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Chip Towers

Mark Fox likes UK tonight, says NCAA Tournament ‘validates SEC is pretty good’

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Atlanta Journal-Constitution recruiting reporter Michael Carvell talked to Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox on Monday for some recruiting stories he’s working on. But while he had him on the phone he asked him about tonight’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game between Kentucky and UConn.

Shockingly, Fox likes the SEC’s Wildcat’s in that game.

“I’ve got my SEC pom poms on,” Fox said. “I’m sticking with the SEC.”

“I actually told our team when Kentucky beat us in the (SEC tournament) semifinals,‘If they shoot the 3 well and they play like that, they can win the national championship.’ It really comes down to if they can make some 3-point shots, I think they can win (against UConn).”

In 2014, UGA finished tied for second in the final SEC standings with a 20-14 record. Fox tried to state his case that the Bulldogs belonged in the NCAA tournament but got snubbed by the selection committee. Three other SEC teams were picked – Kentucky, Florida and Tennessee, and two of them advanced to the Final Four.

Does Fox feel vindicated by the SEC’s success?

“You know, I think with obviously with the success of Florida and Kentucky in the NCAA tournament, along with Tennessee, our league was stronger than people realize … what’s their record in the NCAA tournament, 11?” Fox said.

“Our team was better than the (NCAA selection committee) thought. But if we had beaten Kentucky (in the SEC tournament semifinals), we had a great chance to be in. We weren’t playing well before Thanksgiving because we lost (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) to the NBA Draft. And there were a lot of teams like Arkansas who got better throughout the year.

“So I think it I think the success of our teams in the tournament validates that the SEC is pretty good. Kentucky lost six games in league play, and they’re playing for the national championship.”

Is Fox mad at the NCAA committee for the snub? “We didn’t play well before Thanksgiving so we put ourselves in that situation. I think that we’d all like to see our league get more respect than we got, but there’s not a lot we can do about it now. So it’s not like we’re fuming about it today.

Fox said he will watch tonight’s game at home with his family.

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