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George Mason's chances of playing in the NIT are slim

George Mason Basketball: George Mason's chances of playing in the NIT are slim

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

George Mason's chances of playing in the NIT are slim

The Patriots are now playing the waiting game and seeing what unfolds this week in college basketball to see if they will have a shot at the NIT or one of the third tier tournaments. Depressing, I know. However, don't think that the NIT is a lock for the team this year. The NIT gives autobids to teams that finished in first place in their conferences but don't make the NCAA tournament. So for instance Drexel would be given an autobid to the NIT if they don't get an at-large on Selection Sunday and Valparaiso lost in their championship last night and will get an autobid to the NIT. Every time this happens throughout the week it reduces George Mason's chance of being selected to the field. 

Currently George Mason's RPI is 79 (SOS 180) and their record is 24-9 (14-4 CAA). This article from a newspaper in Iowa shows the background of the last year's NIT qualifiers.
There were 18 at-large teams that qualified for the NIT. Here were their resumes (overall record, conference record, RPI) entering the 2011 postseason:

Alabama: 21-11, 12-4, 80
New Mexico: 22-13, 8-8, 66
UTEP: 25-9, 11-5, 59
Miami (Fla.): 19-14, 6-10, 73
Colorado: 21-13, 8-8, 65
California: 17-14, 10-8, 76
Ole Miss: 20-13, 7-9, 83
Colorado State: 19-12, 9-7, 50
Boston College: 20-12, 9-7, 58
Northwestern: 18-13, 7-11, 87
Wisconsin-Milwaukee: 19-13, 13-5, 92
Oklahoma State: 19-13, 6-10, 61
Harvard 23-7, 12-2, 35
Washington State: 19-12, 9-9, 82
Virginia Tech: 21-11, 9-7, 62
Wichita State: 24-8, 14-4, 60
Nebraska: 19-12, 7-9, 89
Dayton: 22-13, 7-9, 70

Of the 18 at-large teams, 11 came from the six power conferences (Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, SEC, ACC, Pac-12). The average RPI was 74. All of the at-large schools (except Harvard) were seeded fifth or higher. Of the 11 power-conference schools, only two (Ole Miss, Nebraska) didn’t host first-round games.
With a lot of mid-majors taking up bids automatically the committee doesn't seem like they are itching to give out more to others. Keep in the mind this tournament wants to make money like any other and BCS teams with less impressive profiles are still going to get in for TV ratings. This is another factor that hurts Mason's chances of being in the field.

As for the CIT and CBI tournaments, it is unclear whether or not the school would agree to pay to play in either once of those. Remember when they paid to host that disaster against Fairfield in 2010 CIT, which was the largest comeback by any team in March in Division I basketball history. Schools have to pay to host these tournament games, and as Ed Miller of the Virginia-Pilot notes the 24-team CIT's fee is $30,000 per game and the 16-team CBI is $35,000 for a first-round game, $50,000 for second, and $75,000 for the semifinals. With Mason's attendance down this season I really wonder if they will even consider paying to host one of these, especially when that CIT game against Fairfield only drew 2,062 fans to the Patriot Center.

UPDATE: AD Tom O'Connor says school won't pursue CIT or CBI tournament:

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Anonymous RubberBallsandLiquor said...

Ugh. . . a slight hat tip to DG cannot be that difficult, that is unless you like having that argument over and over again.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous AndyMinor said...

I don't think it's as bleak as you outline here.  NIT-ology had us as a lock as of Saturday, and many of their top teams are now getting at-large bids.  An at-large for Drexel would certainly help us, along with NC State, who is firmly on the bubble and could sneak in to the NCAA with strong play in the ACC tournament.  I think at this point I'd be worried about strong play from NIT Bubble teams like Pitt and Cleveland state than I would auto-NIT bids coming from weaker conference champions not earning their NCAA bids.  After all, South Dakota State really stepped it up last night.  I think the next NIT-ology update will tell us a lot, but all hope isn't yet lost.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

NIT-ology LOL, that kid knows nothing more than you and me.

11:39 AM  
Anonymous AndyMinor said...

He's at least taken the time to think things out logically and put them in a place where I can see and read them.  This team is going to be so young next season; they need to play a little bit more.  I'm still gonna wait and see.  Post season or bust.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

I wonder if he introduces himself as an NITologist. Its only a slight step up from being a Woman's Bracketologist.

I would like to see us in some type of postseason, just so maybe Ryan can go out a little better, and the team can hopefully play a few more games together.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

Pitt will definitely get an NIT invite, a few years ago North Carolina went 17-16 and was a 4 seed in the NIT. Power conference get priority. Hofstra finished third in the CAA last year and the NIT didn't take them.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

Only reason to watch CIT or CBI is to see the seniors play once more, but I'm really ready for the season to be over. Plus this group seemed to have trouble getting motivated for games all season and I wouldn't want to see another Fairfield disaster. 

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

Unfortunately I was one of those 2,062 fans that was there live for the collapse against Fairfield. What an abomination that game was.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Patriot74 said...

Dont know why an CBI/CIT bid would be so bad. I would think that it could only help. Besides any chance at a  postseason championship is better than sitting out the postseason. By the way, I think this team is better than the Mason squad that lost to Fairfield 2 seasons ago.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

I don't agree with anything you just said here.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Charlie T said...

I did not go to the Fairfield game. I wonder if the comments then were as they are now. Oh well things do happen. Has to always be the Coaches fault at least that seems to be the message in several of the comments. I hope we do receive a NIT shot but will understand if we do not. The NIT always reminds me of how old I am since at one time it got more attention then the NCAA. If nothing happens and we do not play another game thanks for the site. It is very seldom that I am told I am 80 percent of anything and I have to give softhead credit for that.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Patriot74 said...

Just giving my honest opinion. Not trying to step on anyone's toes.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

No you aren't stepping on anyone's toes, just saying I don't agree. I'm sure a lot of mason fans share that view.

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Patriot74 said...

Of course. But one thing we can all agree on is Mason rules!!!

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Gumby69467 said...

The NIT is purely a money making entity. GMU has a large on campus arena, which will get the selection committee's attention.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Ptrzem said...

VCU won the CBI in Shaka's first year. They went to the Final Four the next year. Not saying it is directly related but it can't hurt to get more games in with young players and a coach in his first year at the school.

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Ryan, I am surprised!   More play is never a bad thing, they get to continue practicing-that can't hurt.  They get to play together against another team-that can't hurt.  They get a chance to bounce back no matter the level-can't hurt us!  I was at the Fairfield give away, it was hard to watch but I also think we were cocky and arrogant with the big lead and too stupid to stop one guy from making 3 after 3.  Cam sat out that game b/c he skipped practice, he played great as a senior, maybe watching that provided some growth in terms of leadership!  Might as well extend the season any way we can, it's better than going home and not playing together.  

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Guest said...

 But who would attend?  Hardcore fans would, and fans of our opponent, but other than that?

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Guest said...

 I disagree.  Playing more games together doesn't make you better.  Playing more games together THE RIGHT WAY makes you better.  Having hustle, intensity, an actual game plan is needed.  If not, then it's just running around for running around's sake.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous baller said...

No offense to anybody...if there is an NIT bid...I would say yes...other than that...time to pack the bags and call it a season.  

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Patriot74 said...

It looks like that is the likely scenario since our AD officially ruled out the CBI/CIT. Still. I'm hanging on to hope that the Basketball Gods have at least one more game coming to us. A fan can dream...cant he?

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Gumby69467 said...

That is all the NIT gets, hardcore fans.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

The 2004 Mason NIT games v Tenn. and Austin Pea were two of the craziest games I have ever seen at the Pat. Center.  The crowd was electric the whole time.  Maybe that we before Final Four Kool-aid but I think a Mason NIT run would still be of interest.  

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

So does this mean you think our current coaching staff will just have us running around until he leaves?  I think we all waited for a change in hustle, intensity, game plan through out the season and didn't see enough of it.  I haven't given up on what the team (coaches included) can do.  I'm skeptical but would like to see them continue to work.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

What was different about the CIT two years ago?  Why did VCU bother with the CBI?  I'm not saying it's not a lot of money but if we are serious about keeping this program solid how was Larranaga able to do it and now Hewitt is not?  

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Moses said...

Anything but the NCAA is just to get the bench more pt, and I bet these guys are all sick of playing at this point and want to get their chill on. Personally, the only hoops I'll be watching will be the dance and I hope Bruiser's boys get in. 

Not to hijack the thread but as a long time season ticket holder and "student" from back in the day, I want this program to move to the A10, play a tough early road schedule (where they might go .500 so what), and have a legit shot at top 25 every year. I know there are those here who think this can't happen, but lesser schools from a campus, academics, and resources standpoint get it done, get established as a year in, year out, high level basketball school. I think the CAA is generally a tough conference and damn good D1 basketball, but we can do better. The national name is still there and the talent is good and can be even better with focused recruiting. 

Excited about next year but we need guard play that can feed the bigs (we have some bigs) and spot up for 3's consistently.

Thanks, Ryan. Great blog.    

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Mooky_l3d said...

I don't think that playing more is a bad thing I think that O'Conner coming out saying that it is not financially a good idea is a bad thing.  That shows that there is not the support for this team from the Admin. or Hewitt doesn't have the same fight as Coach L.  Maybe Hewitt is trying to recruit more than he had a chance to last off season.  Whatever happens I will support them I will not support any other CAA school.  It is GMU or nothing. 

9:27 AM  
Anonymous rosswill said...

Now that this season is over the questions are whether we got 24 wins mostly through player  talent despite the coach or did the coach get more out of this team than was expected? I believe that Hewitt is living up to his reputation as a weak coach and a good recruiter.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Rmjank said...

I agree about the O'Connor thing.  To have him come out against post season play as not cost effective ... makes the bile rise in my throat.  He didn't invest much in the program (eg the improvements he promised Larranaga) even when they were cost effective.  It makes me want a game all the more, to make him open his wallet for a change.  The difference between what the brass at vcu is doing for their school and what ours is doing for ours is alarming.  So, TOC, all the money you saved by not making the improvements and for letting coach L go, you can afford to treat your players and fans to an extra game or two.  Or will that be yet another thing the vcu folks did for their school that we didn't do for ours??!!!

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Well if your right were in for a long few years.  Maybe in the NBA you can get away with talent without good coaching thought last years Heat and this years Lakers spit on that theory but I'm pretty sure in college a well disciplined, fundamental team has more longevity.  I hope Hewitt can get it done, we'll just have to wait and see.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous BP said...

I know we play in the CAA, but we have a better conference record than 16 of those 18 teams did, and a better overall record than 15 of them, along with an RPI better than 6. Drexel looks like they'll be joining VCU in the big dance which improves our odss. CAA doesn't get much love, and after this season i'm not sure we deserve it, but I have hope we'll get in!

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Guest said...

We went without a game plan, or game plan execution, for 35 games.  What says it will "magically" happen in game 36?

4:50 PM  
Anonymous John234152 said...

 Like them or not, VCU is actually investing in their basketball program.  We built a new parking deck.  And thanks for letting Coach L go.  Ahhhhh!!!!!!! 

And if we have another season like this next year there will be one less booster and one less season ticket holder.  Most GMU fans are too classy to say anything, but this season was far from a success.  11 months ago we were talked about being top 25 pre-season, and now we'll be in the NIT if we're lucky.  I know, new coach, lost players, yada yada yada.  But we have insane talent, and teaching fundamentals is the same if you recruited them or somebody else, that doesn't matter.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Guest said...

I'll put our bigs up against anybody in the conference.  Copes is a stud, Arledge has no fear, Paris is old school, and Johnny Williams is going to be solid and then some!

5:21 PM  
Anonymous taylormade703 said...

On a lighter note, what players are going to be on the picture on the top of the page next year?  My vote is for Sherrod and Vertrail.

5:25 PM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

Haven't decided yet, open to suggestions

7:34 PM  
Anonymous jim said...

Hope we make the NIT.  On the surface staying out of the CIT/CBI it makes financial sense after only drawing 2,000 in the 2010 CIT.  I did see that ODU has committed to playing in either of those tourneys and would be willing to host a game.   The ODU AD said they'd need a crowd of 4,000 to break even.  They're making a smart move and only charging $10/$8 to get in.  Did Mason lower ticket prices for their CIT games? 

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Moses said...

Chris Fleming?

7:57 PM  
Anonymous taylormade703 said...

 Riley Trone?  GC Marcachinni?  Jason Williams? (yes, we too, had a Jason Williams at one point).

But in all seriousness, what about an old school deal with Andre Gaddy and Kenny Sanders?

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Mooky_l3d said...

How about a collage of many of the past greats and current players-Wright, Aldridge, Williams?, Copes

8:54 PM  
Anonymous jim said...

Sherrod Wright for sure.   Only guard that is deserving at this point.  (though if he doesn't average 15 next year take him down)  Can't go wrong with the 3 forwards mentioned by Mooky.

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

For those of you that can't remember the Jason Williams days it was during the no game plan days of Paul Westhead.  This team was so undisciplined if the crowd chanted Jason Williams he would just sopt up and take a 3!  the next year he was off the team after being busted with a lot of weed!

Masthead-Copes posted up on Gunston!

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Rmjank said...

I'd say look at the pics you have, and whichever ones show players with grit and determination, fire in the belly, use them.  We need encouragement!

10:23 PM  
Anonymous ChemistCorner1 said...

I would very much like if you had my picture up

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Champy89 said...

Not sure why we'd have to offer $30,000 to host a game.  Is it possible volunteer as strictly a road team ?  Would that cost anything ?  I don't know.  This must've been discussed on the CAA Zone msg boards, but don't have time to read them any more.  Too many garbage posts to wade through to find the useful info. 

8:11 AM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

You must have to agree to host if you advance in the tournament or something. Because what if you keep winning, you might have to host at some point. I doubt they will let teams just be strictly road teams. They need to lock down venues.

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Moses said...

Jason Miskiri, our last real point guard.

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

Mahan Konate.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Mooky_l3d said...

really like! Skin wasn't to shabby either

12:00 PM  
Anonymous worldbeater said...

I agree. If it's really 30k to host a game to get 2k fans, it's a waste. ODU has never made any noise in the NCAAs and has never been to the Final Four; of course their fans would love to see them in ANY postseason tourney. 

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Moses said...

Myron Conte !!!! I played against him. I think he was 32 as a senior.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous taylormade703 said...

Jordan Baird.  Say what you want about our press break, but we definitely had the most musically talented walk-on in the CAA!

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Coolhead said...

Received season ticket holder info on GMU hosting or road for NIT today!

9:29 PM  
Anonymous baller said...

Myron Contee could flat out play...great leader...great floor general...great assist guy....great leaper.  He and Carl Jackson...and Herb Estes rocked!

10:37 PM  
Anonymous baller said...

Gotta say what I think, fans.  I think, looking at the VCU youth, success, and recruits...GMU will be second tier for a while in the CAA.  Now, by second tier, I mean GMU can finish second or third in years to follow, but VCU is getting the recruits.  Love GMU ball...but, it is what it is.  Better hope the other teams, like ODU and UNCW...don't get their mojo back.  Maybe time to forget about invites to the big dance and focus on getting better recruits.  Also, GMU had a very, very weak schedule this year.  You kidding me?  Look at the teams they played.  They may lose, but they gotta get with the big dogs.  Out.

10:51 PM  
Anonymous Coolhead said...

Second tier means middle of the pac team below 6th place and second place would be first tier. VCU is living off defensive gimmics which will be solved and their front court is soft! VCU will be one and done in the NCAA! 

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Dsndsn said...

NEWS FLASH:A little off the topic, but  ESPN Reports that Illinois is interested in Shaka Smart. Would he be stupid enough to turn down TWO big contracts with BCS schools to stay at VCU? Will VCU lose a third straight coach to a BCS school?

2:03 AM  
Anonymous Dsndsn said...

How about Mason v. Univ. of Miami in the NIT first round at Patriot Center?

2:22 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Copes v Johnson would be a great challenge for Copes to see in his freshman year, it would be fun to watch! and worth the experience.  Miami still has a bubble shot but their latest suspension can't help them!

VCU's press is not a gimmick, it's solid full court defense that a respectable teams should not turn the ball over to 4 times in 91 seconds!  Much as I hate the Rams, Smart is a good coach with a young team.  The gave up big leads in both the semis and the final but they play with fire, didn't we all want to see some of that from our guys this year?

Don't forget Smart signed a huge deal so that will have to be dealt w/ by any perspective team.  Who'd he turn down last year?  Can't remember.

8:39 AM  
Anonymous taylormade703 said...

I think it was NC State.  Personally, I think VCU is a better job than Illinois, but Smart is from the midwest if I remember right, so maybe.  I kind of don't think he'll go, but Illinois has more money than VCU, so we'll see.

I would like to see a "gimmick" defense for GMU.  Better yet, I would take a "gimmick" press break in a second. 

Johnson is suspended.  Considering the had suspended players and Coach L was greeted by sanctions the second he got to Miami they had a pretty good season.

Considering what he did with Morrison, how soon until the "Roland Houston Fan Club" starts? :)  I would argue we have the best big man coach in the conference.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous taylormade703 said...

I know it doesn't really relate to this board, per se, but big props to the GMU Women's team.  They went 15-16, which is respectable.  They have almost quadrupled their win total from 3 seasons ago. 

9:31 AM  
Anonymous baller said...

That is why I explained "second tier"...sixth place and below, I don't even address.  To me, where Mason has been, if they start being the bridesmaid and not the bride...than, to me, as I explained..that is second tier.  VCU gonna be hard to keep up with.  

2:13 PM  
Anonymous baller said...

Gotta give VCU a bunch of of the youngest of 300 D-1 teams in the country...yet, they set a school record for wins and won the CAA.  Next year...oh, my.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous baller said...

You are correct coolhead...second tier does mean bottem half...I could have chosen better verbiage.  I am referring to the fact that I don't want to see GMU start slipping down two or three spots.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Scott their Guard is suspended.  Johnson is the 6'10 284 C.

Coach L passed on NC State too if memory serves.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Matt K. said...

 Sherrod, Copes, and Anali or Johnny

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Olivia Valentine said...

Uh, the Green Machine? :) ;) 

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Taylormade703 said...

 Yeah, have a pic of Doc Nix!!!

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Honolulu Jeff said...

If I had any influence over the Mason program I would encourage them to inform the NIT that they need not ever consider GMU for any future NIT tournaments.  The NIT has now made the point that GMU @ 24-9 with a win over VCU is not one of the top 100 teams in the nation.  The NIT is a joke, so please reject any future invitations to this silly group of morons.

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Jmckend1 said...

Hewitt recruits well too, and it was a rough year with a bunch of guys having to learn a new system. Things can be different next year. VCU I believe is also losing two top players.

4:14 PM  

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