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Previewing the Battle of the Orange Line Part II

George Mason Basketball: Previewing the Battle of the Orange Line Part II

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Previewing the Battle of the Orange Line Part II

I like having fun with the whole "Battle of the Orange Line" slogan the GW marketing department came up with last year but I still think them trying to call this game some sort of rivalry is a stretch.  It's great to have a local rival but I don't think we are quite there yet when you consider the teams have only faced 11 times in Mason's 40 some years of having a basketball team.  And before the game last December, George Mason and George Washington hadn't faced eachother in 11 years. What rivals have that long of a break between games?  It remains to be seen if this becomes an annual affair or if it ends up being a short lived marketing campaign by both schools to get attendance numbers up. Hopefully this becomes a tradition but I'm not going to hold my breath.  

Now on to the actual game tomorrow night.  Considering almost everyone on the roster was in Foggy Bottom for the beating they received last year from the Colonials I'd like to think they take this game seriously. Ryan Pearson and Andre Cornelius were suspended for that game last season and should be motivated to perform well tomorrow.  With GW losing to UNCW the other night it's a little difficult to say they are an improved team from last season.  They were picked to finish tenth in the A10 but so far it looks like even that might be wishful thinking.  The Colonials have been dreadful from the field, shooting about 35% on the the season to date but have had some success from the three-point line. Forward Nemanja Mikic sank 7 3-pointers in their loss to UNCW.  If Mason doesn't protect the perimeter well it's pretty much the only way I see them losing this game.  If they play the kind of team defense they did against Radford and FAU it's very likely GW will have a tough time getting any quality looks at the basket.  

In the front court GW has done well rebounding so this is definitely an area the Patriots cannot slouch in.  Mason won't have a size advantage like they did over FAU but they will have more athletic forwards. But GW forward Nemanja Mikic who I mentioned earlier could create a match-up problem. The 6-8 forward has been shooting over 47% from the three-point line and has been one of the team's most efficient shooters. If someone like Luke Hancock is guarding him it could be an issue.  Hopefully we see another big game from Mike Morrison who had a big second half against FAU on Saturday.

I look for Mason to continue to share the ball well and shoot well in this one.  Their defense should force GW into another one of their bad shooting nights and force them to throw up ill advised three-pointers. If the Patriots play an uptempo game with high scoring I don't think the Colonials will be able to keep up as they just don't have the horses.

Don't forget this is the game they will start giving away bobbleheads! So get their early to get your Folarin Campbell bobblehead.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad you agree that Luke can't defend the perimeter.

10:07 AM  
Blogger What Not said...

Not being a homer here: If Pats don't beat them by 15 they will not have played well. After last year's humiliation they should try to win by 50.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that Hancock's defense is poor. For someone who is able to blow by his defender, he is surprisingly unable to defend against people blowing by him. My sense of watching him on Saturday (my first opportunity to see Mason in person this season) is that Hancock becomes too easily distracted by trying to make a play when the ball is away from his man. He shifts over to make a play, the ball swings to his man, he is out of position, and then bam, he is scored on.

Last year I cringed every time Hancock walked on the floor because I knew a turnover would follow. Now, he seems like the only player able to manufacture offense, either by an assist or on his own basket. I still have hope that his defensive skills can mature like his offensive skills have.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke is a decent player. His defense is awful. Larranaga seems to take care of that issue by going into a zone or have someone else guard Luke's man. He may be the assist leader at this point. But it is not because he creates for others. Its due to the fact that plays are created and Luke is the passer (i.e. Cam sets a screen on Morrison's player. Hancock throws the alley oop). Luke does do an excellent job creating for himself.

6:51 PM  
Blogger What Not said...

Hancock has good court sense and slides and gives help on D. Can he be isolated and broken down by a quicker guard? Sure, but he rebounds well and has played big for his size thus far this year. I don't see him as a huge defensive liability and he has added strength and quickness since last year. I think he's played as well as anyone on the team to date and not turned it over as much.
As with everyone else, we'll see once CAA play begins; maybe not with UNC Wilmington. They're not the old Seahawks.

9:02 PM  

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