reasonable expectation for UGA basketball?
- 48.4% winning percentage overall
- 36.8% winning percentage in SEC play
- 20% of seasons with an NCAA birth
- 30% of seasons with any Postseason (40% if UGA makes NIT in '14*)
So, how does this past decade stack up to another period? Let's look at 1985-2004. During that 20 year period, UGA had a wildly different experience despite having 5 different coaches (Durham 11 years, Tubby 2 years, Jirsa 2 years, Harrick 4 years and Felton 1 year).
From 1985-2004, Georgia's record (excluding NCAA sanctions) was:
- 58.1% winning percentage overall
- 50.8% winning percentage in SEC play
- 45% of seasons with an NCAA bid***
- 80% of seasons with an NIT bid
So what is the point? From 1985-2004, no one would have considered UGA a basketball powerhouse. The administrative support was dramatically worse. The facilities were dramatically worse both as an absolute architectural statement and relative to our peers. The in state recruiting base was dramatically smaller as the AAU hoops scene didn't start exploding until the back half of that period.
In other words, we had fewer assets at our disposal yet we won more games and were eligible for the post season twice as often.
Everything that happened over the past 10 years is not all Mark Fox's fault. It isn't. The blame for that total period should be spread around to a variety of folks including Mike Adams, Vince Dooley, Jim Harrick, Jim Harrick, Jr., Damon Evans, Dennis Felton, and Mark Fox.
Regardless...things shouldn't be this mediocre.
As it specifically relates to Mark Fox, we shouldn't be sitting here in Year 5 of this coaching regime praying for our second winning season in five years. Mark Fox has had as many losing seasons in the past five years as we had during the entire 20 year period from '85-04. We only had three losing years during that period.
We would be setting a low bar just to strive to be as mediocre as we were during those 20 years and it would still be TWICE as productive as we've been lately.
If we make the NIT, we're going to extend the guy. I get it. That's why I wrote the article last week about controlling our destiny. I don't agree with it, but I get it.
But I'm over having the bar re-calibrated to have expectations be so staggeringly low. That's not all Fox's fault, but I'm ready for the program to do much more than it currently is doing.
So, what are your expectations for UGA hoops? Thoughts?