No. 10 Mark Fox – Head Coach Georgia
Mark Fox has had some success at Georgia. In his eight seasons, the Bulldogs have made the NCAA Tournament field twice. His teams have won 20 or more games in four seasons and may do so again this season through a NIT win.
The problem for the Dawgs, and increasingly for Mark Fox is Georgia appears to be a perennial bubble team. Georgia was so close to a NCAA tournament bid this season. Overtime losses to Florida and Kentucky will haunt Bulldog fans as they contemplate their NIT berth.
Georgia was a good basketball team this season. Mark Fox should not be on a hot-set in Athens. But eight seasons and only two NCAA trips may not be enough for him to keep his job. 247 Sports ranks the incoming 2017-18 Bulldog class as No. 44 in the nation.
Georgia is a No. 2 seed in the NIT Tournament and will face Belmont in Athens.
No.9 Rick Barnes – Head Coach Tennessee
For some Alabama fans, who remember Barnes as a Tide assistant, Barnes as the elder statesman of SEC coaches doesn’t seem possible. Barnes, in his second season as the Vols head coach, has been a head coach for thirty years.
Rick Barnes has taken three teams to the NCAA Tournament in 22 of his 30 head coaching seasons. Maybe he will make the same accomplishment with Tennessee.
There is no question he is a quality coach. Barnes has expressed confidence the Vols are improving. Certainly taking down the Kentucky Wildcats back in January encourages Vol fans.
Nonetheless, the Tennessee Volunteers have not won more than 16 games in any season since Cuonzo Martin left after the 2013-14 season. The Vols 16 wins this season match the 16 wins from Donnie Tyndall’s one and only season.
Tennessee was 1-6 against Top 25 teams this season. Minus the one big win against the Cats in Knoxville, the Vols appeared to be either stuck in traffic or mired in the slow lane. The No. 49, 247 Sports-ranked recruiting class is not much of a talent infusion.
Rick Barnes will get time to get the Vols moving again. Until then, he is not one of the current top coaches in the SEC.