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Monday Hangover

George Mason Basketball: Monday Hangover

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday Hangover

Well it didn't go as planned, to say the least. The game against Notre Dame resembled many road losses that the Patriots had this season, only this time they have never had the lead. The Irish used a ridiculously hot shooting streak to pull away from Mason early. Personally I feel that the Irish broke the spirits of the Mason players early and they were just never able to recover. Will Thomas attempted to put the team on his back but it was not enough. Folarin Campbell, what the hell happened? Starting off o for 10? I hate to say that will be the last time I get to watch him play. I really felt like the 2006 Folarin would come out in this game and I am sure I am not the only one who felt that way.

Granted Notre Dame seemed like they could not miss from three point land this was still not the real George Mason team that we saw in Richmond the previous weekend. What I really could not understand is why Chris Fleming and Isiah Tate got so many minutes in the first half. Ok, Fleming had a good CAA tournament but for God's sake we aren't playing William and Mary any more. As for Tate, I love the guy loads of potential, great long range shooting, but he's an untested freshman who barely saw time this season. I just don't understand Coach L's personnel decision sometimes. I mean yes Campbell and Vaughan were missing open looks but let them work it out on their own, they have before.

Thanks to misterirrelevant.com for the video find.


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16 Comments:

Blogger Taylor said...

While I appreciate you comments and your passion for GMU basketball, let's not talk bad about any of the coaching or players. Coach L has done a phenomenol job in his tenure at Mason. I had to sit through the whole Paul Westhead fiasco in the 90s and back to back 7-17 years with Ernie Nestor. Coach L has brought consistency and has started a strong tradition. We had the Final Four in 2006, and for that Coach L could put Gunston on the court and I wouldn't question it (ok, maybe I'm going a bit far, but you get my point.) Folarin was/is a great Patriot and as an alum I wouldn't object to retiring his and Will Thomas' numbers.

Again, let's take it easy on the coaches and players. After 2006 they've earned a lifetime of slack from me.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

@ taylor

Come on...give me a break. I think if you interviewed the players and coaches they would be pretty hard on themselves also. In regards to Coach L, I think there's alot to say about being loose and having fun, but this team just seemed ill-prepared and unfocused. Coincidence? I honestly don't think so.

No one is saying "get rid of the bum!" but this was a game for the taking and I think this is the root of the frustration. They're going to have another good team next year, but you can't replace a Thomas and Campbell.

9:51 PM  
Blogger mooky_l3d said...

I might take it easy on the players maybe if they put forth the effort to play. I won't take it easy on the coach. He is supposed to lead the players into a game prepared and ready for any situation. If you put up with the other seasons for so long then you should not expect nothing more than the best that Coach L has to offer. He did not show that this season. There is no way that as a coach your team should be that bad on the road. Time and time again losing games with huge leads. Then the game with Notre Dame, it looked as though Will was the only one that was allowed to touch the ball. If you watch the game you see times when the offense was at a stand still because they were trying to get the ball to Will. If he is open get him the ball if not then you create. That is what JV and Followrin' are good doing. That was coaching and you could tell. So I don't care what Coach L has done in the past compared to the other coaches that Mason has had. I sat through those same seasons as you did so if the players are not prepared then who do you blame?

10:00 PM  
Blogger Brannman. Brann...you know it's good for you. said...

Ah, it's amazing how quickly things change when it's one-and-done, and not a Final Four season...

Taylor, I agree with everything you said. Those Nestor/Westhead years were pure hell...

These are good times at Mason. Making the Big Dance two out of the last three years - let's focus on the positives, please. No one else in the CAA can claim that stat, and no one else has a coach that can do it again (VCU's Grant will probably be gone before the next season for a SEC job anyway).

Come on, people...relax. TEAMS LOSE. IT HAPPENS. MOVE ON.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Matt Scanlon said...

Fact: The Final Four bounce hasn't even occurred yet. We've benefitted from only one recruiting class post 2006.

Fact: Humans are learning creatures. L has taken Mason to 4 of its 5 NCAA tournaments with an overall record of 4-4 (.500 in the NCAA ain't bad for any coach) - why on earth would you change the coaching style that led to the best run in NCAA history? I suspect the next NCAA tournament Coach L will make some adjustments.

Fact: Making the NCAA was a feat in itself. This was a flawed team (no depth in the frontcourt - no way you can blame Coach L for that; constantly changing point guard; and only 10! players on the roster) going in. Mason finished the season better than it should have.

Fact: Watch that video of Coach L pregame. There was humor, but there was also genuine passion and intensity. If you think Coach L went to Denver with a lackadaisical attitude - I'm sorry, that's just bullshit.

Fact: The air in Denver is too blame. Too thin. Bunk game.

12:06 AM  
Blogger Matt Scanlon said...

One more thing: the only way - only way - a team like Mason surprises people in the NCAA is if players like Fleming and Tate step it up. Teams do not advance riding on the backs of their stars.

12:10 AM  
Blogger Christopher said...

Matt, Stephen Curry and Davidson object to that statement.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Matt Scanlon said...

I'm sure Andrew Lovedale - who had 13 boards against Gonzaga, including 6 offensive boards as well as 11 points against Georgetown - would agree with me.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

I love Coach L...I hope he stays at Mason forever. And God forbid he gets offered and accepts the Providence job (which I wouldn't blame him if he took).

But once again, the NCAA appearance was the worst played game of the season following argueably the best stretch of the season. Something happened--or didn't happen--right?? Or perhaps we're simply not supposed to criticize Coach L? And if that is the case then maybe we should change his name to King L.

@ Matt...if you were referring to my comments then you've completely distorted them. (Btw, 4-4 equals a magical run and 3 one-and-done's). Frankly, I don't think you give enough credit to this team...they could--and should--have gone farther. And finally, I never implied lackadaisical...I was saying they were not adequately prepared for their opponent which was totally obvious.

9:12 PM  
Blogger Taylor said...

I wouldn't blame Coach L for taking the Providence job. He's good enough of a coach, that's for sure. I know if I was offered a million bucks to change jobs I would. Let's not let one game overshadow 10 years of excellence.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Chris and Lauren said...

I think that it is time for George Mason – players, coaches, fans, media-types – to grow up, and part of what that means is to be critical of these Patriots. I don't know about any of you, but the Final Four run so much fun, that...heck, I'd like to do it again! That means I'm not going to give the free pass to them, just because of 2006. Think about the high major schools – Duke, Indiana, UCLA, Kentucky; do their fans or media types give them a “pass”? Think about Duke, do you think any of their fans are saying, “they almost got beat by Belmont, then got dominated by WVU, but it’s OK…”

Now that I got that off my chest, I’ll get to my main point. Going into the ND game, I thought the x-factor was going to be Dre Smith. If he could find his stroke, we could beat ND. Little did I know that Campbell was going to regress, and no one would find their shots. I think all season long – actually back to last season – we never could reach our full potential, and I think part of that had to do with there never was a clearly defined role for Campbell. Is he a point-guard? Is he a shooting-guard? I even saw him a couple of times working in the low post! (It actually worked, but I digress)

In hindsight, I think they should have developed Jordan Carter at point guard better, and developed Campbell as the shooting guard he’s better suited to. Remember the 2007 CAA Championship? We had that game won until Carter went got hurt. Campbell filled in well while Carter was out this season, but they should have got him back at point as soon as he was able. I think allowing Campbell to focus on his shooting, and getting Carter better able to decide when to shoot (he was wide open on a three in the ND game and didn’t take it), we could have made it a little deeper in the tournament.

Another problem was we didn’t have another inside presence to balance out Will. This mostly had to do with Darryl redshirting, but we really needed Birdsong or Fleming to step it up. Birdsong shows flashes of brilliance, but gets sloppy; and who knows what Fleming can be, after the CAA tourney it appears he’s ready to turn the corner, but maybe not.

Going into next season, I don’t think we’ll have the same troubles at point, Cam Long seems willing and able to take it on, and we have another freshman coming in - Andre Cornelius – that should be groomed for the position. If Vaughan and Smith blossom at shooting guards, and Monroe, Birdsong, Fleming and Moldoveanu lock down the low post, we could see another extended tournament run.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

Chris and Lauren, if I am miscontruing your point I apologize, but George Mason is not on the level of Duke, Kentucky, Indiana, etc. and anyone who believes otherwise is kidding ourselves.

A realistic goal for us isn't to win a national championship. Our goal is to get the to the tournament and steal a game or two. What we did a few years is an anomaly. If we could become Gonzaga east, a team that get's national respect, makes the tournament every year, then we have arrived, but putting our expectations on the level of a Duke or Indiana is foolhardy.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

@ christopher

They were *literally* 40 minutes away from the national championship game and you say it can't be done...unbelievable! Are you saying the 2006 was a fluke...I believe that's what you're implying. Boo!

7:14 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

Not a fluke, they beat those teams because they played better, but to consider us national championship contenders is ridiculous in my opinion, and I don't think that makes me any less of a fan.

Trust me, I would love to be wrong, but there's a reason a mid major hasn't won a championship in 29 years.

5:15 PM  
Blogger Taylor said...

@ christopher

Actually, 29 years ago a mid-major got to the title game but lost, and they had a guy named "Bird" on their team.

The only "mid-majors" to have actually won the tournament are by my estimation:

CCNY in 1950
Holy Cross in 1947
LaSalle in 1954
Loyola in 1963
San Francisco 55,56
UTEP in 1966
Utah in 1944

So, by my calculations a "mid-major" hasn't won the whole thing in 42 years.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Mark Allen said...

You guys are delusional. Just face it, ND was above, head and shoulders better than Mason. That pregame speech, Coach Larranaga gave his players was gay. "Make the Leprachaun disappear". More like the Irish made Folarin Campbell disappear!

The best is when Matt Scanlon makes an excuse that it must have been the thin air. I hate to break it to ya, Matty, but Notre Dame is from the Midwest and they had to deal with the thin air as well! I guess they don't teach Geography at George Mason.

12:45 PM  

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