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Something has to change or it will be a short weekend in Richmond for George Mason

George Mason Basketball: Something has to change or it will be a short weekend in Richmond for George Mason

Monday, February 27, 2012

Something has to change or it will be a short weekend in Richmond for George Mason

This is not how George Mason wanted to be playing before heading into the post season.  This season has been full of ups and downs but now the Patriots find them in a position redeem themselves this weekend at the VCU Invitational CAA tournament. But they won't get very far in the tournament if they play anything like what we have been seeing in these last two games.  The good news is that the loss to VCU on Saturday doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things. The Patriots would have still been on the same side of the CAA tournament bracket pairings regardless of who won that game and they still have the to win the conference's auto-bid to get to the big dance. The question is can the Patriots shrug off these losses and play disciplined, sound basketball in Richmond?

They had a really difficult time with VCU's trap and could not seem to match their intensity. Towards the end of the game they were better on defense but they needed to play with that energy for a full 40 minutes. Their reputation of "sleep-walking" through the beginning of games was very evident on Saturday.  Teams that win in March play good defense and it needs to be what the Patriots are focusing on this week.

There are a number of things Mason needs to straight out before they head to Richmond and I'm not just talking about turnovers.  We've beaten to death the turnover issue this season, and since it's hasn't changed much to date, don't expect it to magically disappear this weekend.  They've still have won a ton of games despite their turnover percentage. The more pressing immediate issue is stopping the opposing team's hot shooter.  Over the last two games the opposing team's leading scorer had 27 and 31 respectively and combined for 30-for-34 at the free-throw line. This is beyond ridiculous and it exposes how Mason's defense can unravel. It is difficult to win when you hand the ball over to the other team constantly and then give them countless attempts at the free-throw line.  

The Patriots offense hasn't been the problem and even though VCU kept landing hay-makers on Saturday they didn't give up in trying to mount a comeback. Mason has the talent to mask some of their problems and we've seen this be the case in numerous games this year. The problem is they continue to shoot themselves in the foot during their runs when they are down by not doing their part on defense.  They don't keep guys off the perimeter and give way too many open looks.  And then when they don't give up the open looks, they will bail the other team out by fouling. It just comes down to discipline on the defensive end.  Bryon Allen and Corey Edwards aren't going to become floor generals overnight but the team can play improve on defense this weekend.

[Photo via]



Anonymous RubberBallsandLiquor said...

Editor - Wanted to . . .be . . . playing. 

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

If I wasn't biased I would probably pick Georgia State to beat Mason, but I am biased so I think Mason will pull that game out. Don't see us beating VCU, not saying we can't, just don't see it right now. Would at least like to get one win in CAA Tournament so we don't go out losing three straight.

Not sure what kind of team we will see starting Saturday, been the case all season.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Ed said...

They have a shot, of course. MASON can beat anyone in the CAA, including VCU, but they really have to play intense defense and maybe reanimate Cornelius's corpse to make a run (his 3-point touch would help). But I have faith.

By the way, "VCU Invitational?" HA! Let's just call it that for now on. 

1:07 PM  
Anonymous stephen said...

Completely agree, we have the potential to take anyone down in the conference - just don't know if it's in the cards...but I hope so!

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Charlie T said...

No team can afford to relax this weekend. Going in Drexel,VCU and Delaware seem to be playing the best but with a week off I would like to think Mason will make the most of it. What can they do sounds simple and that is protect the ball on offense and the basket on defense but here is where we get hurt and you said it. On offense it is our passing and on defense it is whoever we are playing and their passsing. Guard penetration really kills us and it has most of the season. I have hope we can put together a complete game on Saturday which will carry over. No matter what it is going to be a fun tournament and there is no time like the present to come together as a team.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Taylormade703 said...

How about just calling it the "Richmond Invitational?"  I don't like giving another school props like that.  Just how some used to call the ACC Tourney the "Duke Invitational" or how the NCAA Tourney was called the "UCLA Invitational" in the 70s.  I think "Richmond Invitational" gets the point across.

BTW, anybody want to start a Facebook protest page (or something) saying that it's unfair to have the tourney in Richmond every year?  I know all the other CAA schools would be behind it all the way.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Gio said...

In other news, Tom O'Connor has issued an apology to VCU on the gomason site.

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

I think a fairly constant theme with this team has been their mental lapses negate their physical, athletic advantages.  If they stop making idiotic turnovers, they will win.  

Andre Cornelius reminds me of Tiger Woods.  His athletic prowess seems to have been lost ever since his public embarassment.  Hey, Andre... we forgive you, man.. we all make mistakes... all of us... please put it behind you and rise to the occassion...

Coach Hewitt... you need to get the most out of your guys... that is your job... good luck!!

5:55 PM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

I'm not giving them props, people call it that because it's in their home town and they have the advantage, they have their students get in for free and they have beaten Mason in it time and time again.

7:03 PM  
Anonymous COOLHEADS said...

Until GMU goes to the A10!

7:51 PM  
Anonymous jimp said...

Could not agree more that GMU needs to stress playing smart and tough D.  I still can't  get over how easy it was for Northeastern to score the game tying basket nearing the end of regulation.  We're giving up dunks and lay ups all night and we don't adapt to force them into a tough shot on that critical possession?  I realize you don't want to give up a 3 in that spot, but come on! Sure, we had a terrible last possession too, but that wouldn't have mattered if we got the stop.  I guess I go back to that game because if we win that, it makes the VCU effort a bit easier to swallow.

10:10 PM  
Anonymous GMURULES said...

Same can be said for Lamar game.  the second half 21 dunked all over us.  We let them back in.  Hewitt seams like a laid back person.  It is rubbing off on the team maybe.  I just don't get when the second unit gets PT why they are not more aggressive, or are they just not that good? Focus will be name of the game this weekend.

7:08 AM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

I'll be happy when this crutch goes away. Others have beaten VCU in Richmond in this tournament, time for Mason to do it.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Moses said...

First, I'd like to thank Shaka for having us down to his tourney. A northerner getting an invite to a big event in Richmond, is so very exciting and we're so grateful to be allowed in the city walls even if it is thrown by a nearly broke school that goes on and throws a cool mill at their head coach. Not that there's anything wrong with that......
So thank you Shaka, mon shaved headed frere. You have picked up where Anthony Grant left off. You both put fine teams on the floor. Kudos to you my good man. I hope we get another shot at the havoc. And I hope you don't hand pick the ref crew of Reggie Jackson and the Rhode Island State Trooper Charlie Baileygates again. Those guys spook me. They're in your pocket, methinks. You put them up at the Jefferson with hookers and fine bourbon? 

Mason has to grow a pair and go after teams. It's simple. Bring the fury and let the chips fall where they may. Go down swinging. There are three players who will do just that- the beast Citizen Copes, Mike Mo, and RP. Passion and intensity. Who else will get PISSED and step up? Stop thinking and freaking PLAY. ATTACK!!!!!There is enough athletic ability and quickness on that team. But is there a WILLINGNESS TO LEAVE IT OUT THERE?? BOTH ENDS OF THE FLOOR???
There will be whistles, TV timeouts and plenty of time to recover. GO HARD!! PRESS!!!!

Good coffee this morning.......   

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Taylormade703 said...

Crutch? It's an unfair advantage. everybody knows that. Otherwise everybody would want to play every game on the road. More fans means more support for their team. And if I fan has to drive 10 minutes vs a Georgia State fan who has to buy airplane tickets, hotel and take vacation from work is hardly equal.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

I still don't understand how the hell this whole thing happened??????

11:02 AM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

Read here:

11:06 AM  
Anonymous StopWearingPurple said...

Throw in a Monday final also.  People may or may not be able to take that day off if their team makes the finals.  Meanwhile all of VCU can just walk over to the final.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

Then why don't they win the CAA Tournament the majority of the time? Have you bothered to actually look at the facts?

11:10 AM  
Anonymous StopWearingPurple said...

Glad to see it.  It keep up my hope (or delusion) that GMU is a leader in sportsmanship.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous StopWearingPurple said...

The first thing I thought of when I read, "The more pressing immediate issue is stopping the opposing team's hot shooter." was the Lamar comeback.

I also feel like we have lived off the uncontested three that misses all year.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

Of course I am not arguing that it is easier for their fans to travel, but fans don't play in the game. Players win basketball games, not the amount of fans you have in the stands. W&M made the finals twice over the last few years and probably had about 100 people there. Mason always loses to VCU so of course our fans want to find an excuse because its easier than admitting that VCU has been the better team when we have played them. Excuses are for losers.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Rmjank said...

That's not exactly conclusive evidence, Christopher, just because VCU doesn't always win it.  Obviously, if the LA Lakers were to play VCU in Richmond, you'd still say the Lakers would win.  So VCU doesn't always win because they don't have the best team, but the understanding is that they do consistently better in the tourney than they ordinarily would, at the expense of other teams.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

What proof do you even have that they do better than they would otherwise? They have been a consistently strong program for the past decade, that is why they do well. The whole point of the thing is to win it right? ODU has won it more than them since it has been in Richmond, why do they seem to be able to overcome such an unfair advantage for VCU? Many conference tournaments actually give teams a true home court advantage on their home floor, would we rather have that? Because, we would be playing at VCU this year since they beat us in the standings.

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Patriot74 said...

Starbucks or caribou coffee?

11:34 AM  
Anonymous HardHead said...

Stop pipe dreaming because this team will not win the CAA Tourney. The team is failing apart at the wrong time and coach h should take full ownership for this late season collapse and the reason for the nose dive is that the team is playing like they are lost which I attribute to coach h. VCU is the forth youngest team in D1 and Shaka is a coach with a plan so if GM can't make a statement this weekend you can rest assure GM may never defeat VCU under coach h tenure. Iike I said 80% of the bloggers on this site knows nothing about the GAME.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Charlie T said...

Thought about a reply then I realized I must be in the 80 percent group. Be so glad to see a scoreboard or to have some one tell me what is going on. Just an average fan but thanks to your comments I guess like myself,the team,the coaches and most of the people on this site we really have to improve just to have a crack at some success. Do hope it happens this weekend if not I will put away the pipe and wait until next year.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Moses said...

It's "fourth" not forth, but then again, you go to VCU where readin', writin', rithmatic' doesn't matter. 

And by the way, Hewitt has already beaten his first season....with a freshman point guard...

You're late for your origami class, run along now.  

3:07 PM  
Anonymous jimp said...

I would like to see Hewitt yell at some guys - he does seem very laid back.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Rmjank said...

Yes, I WOULD rather have a "true home court advantage" where at least a team earns the right to play at home.  Yes, VCU has had a consistently strong program, but my point of course is that the home court makes them even better.  So ... proof?  Well for fun I went to espn archives as far back as I could go, and GMU is 6-3 against VCU at home and 2-7 against them in their gym, and 0-5 against them in the tourney.  That's enough proof for me, but if it's not good enough for you, try looking into, umm, I don't know, try all of sports, where home field/court/rink/younameit advantage is universally recognized, and for good reason.
And, while I'm at it on this here soapbox, let's not forget that having the tourney in Richmond year after year has a long term impact on VCU.  Each year Richmond gets an influx of visitors shelling out money, energizing the city, drawing attention to the tourney and its hometown darling of a team.  Tell me that doesn't give a year-round boost to the program and its fan base.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Rmjank said...

I'm not 100% sure of this because of the camera angles and so forth, but I watched the end of our home game with VCU again last night, and it appeared that after the winning shot, everyone went beserk.... except for Hewitt who didn't even so much as flinch.  That may be good in some respects and bad in others, but it seems to me that in all respects it is a major WOW.

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

I think it means he stays cool under pressure... that is good... the best image was of Sahaka Smart holding his head in disbelief!

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

I went ahead and asked Tony Skinn, who actually played and would know better than any of us. He even said it wasn't a big deal. Is it a slight advantage? Sure, but it's not the reason we lose to them, time to man up and just beat them.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Charlie T said...

Just read the Stats on Both for teams and individuals. Found it interesting. Do think Ryan should be POY based on overall performance.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Rmjank said...

Riiiiiight.  Even if ..... that's one testimonial from a proud player versus loads of evidence.

5:15 PM  

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