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George Mason vs ODU: Why it's more of a big deal this year

George Mason Basketball: George Mason vs ODU: Why it's more of a big deal this year

Friday, February 04, 2011

George Mason vs ODU: Why it's more of a big deal this year

I don't think I really have to mention to fans how important this game might end up being for both teams on Saturday, however there is a little more at stake this year. The Examiner has an article this morning detailing how both Mason and ODU have NCAA tournament credentials which highlights the added intrigue for this game.  This game poses as not just a battle for the top of the CAA standings but also a rare chance for each team to get a top-50 RPI win during conference play, something that is usually scarce for mid-majors. Currently George Mason's RPI is at #28 and ODU's is #34.  Both team's coaches would tell you the NCAA tournament is far from their minds and they are focusing on winning the CAA. I agree that winning the conference and getting that automatic bid should be the team's main focus but it's difficult to not be thinking about the big picture if your a fan.  Mason's winning streak in the CAA is nice but two losses to ODU won't look good come selection Sunday regardless of their numbers.  Now let's talk about the actual game.

The battle back in the beginning of January was a good one between these two clubs and if Mason was playing like they are now I think they would have won that game.  ODU was playing out of their element as they scored 69 points, well above their usual average per game. In their last six games the Monarchs have only scored that many or more points once and in their loss to VCU they managed only 50.  The Patriots however are averaging over 74 points a game and have scored 84 or more in their last three games.  At home they have averaged 77.1 points per game against conference opponents which is impressive.  They are currently rolling right now and a high scoring game favors them largely.  

The Monarchs strength is in the front court, where they dominated Mason back in Norfolk earlier in the season.  The Patriots can neutralize that by pushing the tempo and having five different guys making shots often.  Teams have really had trouble defending Mason this year because you often don't know who to focus on.  Ryan Pearson, Luke Hancock, Cam Long and Andre Cornelius are all capable of scoring 20 or more a night, you just don't always know which one it will be.  

The Patriots are #1 in the CAA in points per possession which is not exactly a mainstream statistic but it's an  important one between us bloggers. It measures a team's efficiency, in other words it's how many points does the team score versus the number of possessions they have during the course of the game. In Mason's case it really shows the quality of their offense.  As a team they are making excellent shot selections and just simply scoring in bunches when they get the chance.  The statistic also shows how dangerous Mason can be when they are scoring quickly on fast breaks and getting points off turnovers.  This is why I think Mason has the big advantage tomorrow against ODU at home, they are just simply a scoring machine and I don't think ODU, like the rest of CAA will be able to keep up.

If you still looking for tickets tomorrow the Mason ticket office is supposedly selling "seats with a limited view" for $8, whatever that means. 



Anonymous Mason guy said...

ESPN's Joe Lunardi has both Mason and ODU as 10 seeds in his latest bracketology.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous kyhancocks said...

Looking forward to watching the next couple of games here in Kentucky. We really want to see the team make it into the NCAA tourney.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous whatnot said...

line opened w Mason giving 5.5, then went to 4.5......lot of ODU believers out there, or at least those who think this will be a very close game.....probably right, should be fun...let's hope for consistent officiating....
I say Mason by 5......GO PATS!!!!!!!!!!

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Kdenton1 said...

I think the at large gets real simple after this ODU win. In order to be a "LOCK", we need to win 4 out of the final 6 games and one of the wins HAS to be one of the road games vs. VCU or Northern Iowa

10:05 AM  

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