Which team is having the better season – UGA or Tech?

Trey Thompkins battles Gani Lawal. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Thompkins battles Lawal. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

This will sound a little weird, but it’s a Bradley post so whaddaya expect? I’m asking a question, the nub of which is: Can a team with an 11-12 record really be having a better season than one that’s 17-8?

Wait, wait. Hear me out. The 11-12 team is Georgia; the 17-8 team is Tech. And to offer a real answer, don’t we have to consider more than just won-lost records? Don’t we have to consider …

Expectations: Georgia was picked to finish last in the six-team SEC East and is indeed in last place at 3-7; Tech was picked to finish fourth in the 12-team ACC and, at 5-6,  stands eighth.

Polls: Georgia has been unranked all season; Tech was ranked 22nd in the Associated Press preseason poll and 20th in the coaches’ poll but dropped out of both Monday.

Personnel: Georgia starts a former walk-on (Ricky McPhee); Tech starts three McDonald’s All-Americans (Gani Lawal, Iman Shumpert, Derrick Favors).

Player development: Georgia guard Travis Leslie averaged 6.3 points a freshman but is averaging 14.5 in his first year under Fox and is projected by NBAdraft.net as the 23rd player on its 2011 mock; Tech forward Favors was rated the nation’s No. 1 recruit by Scout.com last season but is averaging 9.7 points in ACC play and has slipped from being the second player listed on NBAdraft.net’s 2010 mock to the seventh.

Personnel utilization: Georgia’s two best players, Leslie and forward Trey Thompkins, average 10.7 and 13. 2 shots per game, respectively; Tech’s two best players, Favors and Lawal, average 7.5 and 9.2 shots, respectively.

Depth: Georgia’s seventh man, center Chris Barnes, averages 2.8 points; Tech’s eighth man, guard Glen Rice Jr., averages 4.5 points.

Stability: Mark Fox is in his first season at Georgia; Paul Hewitt is in his 10th at Tech.

Head-to-head: Georgia beat Tech 73-66 in Athens on Jan. 5.

Signature wins: Georgia has beaten three teams (Tech, Tennessee and Vanderbilt) that were ranked when the game was played; Tech has beaten three (Duke, North Carolina and Clemson).

Bad losses: Georgia lost to Wofford at home, lost by 28 points at Missouri and was routed at Florida and Auburn; only Tech’s loss at Duke has come by more than 10 points.

Who's having the better season?

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Road records: Georgia is 0-8; Tech is 3-6.

RPI: Georgia is 90th; Tech is 29th.

Strength of schedule: Georgia’s is rated the 11th-toughest nationally; Tech’s is 12th.

Probable final regular-season record: Assuming Georgia beats Florida in Athens and LSU in Baton Rouge, it should finish 14-15; assuming Tech wins its three remaining home games, it should finish 20-10.

Probable destination: Georgia will do well to make the NIT; Tech would have to mess up not to reach the NCAA.

Conclusion: Tech has better players and still figures to go further but hasn’t really done much yet; Georgia entered just hoping not to be embarrassed but has beaten four teams (Illinois is the fourth) that stand to make the NCAA field. And Georgia did beat Tech. All things considered, the Bulldogs have had, at least to date, the better season.

217 comments Add your comment

mmgtfan

February 16th, 2010
12:44 am

Whopper Dawg

February 16th, 2010
12:50 am

I was skeptical at the time of Fox’s hire. Now, I would not trade him for Hewitt. In a couple of years, UGA will have Tech lapped.

Mark Bradley

February 16th, 2010
12:51 am

Kudos, mmgtfan. But this isn’t your first “first,” if I’m not mistaken.

luvthosedawgs68

February 16th, 2010
1:11 am

Listen, I understand that Tech will most likely make the NCAA Tournament, but understand how far the Dawgs have come this year. Especially since several games in the last 2 months have been close. A little more confidence in the last 2 minutes of each half, and this team can beat just about anyone. I wouldn’t be surprised to see us upset Kentucky at home either.

luvthosedawgs68

February 16th, 2010
1:13 am

I knew Fox was a good hire, Be a little patient and he(and the team) WILL turn fortunes around.

UGA_2001

February 16th, 2010
1:27 am

Georgia fans are excited about the future of the program under Fox, due to this season.

Tech fans want to fire Hewitt due to this season.

Pretty cut and dry.

Ree Roe

February 16th, 2010
1:37 am

In basketball, like in all things UGA > nerds

73-66
30-24

Techies claim to be good at math…they should kno what those numbers mean.

-REEcently Roe!!!

IlliniDawg

February 16th, 2010
1:41 am

As a Dawgs fan, I will still have to admit that Tech is definitely the better team, all the way around. We aren’t in their league – yet. Depending on who stays on each team, we still may not catch up next year.

But I like the angle here, Mark, because the key criterion you seem to be promoting is “to what degree has each team met or exceeded expectations?” And at least by that sole criterion, it ain’t even close – Georgia has far surpassed what anybody expected, while Tech has been underwhelming while good.

Legend of Len Barker

February 16th, 2010
1:43 am

Something tells me that Mark Fox would do better with Paul Hewitt’s lineup than Hewitt would do with Fox’s.

Besides, Tech is underachieving in a mediocre ACC. The SEC is pretty similar in terms of overall ability and Georgia is overachieving. They’re in last in the standings, but they’re so far ahead of where they should be.

I saw UGA’s opener with New Orleans. I remember telling someone that I didn’t think Georgia would win more than eight or so games and perhaps only one in the conference. Tech has not improved during the year; Georgia has.

Granted, he had a lot – and I mean a lot – further to go, I would say that Jeremy Price has improved more than Derick Favors. To be so touted, Favors has looked lost at times on the floor.

Barry

February 16th, 2010
2:10 am

Although they brag about how much a Tech diploma is worth, it can be said with certainty that attending GTU has cost Derrick Favors. Thus, a new slogan is born: Go to Georgia Tech! It’s worth millions!

Conyers Hawk

February 16th, 2010
4:17 am

Enter your comments here

Conyers Yellow Jacket

February 16th, 2010
4:26 am

Mark: I agree UGA has had the better season. Your analysis is a good one.
The only statement that I disagree with is ” GT will have to really mess up not to go to the NCAA”
They are in eighth place in the ACC which will probably get only six teams in the NCAA
GT is not exactly on a roll to win its remaining three home games. My opinion is
they will be extremely lucky to win 20 games including whatever they might win in the ACC Tournament. I hate to be so pessimistic but I believe that, right now, there
are six teams better than GT in the ACC.

Big time?? Not

February 16th, 2010
4:35 am

73 -66 tech hasn’t beat the Dogs in Athens since I was in school (a long, long, time ago)

And we’ve never run ads that say four tickets, four hot dogs, four cokes for basketball or football (or tidlywinks for that matter)

Biff Pocoroba

February 16th, 2010
5:23 am

Mark, you should ask Hewitt this question so you can get a 30 minute lecture about how great Dayton is. And then he will tell you that Indiana (Pa), the team that took Tech to overtime, is one of the best D2 schools in the country. I don’t think that you could get him to take any responsibility for this mess.

louisville slugger

February 16th, 2010
6:39 am

MB, I think you know my answer based on the last blog; it pains me, but UGA is having the better season based on expectations and getting the most out of their talent.

Barry

February 16th, 2010
6:41 am

Enter your comments here

Barry

February 16th, 2010
6:45 am

I’m a huge Dog fan, but your premise is not fair. As you said recently in a post about the Hawks, when your team gets better, the expectations are higher, and every little flaw gets magnified. Its relatitively easier for the Dogs to exceed expectations. Anything good from them is a pleasant surprise, and anything good from Tech is just expected because of their talent. However I do agree Legend of Len Barker that Fox would fare better if he and Hewett switched teams to coach.

F-105 Thunderchief

February 16th, 2010
6:54 am

Tech is continuing to under achieve. UGA has some nice upsets and is hanging around .500, which is pretty good, considering the new coach and the limited roster Felton left.

And, off topic, but OH FLIPPIN’ NO! – Jair Jurrjens’ shoulder is hurting. That could be a really bad thing.

Ozzy

February 16th, 2010
6:56 am

Obviously, Tech’s having a better season because of their talent, but just as obviously, Georgia has a better coach.

RGP

February 16th, 2010
6:58 am

Enter your comments here

Douglas

February 16th, 2010
6:59 am

If Fox remains and UGA and recruits better…UGA will be a powerhouse but he has got to find a way to keep Ga. recruits at home.

Cracker Jacket

February 16th, 2010
6:59 am

The big money contract with Hewitt is the only reason Hewitt is still coaching Tech! He will be gone soon! Georgia has the kind of coach Tech needs!

F-105 Thunderchief

February 16th, 2010
6:59 am

Put it this way, if Coach K or Roy Williams has Tech’s roster, they don’t lose four games all year and take the national title.

RGP

February 16th, 2010
7:00 am

Ree Roe: Here are some numbers for you: GT 1370 UGA 1250; GT 7 UGA 21.

Andrew

February 16th, 2010
7:08 am

don medeiros

February 16th, 2010
7:11 am

Mark

Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say Georgia has exceeded expectations more than Tech has – instead of saying UGA has had the “better” season?

Angus

February 16th, 2010
7:12 am

Hold on, time-out.

Last year UGA was 12-19, Tech was 11-18.
This year UGA is 11-12, Tech is 17-8.
Why is there a question here?

If you all (Bradley and your media buddies) picked wrong, don’t blame it on Tech. From 2-14 in the ACC to the sweet 16 in one year, really? That would be more along the lines of miraculous instead of expected.

But then again, after your recent PHewitt columns, I think you’ve been wrong about him/Tech all along.

Simon Bar Sinister

February 16th, 2010
7:16 am

Georgia is having a much better year. You only need to talk to a few fans of each school to see it. Georgia fans are getting interested in basketball again, reveling in each win, while we Tech fans are suffering through the losses and are just relieved by the wins (except the Duke and UNC-CH ones).

Tech is failing (again) to live up to its potential; Georgia is exceeding its potentional.

In spite of losing the head-to-head, Tech fans had a much better year than Georgia fans in football: all season: except for the three losses, we were having a great time. We knew our program was on the way up, while Georgia fans were calling for coaching changes.

In basketball the opposite is true.

THEFOX

February 16th, 2010
7:20 am

Tech basketball is headed down, while Ga basketball is headed up!! Wait till Fox gets his own players!! Techies it will be just like football we will own the state!!!!

Dawgman

February 16th, 2010
7:26 am

Hewitt is such a let down after the class act Cremins.

Ace

February 16th, 2010
7:31 am

Tech needs a new coach. Dumb question, no real basketball fan even thinks about UGA. Girls basketball maybe.

option smoption

February 16th, 2010
7:38 am

Coaching is everything. If these two coaches switch teams tech is in the top 10 and UGA is O-fer. Damn, I really hope Coach Fox gets some recruits and stays where he is for at least a few years. I know how you tech fans feel. I screamed for 2 years for CMR to fire Willie Martinez before he did.

Navigator

February 16th, 2010
7:42 am

UGA, because the sky is the limit with their new coach, where Tech has to deal with low expectations from a coach that can’t win anything with NBA talent.

Reality

February 16th, 2010
7:44 am

GT Basketball=UGA Football GT Football=UGA Basketball
GT going down in basketball and up in football
UGA going up in basketball and down in football

Boise Dawg

February 16th, 2010
7:56 am

I think the better question to ask is… which fan base should be more optimistic about the future. Georgia has won a few games they had no business winning, but all in all this has not been a very good season. Just because expectations were so low, I don’t think anyone can say they are having a better season than Tech.

We will see if Fox can bring in more depth and then what he can do with a full roster of scholarship athletes. Again, I am optimistic of the future, but am also reminded that Felton pulled off some big upsets in his first couple of seasons with a thin roster…. the biggest problem for Felton though he kept kicking half his roster off the team…

dap01

February 16th, 2010
7:59 am

The coaching staff at Tech as done a terrible job.

Will

February 16th, 2010
8:00 am

This is a no brainer and an example of the difference in recruiting (or in Fox’s case, inheriting) good players and teaching them to be better players versus recruiting great high school players and not being able to (or assuming it is not necessary because of their high school skills) teach them to become great college players.

Travis Leslie and Jeremy Price can be no better examples of this. Two good high school players who were two “okay” college players last year who have turned into very good college basketball players this year.

I think including McPhee in this dicussion is wrong. He is a very good three point shooter who is woefully inedpt in handling the ball and is pretty much the same player he was last year. Because of his lack of size and quickness, he has a hard time shaking the defense in order to set up from threes.

Here is the problem with UGA and Mark Fox – if Fox continues to move UGA forward next year, then soon bigger basketball programs that need a coach will come calling. If you think Mark Fox is settled in at UGA for the forseeable future, you are wrong. Because of the culture and nature of basketball at UGA, the school remains only a stepping stone for coaches to big time college basketball. Remember, even Tubby Smith could not generate enough excitement at UGA to consistently sell out the small gym.

Favors picked the wrong school

February 16th, 2010
8:05 am

Of Tech’s three “signature” wins as listed above, only Duke stands to remain a signature win. Both UNC and ClemPson have fallen off the map. Of Georgia’s, it’s funny that Tech is the one falling off the map.

bad brad

February 16th, 2010
8:13 am

Disagree with Will, I remember sellouts and rowdy crowds when Tubby Smith was at UGA, but he couldn’t resist (and who could?) the chance at Kentucky. Hindsight says he probably should’ve stayed.

Fox might stay if UGA makes a commitiment to basketball. Upgrades to the cow palace are in process. Seems to remember that N. Carolina played in a 6k seat facility forever.

GW

February 16th, 2010
8:16 am

I’ve watched Georgia live 3 times and on TV the rest. I have not, and will not watch Tech. Surely Tech is not as slow or unathletic as Georgia except for Thompkins and Leslie.

Kay

February 16th, 2010
8:20 am

Just be fair!
Hewitt has become a lousy coach.
Coaching basketball is not high on his list.
He doesn’t have to worry about coaching, he is like a government worker: he will get paid no matter what. Why should he be concerned?
Why should he produce? There is no incentive for him!

VinceVanGo

February 16th, 2010
8:25 am

A new slant here. I love what Fox has done with the “Fox Trot” and the team and I hope he stays a long time. But don’t forget who hired him. Damon Evans.. I also like Mark Richt and wish him and the football team great success in the future. But if he doesn’t and a change is made we should have total confidence that Damon Evans will hire UGA another quality coach. Major Univeristy sports programs need a great A.D. at the helm of the ship, and Georgia has one. Go Damon and UGA!

Rob

February 16th, 2010
8:27 am

Tech isn’t going to the big dance

Gen Neyland

February 16th, 2010
8:29 am

This isn’t football where we can find a multitude of reasons why the team of our choice, or the conference of choice, is or isn’t living up to expectations. Basketball is a honestly brutal or pleasant reality. That being said, UGA is by far exceding expectations. Not because of a win here or there at home, nor playing a team hard on the road. That does factor in, but with the play of the Dawgs this season over last, even though GT has found itself ranked this season, I give the nod to UGA over GT. Coaching change at Georgia helped a great deal. Shoot, Fox even got Evans to pony up the bucks slap for a new coat of paint on the Steg. The lipstick on a pig thing…Just kidding, Dawgs.

Calipari, Stallings and Fox are my top 3 for SEC Coach of the Year. Stallings and Calipari are in the lead pack but come seasons end, we’ll know. Calipari is tainted goods but wins. He reminds me of a coach I had in high school football that once told me in a non-serious, joking manner, that cheating sure beat losing…I wondered if he knew Junior Johnson.

Paul H

February 16th, 2010
8:34 am

JUST LIKE FOOTBALL (clap clap clap clap clap)

JUST LIKE FOOTBALL (clap clap clap clap clap)

JUST LIKE FOOTBALL (clap clap clap clap clap)

Butts Wagner

February 16th, 2010
8:34 am

Tech fans want to fire Hewitt due to this season.

For many, it’s been a lot more than just this season.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

February 16th, 2010
8:43 am

If tech gets hot and makes it to say the elite eight will people get off Hewitts back or has it gone to far for him to regain support unless he can win it all.
I was really expecting a final four run out of tech this year and it could still happen but it doesn’t look good .
GO DAWGS !!!!!!!!!!

DMR

February 16th, 2010
8:45 am

This is the wrong question to ask. Tech has had the “better season”. Better record, higher RPI, and a strength of schedule one spot below Georgia’s. Tech has three McDonald’s All Americans and Georgia is struggling with their personnel. Paul Hewitt is on the way to finishing 10 seasons at Tech. Fox is just getting started in Athens. Each team seems to be meeting predicted expectations. The difference is that Georgia in many cases has exceeded expectations. Four quality wins, wins over three ranked opponents, and building respect in the league.

Georgia is the team that you do not want to face, especially if you are on the bubble. They can play with anyone at anytime…just not consistently. Tech is the same way, but you expect consistency from their group.

Georgia has not had the better season on paper. However, Georgia and Its fans seem to have more to look forward to in the near future than does Tech. Just an opinion.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

February 16th, 2010
8:46 am

junior johnson in a basketball blog great ref. Gen ! and to go a little further is it cheating if you don’t get caught ? kinda like the tree falling on a gator in the woods does anybody really care?

Tailback U

February 16th, 2010
8:51 am

Paul Hewitt needs to set up a Paul Hewitt fan club for Georgia fans
on Facebook. Might as well find a way to feel some love from some
fan base.