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Patriots face ODU to kick off CAA slate, still searching for that whole team concept

George Mason Basketball: Patriots face ODU to kick off CAA slate, still searching for that whole team concept

Friday, January 01, 2010

Patriots face ODU to kick off CAA slate, still searching for that whole team concept

CAA guru Michael Litos puts it best in his blog this morning:
"Old Dominion at George Mason: This is your Comcast nooner. The Patriots are quickly becoming the second biggest oddity in the CAA. They have a collection of talent, but the team concept is a little slow to evolve. Cam Long, too, just isn’t yet getting it done. Long’s 11 points and three assists is not first team all conference material."
Calling Mason an oddity is putting it nicely, to me this team just flat out doesn't have the chemistry we have seen in other Larranaga squads, young or experienced. When they have had success this season it's mostly been because one or two guys had a hot shooting night, not because a well balanced attack overwhelmed the other team. I agree with the statement that Cam Long isn't living up to expectations thus far but the blame can't be solely placed on him. As a point guard and the teams most experienced player, he's not making the guys around him better. Long has struggled to average more than 3 assists a game and although heading into this season we knew that wasn't his biggest strength, it's difficult for the young guys on this team to evolve without him having more success dishing out the rock.

Now the they have ODU coming to town after coming off an embarrassing effort against Radford. The Highlanders exposed the Patriots weak frontcourt defense, not a good sign when you are about to face the CAA's best frontcourt. ODU has arguably the best forward in the league in Gerald Lee, and is the center point of their offense. They don't rely on their frontcourt as much as Radford does but they just as dangerous from there. Starting point guard Darius James hasn't come on like they had hoped and Mason will have to take advantage in this area. Lee won't have trouble reaching 15-20 points but the Patriots will have to limit everyone else's contributions. Cam Long and Andre Cornelius have played much better at home and they will need to play a hell of a lot better than they did Wednesday night for Mason to have a chance in this one. Ryan Pearson struggled against a bigger Radford frontcourt, will that also be the case against ODU? And hopefully Mike Morrison learned how much him getting in foul trouble hurts the team early on. Make no mistake that the Monarchs will attack the rim early when he's on the floor.

To win Saturday they will need to create turnovers and limit the Monarchs from getting the ball easily to their front court players. They won't miss as many easy put-backs and lay-ups at home as they did Wednesday, while fast break points will also be important. A strong performance from the three-point would be very helpful to Mason in this one but they have not been successful from their recently. Someone needs to hit some outside shots to take the heat off the forwards.



Blogger variaban said...

I love our team and a win would be great but I've said this before, at this point, I hope GMU beats ODU only in the CAA tourney.
I don't want GMU to be the team that takes away an at-large for the CAA.
If they only lose to W&M, VCU and ODU during the season, they can still rack up a decent amount of wins and hopefully still get into the NCAA tournament by winning the CAA tournament while allowing the CAA to potentially get another 2 teams in, as long as those other 3 don't mess up the rest of their season.

7:59 AM  
Blogger variaban said...

I guess I'm just frustrated with how they've been playing the season so far...
These were supposed to be players that would allow us to stay in "reloading" mode instead of "rebuilding" mode.

8:01 AM  
Blogger variaban said...

If they can play like that the rest of the season, I will retract my previous words!
If they can play like that the rest of the season, they will probably only lose maybe one more game...

2:48 PM  
Blogger mooky_l3d said...

Well that was interesting, going from worst game of the year to the best. Unreal the difference in the way that they played. ODU was out of sync, in part to our shooting success and their poor shot selection. After seeing what Radford did to us inside I am suprised they did not try the same. But whatever, we won and it was a good win to start a string of games.

5:31 PM  
Blogger's good for you. said...

Great, great win. But, we gotta keep it up game-to-game. The potential is there. I'm still not buying the W&M Kool-Aid, but we'll see how the CAA shapes up. Another tough one on Monday...and again and Wed...

7:26 PM  

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