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George Mason vs VCU Quarterfinal Preview

George Mason Basketball: George Mason vs VCU Quarterfinal Preview

Friday, March 05, 2010

George Mason vs VCU Quarterfinal Preview

TV information (in Fairfax Cox Channel 74, also ESPN360)

Video Web Stream
(doubt we will find free stream)

Radio: WWRC 1260 AM

Live Stats will have post game interviews

George Mason finds themselves playing VCU in Richmond Saturday at 2:30 pm. They are looking for a fresh start and will hopefully view this postseason tournament as a clean slate after a season full of ups and downs. Can the Patriots learn from their recent close game losses will be the biggest question mark heading into this match-up. Larranaga always seems to have a few last aces up his sleeve when it comes to the CAA tournament but advancing with this team will probably be one of his toughest challenges. Talent only gets you so far in the conference tournament and while the Patriots aren't short on that they will need to dig deep to find success. Don't think Mason fans have forgotten last year's drubbing the Patriots received from VCU in the CAA tournament finals, an element which only adds to making this the most intriguing quarterfinal game of the weekend. The Patriots don't have to worry about a guy like Eric Maynor going off for 25 points this time but they could have their hands full with Larry Sanders again who collected 20 boards in that game. This year's Rams team might not scare you as much as paper but they can be just as deadly, especially in the Richmond Coliseum with a throng of VCU students.

In the two teams' only meeting this season, Mason pulled out the victory in overtime with big games from Mike Morrison and Cam Long. The Rams' Joey Rodriguez scored 24 on 6-of-11 shooting from behind the arch. Mason can't let that happen again and will need to be stout with their perimeter defense. Larry Sanders, who despite being named Defensive Player of the Year, has been less than dominant this season. In that game against the Patriots in Fairfax he collected only 4 rebounds and fouled out of the game. I'd expect him to have more of an impact in this one but his foul trouble problems are always a factor.

Keys to winning for Mason:

Discipline on defense: The Patriots haven't been consistent enough on offense to think they can overpower anyone in this tournament so they will need to keep up their stout defensive ways. More importantly how well they defend at the guard spot could determine how far they go this weekend. Isaiah Tate and Andre Cornelius have been less then stellar recently, will they be up for the task against Joey Rodriguez and Bradford Burgess? They need to limit Rodriguez's touches, he got way too many open looks in Fairfax earlier this season. The team also can't afford to have more breakdowns from guys like Mike Morrison or Ryan Pearson. If either of them start collecting sloppy fouls and lose their composure it will be a short trip to in Richmond this year.

Which Cam Long will be in Richmond? Will we see the Cam Long from January were he averaged 19.3 ppg when Mason went 9-1 or the the guy we've seen in the last 5 games of the season averaging 7.4 ppg? Long is just too important to this team's success and although he struggled with the added pressure this season he can look at this tournament as a chance to redeem himself. They need to help him create more shots early on and get him hot because he sets the tone for this team.

Protect the ball: This hasn't been an issue all season but it has recently. The Patriots haven't been winning the turnover battle in their last few games and it's been especially a problem in the 1st half of games. They can't afford to let the Rams build up an early lead by giving up easy points due to sloppy ball handling. Luke Hancock has been the biggest culprit and I can't imagine VCU not attacking him early. Cornelius and Long should be the only ones bringing up the ball in this one.

Late game management: Not all of the factors of winning can be pinned on the players. The team might be inexperienced as a whole playing in this tournament but Jim Larranaga sure isn't. However, despite his experience a lot of close game losses this season left us scratching our heads as we watched the teams final possession. Often times the team had a realistic chance of winning and the last "drawn up play" out of a timeout would end in a debacle. Too many times we saw the ball in the hands of a freshman or a final shot never got off. To me that's inexcusable to not at least give your a players an opportunity to make a play. There's a real chance this game could come down to the wire, if so how will Larranaga handle this one?

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Blogger mooky_l3d said...

I watched VCU dismantle Delaware, it was not pretty but was better than the previous game. Delaware played zone all of the first half and in the second it stayed the same. It seemed as though VCU took outside shoots in the first then pounded it in to Sanders in the second.

I know that Delaware is one of the weaker teams in the league but VCU keep Carter incheck in fact he had 4 fouls with 15 min. left and only 5 points. Defense from VCU was intense with full court pressure on everymake. There weren't as many students as I thought there would be. It was early and on a Friday, so tommorow they will probably be there strong.

Mason will definately have to control the tempo of the ball, play smart, and limit turnovers. Also Delaware didn't get to the line very much mainly because they were shooting outside so much. Mason will have to get them in foul trouble and make the shots.

J. Rod is the key to this team. He was planning on leaving the team at the beginning of the season. I just can't help but think how much worse things would have been if he wasn't there. But he is and he was stroking in the first half. He didn't have to do to much in the second.

GO MASON come ready to play!!!!!!

6:45 PM  
Blogger What Not said...

Mason has to attack from the perimeter and in the off chance VCU plays zone (not a bad idea) they need to knock em down.
That said it all comes down to the big men. If they rebound, and take the ball hard to the rim, and defend, Mason wins. VCU will do all they can to shut down Cam.

7:27 PM  
Blogger greenandgold said...

VCU will press and play zone. Mason will need Cornelius' speed to break the press and bring the ball up. Mason must hit their shots from the perimeter and get a couple of their inside players in foul trouble. Mason must play a nearly flawless game. GO MASON!!!

10:29 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

I'm worried about Cam and DJ. Cam has seemed to step outside himself. If he doesn't show up then VCU has less to worry about, and after what he said about losing his love for the game...

If we can press them just a bit here and there I think it would help us. We haven't done it much this season, but when we did we got some good results. Pearson and Morrison are both good enough defenders to let the guards pressure upfront without worrying too much about easy baskets.

Let's go guys. Take it to them like there isn't a next season.

11:55 PM  
Blogger What Not said...

J Rod is their key, no doubt. I see Coach L using that zone again and see if VCU, JR in particular can knock down 3's in that environment. And I hope we press off the make a bit.
VCU is not as crisp and disciplined as they were under Grant. We can win this. Fresh legs and fired up. Must play smart AND aggressive. Come on fellas, this is a big day. Step up.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Eli said...

ESPN 360 is carrying the game; free for those with Comcast internet access.

9:59 AM  
Blogger What Not said...

There are about 7:56 left one 52-51. Our guys are battling, Ryan is having a good game, Mike Mo is playing Sanders tough, Andre is doing ok, a little tentative. I fear the refs are going to determine the outcome though. Proud of our guys.

4:10 PM  
Blogger C Hirsch said...

So sick of losing to VCU in this stupid tournament. Cam Long being second team all CAA is a joke, way to not show up "team leader".

4:36 PM  
Blogger C Hirsch said...

Hopefully the CBI takes us and we can get some more valuable experience.

4:37 PM  
Blogger True said...

Frankly, I hope this is the last game of the season and there is no CSI. I need this season to end--it is painful to watch. We can't win games when our "team leader" and "high scorer" can't score. Larranga is going to have to step up and rethink this team next year.....the freshman current and incoming and previously benched are our only hope to become a serious team. Cam Long can no longer be allowed to stay in front position or we will go down next year too.

8:00 PM  
Blogger greenandgold said...

True- you sound like some kind of
"hater" Or, are you just bitter? Who else do you think is capable running this team and handling the ball? Yep, there is not a recruit on that bench or in the rotation that can do what Cam can do. Stop pointing the finger at one guy

6:50 PM  
Blogger True said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

I do hate the lack of ability on this team. No matter how you want to look at it, Cam Long is a problem. And since you asked, Louis Birdsong also has been another problem. When we have a senior who averages one point a game and the star player who is at 12 and sinking fast, that's a serious problem. I want the team to succeed but I call it as I see it.......we are hurting now because our senior players are weak on the scoreboard. So, yes I do hate the mediocre talent that has been recruited. I may not love the team in your way, shaking the green and gold, but I love it enough to be honest that there are some flaws in the talent realm...and I hope the freshmen will correct it. I am off the Cam Long merry-go-round. I think the best hope for Cam Long is to take the pressure off him and let some of the other players score...that may give him his best performances, but I predict Cam Long will always be erratic.

9:11 PM  
Blogger variaban said...

I think Cam's role is going to be like Birdsong's, it's going to diminish.
Birdsong came in strong and each class became a little better, reducing his minutes.
Hopefully, next year, Long will be this year's Birdsong. Let him come off the bench and show that he wants to play.
The tournament showed that his isn't the gel that holds this team, these guys haven't found it yet.
People can argue all they want about the win streak we had and how he played so well during it but the bottom line is, that win streak was during low level teams. Hofstra didn't get a second wind until later so I include them as low level play during that time frame as well. More than likely, those games would have been wins without Cam.

12:51 PM  
Blogger greenandgold said...

Here we go again. Pointing the finger at 1 Player! Everyone has an opinion but no one seems to answer the question. Who will handle the ball if Cam is on the bench- Hancock, Cornelius, Wright? Unless this team does some serious growing up over the summer, the results will be as they were this year. I am just not the type to throw one person under the bus when it is a TEAM sport. There are problems on this team and it starts from the top and trickles down-something like Reaganomics. I'm sure you guys are the same people who blame the President for America's woes.

9:49 PM  
Blogger variaban said...

Wow, is he your cousin or relative?
You realize these are just opinions right?

You're missing the big picture. It's not about pointing fingers at one person, it's about not having one person be the designated "go-to" person when they can't go anywhere.
You might as well let Hancock, Cornelius or Wright handle the ball, the results will probably be the same.

If I had a bus, Cam would be welcome on it, no need to run anyone over or bring politics to a b-ball blog.

I think we all agree on something here though which is good; They definitely need to improve basics during the summer and gel together or the outcome will most likely be the same.

1:41 PM  
Blogger greenandgold said...

Nope not a relative;just someone who for as long as I have been blogging on this site, try to stay away from tearing individual players apart or focusing on 1 player. Just as you feel there is no need for me to put politics in this, to me, there is no need to identify just 1 player as the problem when it is a TEAM sport. Just as the President has Congress to deal with, Cam has a young team to deal with.

Oops, I did it again!

8:11 PM  

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