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Is tonight's game against VCU basically a play-in for the NCAA tournament for George Mason?

George Mason Basketball: Is tonight's game against VCU basically a play-in for the NCAA tournament for George Mason?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Is tonight's game against VCU basically a play-in for the NCAA tournament for George Mason?

At this point, with how well the Patriots are currently playing, I'm not about to end the wild speculations. And honestly, they aren't even that wild when you think about it.  Consider the magnitude of tonight's game on the road against VCU.  This game can do a lot for George Mason's final push before Selection Sunday and show people out there on national television how for real this team actually is. Let's breakdown the impending impacts of this game:

-VCU is the best remaining opponent on the Patriots' schedule. Although the Bracketbuster match-up at Northern Iowa looked enticing from the beginning, the Panthers have fallen on hard times after losing their leading rebounder Lucas O'Rear for the season due to injury.  Their RPI is falling fast and is currently at #77 after three straight losses. VCU on the other hand still has an RPI of #60 despite their loss on Saturday and still has room to improve after tonight's game when they play Wichita State (#55) this weekend. Overall I think a win on the road against a team like VCU that received a lot of praise earlier in the season would look very good to the selection committee.  

-A win tonight over VCU and a ODU loss clinches first place in the CAA for George Mason. Basically a win tonight is the last big hurdle for the Patriots on their road to winning the CAA's regular season crown. Why is that important? Well two reason actually. First, finishing #1 in the conference guarantees the best seed in the conference tournament in March.  And second, finishing the regular season in 1st place in the CAA looks very good to the selection committee.  Members of that committee stated back in 2006 that Mason's strong CAA record is what got them an at-large bid.  It depends on how strong people believe the CAA is this season and for the most part I believe the overall concensus is that it is one of the better conferences.

-Mason needs one last good road win.  Take a look at some of the better teams the Patriots have played on the road this season: Duquesne, Dayton, Hofstra, and ODU. How of those did they win? One, against Duquesne in double overtime back in late December.  The selection committee loves road wins and although Mason pummeled Hofsta and ODU at the Patriot Center they still lost to both of them at their respective venues.  I do however believe that their current win streak trumps this issue a bit but a loss at the Siegel Center tonight gives the committee a reason to snub the Patriots and you can't ignore that.

Let me be clear that a loss tonight to VCU does not torpedo Mason's at-large chances.  However I just wanted to highlight how important I think this game might end up being in the grand scheme of things. 

Am I over-analyzing here? What are your thoughts on the impact of tonight's game?



Anonymous tim.higashi said...


11:09 AM  
Anonymous Charlie T said...

So many things have to happen when you are a mid-major and not all of them can you control. In fact the only thing you can control is what is in front of you which is VCU. Winning erases all doubts. Easy said and part of me thinks win 3 of the the next 4 or maybe even 2 plus get to the final might do it. No, forget that just win and move on. Big East with perhaps 11 and if the other BCS groups have upsets in their finals the selection committe might have an unusual happy hour.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Pat tobin said...

Man... I hope you're right, but consider this -

We rarely get 2 teams in, and this isn't a lock by any means... even this year.

Last year, someone from the MSV conference didn't get a bid, even though they had an RPI of 21!

(what's inside my head) You gotta make VCU the favorite to win the CAA tournament (home court advantage) which means, more likely than not, our resume' is going to be held up against ODU. ODU has 4 huge out of conference wins against teams that are headed for the tournament. We have none. If you remember, Hofstra back in "06", they had no wins against teams that were headed for the tournament. The only claim to fame they had was that they beat us twice. The committee posed this question to Hofstra "If George Mason doesn't get a bid, then who did you beat?" This same question could haunt us "If ODU doesn't get in the field, then who did you (us, george mason) beat? They never considered giving us 3 teams that year, it was never a consideration, because they said "two teams, no way 3 from this conference."

Again, i hope you're right and i'm wrong, but mid-majors still get no respect in my opinion, and i don't see them giving us 3 teams this year, or any other year in the near future. I hope ODU loses every game from here on out by at least 40 points. :)

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Scottranda said...

With tonight’s 20 point win over VCU (12 wins in a row) it seems like this team is peaking at the right time ala GB packers! Go Mason

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Mooky_l3d said...

This is the first time in 5 or 6 years that Mason has won at VCU. The last time I was there and it was like a 5-9 point win. This was a huge statement. By far this is the biggest win of the season. All of the players stepped up and the D was unreal. GO MASON!!!!!!!

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Kdenton1 said...

Longest win streak in the Nation! Go Mason!!! This Mason team finishes teams better than any former Mason team I have seen. Awesome showing on the road tonight. At large chances are looking bright.

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Scottranda said...

This could be a great team as a result expect a CAA tourney championship in 2011! (Automatic NCAA tourney bid)

7:02 AM  

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