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George Mason opens CAA schedule against UNCW

George Mason Basketball: George Mason opens CAA schedule against UNCW

Friday, December 03, 2010

George Mason opens CAA schedule against UNCW

The Patriots open their CAA schedule this season at home against UNCW tomorrow night. They are three games into their current five game home stand and are looking to stay unbeaten at the Patriot Center.  It's a rare thing to see Mason play this many consecutive home games in the beginning of the season but it could benefit the team a lot.  Both UNCW and Mason are coming off wins against George Washington, however the Seahawks turned over the ball 17 times in their victory and allowed GW's Nemania Mikic to go 7-for-13 from the three point line. I should mention though that UNCW went 12-for-22 from there as well in that game. As a whole this might be the best shooting team the Patriots have faced this season, the only thing is they don't score a whole lot of points.  They often get out-rebounded and turnover the ball about five more times a game then their opponent.  Getting to the free throw line is another area they haven't been effective in as they have already had 3 games in which they attempted 8 or less free throws.

Up front the Seahawks are undersized and beat reporter Brian Mull thinks the Patriots will pound the ball inside early in this one. Can't say I disagree with that, especially with how effective Mike Morrison has been. If Ryan Pearson can start off strong as well, the game could be an easy one for the Patriots. However the Patriots can again be their own worst enemies against a team like this, especially if Pearson or Morrison get into early foul trouble. When Morrison got a breather Wednesday night against GW, Mason looked completely different on both ends of the court.  With the bench players struggling to play effective Larranaga defense it is very important for the team not to shoot themselves in the foot with early fouls.  As a team they did a good job staying out of foul trouble against GW but we have already seen too often this season guys like Pearson and Morrison missing a large part of the 1st half of games. The Seahawks themselves don't have much of a bench either and have been living mostly off the shooting from Chad Tomko and Ahmad Grant. Grant by the way is 15-for-20 on three-pointers for the season; something to keep in mind.

Sure UNCW was picked to finish last in the CAA but don't think Larranaga isn't taking this game seriously.  The Patriots have made a living on home CAA wins in recent years and each one carries a lot of weight.  When you factor in how good teams like ODU and VCU have looked so far you begin to get a perfect of how CAA wins can come at a premium.  But I do think the Patriots offensive attack will overwhelm UNCW as I don't expect them to shoot as poorly as they did Wednesday night.  A high scoring game favors Mason and their ability to create turnovers against already turnover prone team should be the difference in this one.

A few things to watch tomorrow night:

How much the will the starters play? Wednesday night all the starters played 31 minutes or more despite Mason having a double lead late in the 2nd half.  Larranaga stated he is not confident in his bench playing adequate defense so it will be interesting to see how those guys respond to being called out.  Sure Cam Long has been averaging 30+ minutes since his sophomore year but I don't know if you can keep this up with the rest of the starters who aren't used to logging that many minutes. If Larranaga wants to use the scramble defense more this kind of thing can't continue.

Free-throw shooting. Mason got to the line a lot Wednesday but can they keep it up or was it just a fluke? Effectiveness at the free-throw would add a new dimension to Mason's offense, especially if Mike Morrison continues to produce from there.  I always have thought guys like Andre Cornelius and Luke Hancock should get to the line more so hopefully they saw the difference it can make.

Will Mason pick up the defensive intensity? The Seahawks turn the ball over a lot and don't have someone outside of Chad Tomko who handles the ball well. Look for Mason to be more aggressive in this one on defense as they try to force the ball out of Tomko's hands.  If all goes well this game could end up like the win against Charlotte. 



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it me or does it seem like Tomko has been in the league for like 9 years??? Kind of like Drew Neitzel back with Michigan St.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

I know what you mean. Kids been a starter since day one for them I believe.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me why Johnny Williams is not playing at all?

1:20 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Don't you think it's weird when a guy 6'8" 249 lbs is out there and you hardly notice him? Guy is a softie inside.

Brian Mull mentions him in his recent article saying that some players just take longer to develop.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The things that plaque UNCW also plaque Mason. Too many turnovers, poor rebounding, a weak bench( Mason on ocassion). Let's face it, the competition has been sub-par with the exception of the games which Mason loss. You would like to see Hancock at the free throw line more? You must be kidding me. That's how he gets his points-lay ups and free throws. I would like to see EVERYONE get to the free throw line more not just your boy Hancock (and Cornelius).

12:07 AM  
Blogger What Not said...

Plaque? No dental plan? Plague, I think.

Broken record here, I admit it. But....

Johnny Williams doesn't get more time because Arledge has come on and L goes with a 3 guard/forward set most of the time to handle the ball. (A quicker line up.) Mason has QUALITY bigs but they don't get the ball to them, ergo they can't shine. Sorry to keep hammering on this but there's no timing between the backcourt wings and feeding the post. This all starts with crisp passing and ball movement and this starts with a point guard.

In the second half of the GW game we saw some crisper movement against that zone. Seahawks will go zone, no doubt. Mason must work it and not settle for Cornelius hoisting up bad threes. Let Cam and Luke shoot it- they are proven gamers. Everyone else rebound the long misses and play tough D.

Same as last year: Why not a 2-1-2 set w Morrison high post and half court ball help and Williams, Arledge and Pearson alternating down low? We saw Mike Mo give some nice feeds to Ryan high low against GW. But one way or another there has to be ball help for Hancock and Cam.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

UNCW has too many shooters for Mason to defend. All five starters are a threat to score from the outside and then when you close out on them they can beat you off the dribble. Their turnovers come from overthinking a play or getting down on the shot clock and having to rush. When UNCW is transition they are at best. I think that tonite Mason should focus on Rendleman instead of the shooters. If they don't he is going to dominate in the post.

11:24 AM  

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