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How George Mason can beat Ohio State

George Mason Basketball: How George Mason can beat Ohio State

Saturday, March 19, 2011

How George Mason can beat Ohio State

This game is a bit personal to me on another level, my brother is an OSU grad. Naturally sibling rivalry wants me to see George Mason crush Ohio State but I'm trying to not let it distort my reality on the game. Mason didn't get the best draw on Selection Sunday, they may have been paired with a Big East team on a serious losing streak but they are also in the same region as the #1 overall seed in Ohio State.  If you have watched any college basketball this season you're probably familiar with All-American forward Jared Sullinger , who is one of the best players in the country right now.  Outside of Sullinger inside you have to deal with the perimeter shooting of Jon Diebler and William Buford, the slashing penetration skills of David Lighty, and Aaron Craft at the point making it all happen.  Like Mason they are balanced and can beat you in a number of different ways.  

I don't think it's a surprise to anyone to say that Mason needs to play a lot better overall then they did against Villanova in order to win this game.  If they give up that many open looks from behind the arc the Buckeyes will bury them early and I don't think they will be able to mount a 2nd half comeback.  Ryan Pearson was pretty much shout out by the Villanova front court and as a result got into early foul trouble making him a non-factor.  The Patriots can't let that happen again.

So with all that being said, just how can George Mason defeat Ohio State on Sunday? Here are the keys to the game for the Patriots:

Guard the perimeter. Ohio State is #2 in the nation on 3-point shooting percentage. Jon Diebler is a big reason for this.  Mason will have to make a better effort to prevent their opportunities from behind th arc in order to stay in this game. Villanova had too many early looks and made Mason pay early, imagine that times 10 against Ohio State.

Get them into foul trouble, especially Jared Sullinger. Sounds easy right? Actually the Buckeyes are the #1 in the nation in personal fouls per game according to and this could an area the Patriots attack. Overall they need to frustrate Sullinger and not give him easy baskets. Luke Hancock and Ryan Pearson got to the line a lot against Villanova and they need to do it again against these guys.  Ohio State coach Thad Matta has a short rotation and guys like Sullinger logging a lot of minutes on the bench would thwart their finely tuned offense.  Don't discount Larranaga's game management skills here.

Three-point shooting. You didn't see the Mason light it up from behind the three-point line against Villanova but they will need to against Ohio State. To defeat a team that is much more talented than you are you have to make outside shots to open things up in other areas.  The Patriots inability to make these shots really hurt their inside game against the Wildcats. It was obvious even on the last three-pointer by Luke Hancock that they didn't respect the Patriots outside game when he was left wide open.  Vertrail Vaughns was held scoreless against 'Nova but hopefully that is not the case Sunday.

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Anonymous Reggie said...

First, let's give it up for Gus Johnson. Watching the replay of the finish I remembered how appropriately enthusiastic he is. Just enough hype and he knows the game. Len Elmore has become an old lady.

They beat Villanova the way they've won all year- chipping in. Cam is off, Luke steps up late. J Dub comes off the bench with energy. IT hits a late 3. Luke rebounds, RP gets a late bucket after getting 4. It's a TEAM.
So.....J Dub will play a lot and bang their big man, hack him, push him into the stands, whatever to keep him from getting off. Cam will slash. VV will get time. They will defend our 3- especially Luke. Spread it out and use the quickness. MAke them chase our speed like VCU did to the plodding Hoyas. MUST rebound and hit free throws.

The bigger they know the rest.

7:13 AM  
Anonymous LawMom3 said...

This isn't by way of criticizing Cam because I love him and think he's a terrific leader; however, he was too uptight yesterday and it was hampering his ability to dribble and shoot. He seemed to be taking too much on himself, and I think this had to do with his knowledge that he IS the team's leader and he feels a responsibility to step up and make things happen. As VP Biden would say, this is a Big Effing Deal. When Luke exploded into productivity in those final minutes I thought Cam started to look better himself. What I'm hoping he took away from the game is that he CAN rely on his teammates and do what he does best, which is to get open, get the ball, and get the shot. The last two games we've seen the Patriots off-balance. Thankfully, they were able to recover enough to win yesterday against a larger, extremely determined team. I think if they can just relax and remember what a well-oiled machine they are and just work together and stay calm then they can beat OSU.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous BATmason said...

Props for the sight, this is the best Mason coverage on the net by far

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Reggie said...

Spot on about Cam. He will be fine tomorrow. He will defend and rebound and let the rest come to him. Deny the post and rebound, boys!

10:28 AM  
Anonymous BATmason said...

UTSA threw up some wild/jittery/unconfident shots against OSU when they had some really good looks. I know some would say you can't even compare the GMU to UTSA, but, there were similar forced shots taken by Tate, Mo and others in the NOVA battle. GMUs gotta relax, handle the ball well and deliver it to the rack or from the perimeter with confidence when they have a good look. The jitters need to go by the wayside, GMU more than deserves to be here. They have to come into their own, relax, execute and play aggresive.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Rmjank said...

I know Cam had a couple of moments when he pushed too hard, but I think if you look back on the game you'd see that he wasn't that out of sorts. His shots weren't falling, though. What I will take as a positive was at the beginning of the game when we couldn't shoot a thing because nerves were poppin', Cam drained a 3. My greater concern was that Cornelius played only 20 minutes and was scoreless. Not sure what was going on there. Was Tate taking his place for some taller defense?
Anyway, let's have fun with it on Sunday. Northwestern took OSU to overtime, so why can't we? But they run a princeton offense which isn't exactly in our rep (or is it?? Coach L???? :))

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Agilb884 said...

We can't be intimidated by OSU's record or reputation. If the Patriots can be aggressive from the beginning and not wait until the second half, we might just shock the world. And especially be aggressive on the post. Don't concede the inside game to the much bigger team. Also, drive the lane. Hancock changed the game against Nova with his ability to drive to the basket. Need the same kind of aggressive guard play starting in the first half. If we can be as aggressive against the Buckeyes as VCU was against the Hoyas, we might have a chance. Needless to say, I will be praying, holding several rosaries and having a mild heart attack while watching this one. Go Patriots!

4:28 PM  
Anonymous AllDayinVA said...

This will be a tough, tough but winnable game. Cpach L needs to look at what Northwestern did to keep the game within one possession and copy it. We should not over commit on Sullinger and make the perimeter defense a priority. This is Johnny Williams' time to shine. He is not far off Sullinger's size 6'8 versus 6'9 and he can also provide defense.

Defense, defense, defense and play loose. Mason has nothing to lose here - OSU has everything.

GO Mason - punch em in the neck, get them on the floor, never let them back up.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Rudy said...

Your forgot a few things in your article. If you double Diebler, he just throws it down low to Sullinger. Foul trouble? Not Ohio State. Even if Sullinger picks up a couple early, have you seen Lauderdale (their big shot blocker) when he comes in for Sullinger? There is no way we can compete with this team if we focus too much on one player. It has to be tight defense all around and we have to blow it up from 3-point range. If we can hang around for a half we might have a chance, but this will be a home game for the Buckeyes and they are amazing playing in front of a favorable crowd. We're going to get slaughtered.

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Btolley said...

More pressure for OSU to play at home in my opinion. All the pressure is on them. We've got nothing to lose

8:21 PM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

Lauderdale averages about 16 min a game and can't run the floor. I hope he's on the floor when mason ups the tempo

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Scottranda said...

Agree 100 percent!

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Charlie T said...

No matter what happens this is what you get in this tournament which is a chance to play against teams that will not schedule you and are filled with all everything players. Well,this is our chance. Can we win? I would never put anything past Coach L and his staff. Is Ohio State the best team in the tournament. That depends on who they match up with. In this case I would love for us to play are best which simply means defend and make them defend and value your possessions. As usual second chance shots and turnovers kill underdogs but great foul shooting, not commiting stupid fouls and shooting between 48 to 52 percent with threes can offset some if not most of the advantages of the favorite. Lets face it the CAA may be a mid-major but it may not be in my lifetime when BCS schools schedule home and home games.

10:48 PM  
Anonymous ByGeorge06 said...

If we can get a couple of stops to start the game I see another great game tomorrow. This is the most wonderful time of the year~~~Win or lose...Go Mason!!!

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Matt Barker said...

Just a few things I would like to point out.

1) Ohio State is No. 1 in the nation in personal fouls per game because they commit the fewest. Highly unlikely that any player will get into foul trouble.

2) Lauderdale was the starting center last season and averaged more than 25 minutes per game. With the author stating that Lauderdale can't run the floor, it's clear that this writer has not even seen Ohio State play. Laduerdale can run the floor better than Sullinger, but is limited offensively to short jumpers and dunks, so he doesn't play much. On the flip side, Lauderdale is better than Sullinger on the defensive end and is a very good shot blocker.

12:36 AM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

Wow I've seen osu play. Lauderdale is average player who is tough inside but has no offensive skills. Villanovas Yarou is overall better player than him.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Reggie said...

Way to go out on that limb, Maverick.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous SCOTTRANDA said...

Agree a chance to play a top notch team that does not want to play GMU during the regular season. Morever, because if the yop tear team wins it is expected and if they lose its embarising. With a huge win today maybe GMU can schedule teams that will get credit for victories over GMU?

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Scottranda said...

Typo correction (top)

Agree a chance to play a top notch team that does not want to play GMU during the regular season. Morever, because if the top tear team wins it is expected and if they lose its embarising. With a huge win today maybe GMU can schedule teams that will get credit for victories over GMU?

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Gio said...

Well undoubtedly the leaders in the team....Cam,Andre,Ryan, Mike and Luke all have to have huge games and be in double digits. The last game, Luke really stepped up when we needed him the most and so did Mike Mo and Johnny Williams. Mo and Johnny really made impressive contributions. Usually it would be Cam, or Andre going off but they didn't seem like themselves last time out. Cam even lost his concentration a couple of times while bringing the ball up which is not like him at all. I think the atmosphere kinda got to him even though he and Tate are the most experienced of the group. I don't think those guys will have an off night again. Look for them to attack the basket and drain the 3's from the outside and play tight D from the start...hopefully Vertrail gets hot too. We will need all the help we can get. Go Patriots!!!

2:38 PM  
Anonymous calidreamin said...

Ohio State has all the pressure to win, not Mason. I hope our guys remember that, and also remember just how good they really are. An 8 seed took down a 1 seed yesterday -- it can happen again today!! Our guys just need to let OSU deal with the pressure of winning, and instead relish the pleasure of winning. Go Patriots!!!!

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Happy Holly said...

No matter what happens tonight, our Patriots should be proud of all they have accomplished this season. A win against OSU would make it all the sweeter. Best of luck team!

5:00 PM  
Anonymous CAA said...

Luke is down with food poisoning...coincidence or did they slip something to his food?

5:51 PM  
Anonymous c hirsch said...

Good season Mason. Got a tough draw facing the #1team and basically a home game for them. Some reward for being an 8 seed. Oh well, glad to get another postseason win after a five year break.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Rudy said...

I'm not going to say I told you so.

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Shawn McGuinn said...

By saying that, you kind of ARE saying I told you so.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Mason guy said...

They ran into a very good team who got very hot from three, and things got out of hand. Eh, it happens. Forget about it.

It was a great year. Thanks to Cam and Ike for bringing us so far, good luck.

7:28 PM  

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