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George Mason gets ready for a showdown with VCU

George Mason Basketball: George Mason gets ready for a showdown with VCU

Monday, February 13, 2012

George Mason gets ready for a showdown with VCU

With George Mason's win over UNCW on Saturday they are now only one win away (or an ODU loss) from locking up a top three seeding in the CAA tournament. That will be easier said than done with their showdown with VCU tomorrow and a visit to Boston to take on Northeastern.  In their victory over UNCW the Patriots again turned another game into a squeaker as the Seahawks clawed back late in the second half.  The team shot the ball well, even from behind the three-point line but the turnovers and Mike Morrison finishing with only 5 points and 2 rebounds is discouraging.  With VCU coming to the Patriot Center tomorrow we can only hope Mike Morrison comes out with more fire.  

Eamonn Brennan of ESPN thinks the winner of tomorrow's game still has a remote shot at an at-large for the NCAA tournament. I don't really agree with that but the game tomorrow is still a huge deal for George Mason. Grabbing the #1 seed in the CAA tournament this year is a lot more crucial than it has been in previous seasons.  Without a realistic chance at an NCAA tournament birth outside of the CAA automatic bid, having that easier path to the conference finals is vital.  Especially since VCU's crowd at the Richmond based tournament this year will be bigger than ever. Even during a down year for the Rams you'd see the place littered with VCU t-shirts, now throw in a team coming off a Final Four run.  The Patriots need to position themselves in the best position they can for this tournament and that starts with beating VCU tomorrow night.

Tomorrow I'll get into the three keys for George Mason in this game but I still wanted to get into a few things.  First of all, VCU is #2 in the country right now in steals per game (10.2), which should really scare Mason fans as we just saw this team turn it over 16 times to UNCW on Saturday.  Mason already averages almost 15 TOs a game, while the Rams have the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the CAA.  The numbers don't worry me as much as the Rams style on defense does.  I don't think the Patriots have played a team this year that has this kind of aggressive, attacking style defense.  They are an athletic team, like Mason, and this could be a very uptempo game.  This might be the first time this season that I say I don't think an uptempo game is what Mason wants.  If they get into a track meet with VCU I think they will lose because the Rams are just too good at turning TOs into points.  Mason can win the game in the paint and getting to the free-throw line but they will need to be very disciplined.

When the Rams tighten down on defense, I don't know what Mason will do if they dig themselves into a hole early.  I think the Rams are the only team in the conference outside of Drexel that are good enough on defense to throw the Patriots off their game.  Sometimes they do that to themselves but they still find a way to win. Will they be able to do that against VCU?

More on the George Mason-VCU showdown tomorrow.


Anonymous itgmu77 said...

Will this be televised anywhere? A stream perhaps?

10:23 AM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

it's on CSN, don't think we will find a stream though.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Also disconcerning from last game was how UNCW's press had us way off balance, even when we got it across half we were picking it up immeditately instead of keeping the ball moving.  Not great but now  a home game with a lot on the line should show us if we can get up for a big game (who cares about the NCAA tourney if we don't have the will to win anyway)  Let's go Mason!

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Charlie T said...

VCU does try to create an uptempo game and yes guard play will provide both questions and I hope answers. Our defense has really improved and this is something I really do not think they expect.  I would expect VCU to go right at Ryan to create fouls. In simple terms to me (and this is with the hope of single digit turnovers) we take quality shots and win the rebounding stat. Sure if we turn it over and give second and third shots it will be ugly. If I had to say where an edge may come from it will be our bench plus how we react to their pressure. Simple statement or comment but VCU plays every game as if you can't handle them. How they react to our pressure and game flow should prove interesting.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Moses said...

Mason has to use VCU's pressure against them. They can't walk it up against this press or back off or hesitate or they'll get swamped. They've got to attack the back court pressure and if they can break it (a big if) they will have big men open deep. It's like beating a blitz. There will be people open.  
Our guards have to be super aggressive, matching VCU's aggression. This team cannot grind it out half court. It's going to be up and down the court all night and we have to beat them at that game. Get ready to run. Should be intense.    

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

Its on the random network though, at least in Arlington, not regular Comcast Sports Net. Channel 21 on my Cox cable.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous gmubball said...

This VCU team may play better defense than last year's team.  They are young, fast, "long" (as opposed to big), athletic, and have bought into the "Havoc" defense.  They will pressure the ball after every Mason score and trap on both sides of half court.  However, I think we may actually be faster and more athletic and may be able to run by them (something the other teams in the CAA cannot do).  They have trouble scoring against good half court defense (as long as we guard the perimeter - put Wright on Burgess) and we should be able to get them into foul trouble early.  We are the better team.  Things could go ugly for either team.  The outcome depends on if our guys believe they are the better team or not.  If VCU is already inside their heads, we will lose to them 3 times over the next month. 

Correct me if I am wrong, but if Drexel wins out they will be the #1 seed.  I see their last game is at ODU, so I guess they could still lose a 3rd game.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Patriot74 said...

We need to keep turnovers to a minimum (Easier said than done) or else this game could be a repeat of the Duquesne debacle.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Moses said...

Totally agree...our guys have to be ready and willing to go to war and take it to them. I know Mo, RP, and Copes will be ready...and I'll throw Acorn in there too. I hope Corey and B Allen aren't intimidated or tentative. They have to believe, trust their ability and go after it. 

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Doug Economou said...

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Doug Economou said...

So true about the importance of Mason being #1 for the tourney considering VCU basically has home court advantage every season.  I'd like to not have to face them until the last game in the hopes they get upset in the semifinals by Drexel.

Anyone know if the CAA ever plans on holding the tourney in a different location? Ya know, to even the playing field a bit?  Richmond used to win the tourney all the time when they were in the CAA.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous mooky_l3d said...

Not anytime in near future.  I believe that the CAA signed a lease a couple of years ago until 2015 or around there.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

VCU has won the tournament 4 times in the 20+ years it has been in Richmond, this homecourt advantage is a myth.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous GMURULES said...

As much as I hate VCU getting the close arena, it could be a worse location like Va Beach, North Carolina, etc.  The collisium is not state of the art, but either is Pat Center.  I do dislike any advantage VCU. 

4:48 PM  
Anonymous mooky_l3d said...

I want that footage of Cam slamming on Larry Sanders.  Please hook a brotha up!

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Brentrg said...

I think this is going to be a very good game.  A close game and I think we pull it out.  This is what our guys have been waiting for all year.  They will come to play, especially at home.  VCU is good, but we are always overly intimidated by them (the fans).  Did anyone see that stat line against ODU?  VCU played pretty bad, but they had enough 3 points fall to pull out the win.  Like one guy posted, I think unlike other CAA teams, we have the athleticism to break their press and beat them at their own game.  I'm not saying it will be easy, but I think we will come out with a W.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous mooky_l3d said...

For VCUs first game in the tournament I will be holding a sign that says "VCU's first home game not sold out!"

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Patriot74 said...

From your mouth to the Basketball Gods ears.

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Druin said...

not in fairfax, espn has not updated the score. did mason win?

11:54 PM  
Anonymous Student said...


2:53 AM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

Mooky, it was on those Top 50 plays of the decade videos.  Here is the link to that Cam Long dunk over Sanders:

10:26 AM  
Anonymous mooky_l3d said...

thank you 

1:08 PM  

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