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March 1, 2010

Mark Fox can coach

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Gasaway @ 4:37 pm

Now that it’s March you’ll see a flurry of awards being bestowed and disputed. I decided to get in on the ground floor. First-year Georgia head coach Mark Fox is my choice as 2010 national coach of the year.

Over the past four years no unit, offense or defense, has improved year-to-year as much in major-conference play as the Georgia offense has this year. Keep in mind that takes in 584 team-seasons of offense and defense. Out of that cast of hundreds, the Dawgs stand out as number 1:

Crazy like a Mark! Making his Fox!  
Largest per-possession year-to-year improvements, 2007-10
Conference games only: ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-10 & SEC, 2009 & 10

                             Yr before   New improved   Change
Georgia offense, 2010          0.88          1.06        0.18
Connecticut offense, 2008      0.94          1.11        0.17
Auburn defense, 2009           1.14          0.98        0.16
Washington St. offense, 2007   0.90          1.05        0.15

The Bulldogs have gone from being arguably the worst major-conference offense that it’s been my grim duty to track to being a solid, well-above-average honest to goodness SEC offense. Moreover they’ve done so without any influx of gaudy new talent. Just like last year the bulk of the possessions are absorbed by Trey Thompkins. But this year UGA has cut way down on attempted threes, which has led to big increases in offensive rebounding and in trips to the line. Most importantly, the Dawgs’ shots are going in this season, from both sides of the arc.

Georgia still turns the ball over too often–more often, in fact, than any other offense in the league. But give Fox credit. He took over a struggling program and turned things around more or less on a dime. If the SEC East were to add a newly competitive and sustainable Georgia, they’d have the makings of one seriously robust hoops division in the heart of football country.

In that case they’ll have Fox, among others, to thank. Congratulations, Coach.  

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