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George Mason Basketball

George Mason Basketball: March 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Recruit Devin Wilson visits George Mason

Early this month we talked about the coaching staff's interest in Devin Wilson, a 2013 point guard prospect from Pennsylvania. The 6'4" Wilson is a dual sport threat, earning high praises in both basketball and football but has decided to stick with hoops at the college level. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette just recently named him their player of the year. So very much like Patrick Holloway, Wilson is a proven winner. In that same article is mentions that Wilson visited George Mason's campus on Thursday:

"Interest in Wilson has increased over the past few months. He visited George Mason Thursday and also is expected to make visits to Western Michigan, Saint Joseph's and Virginia Tech."
Some highlights from his high school career, both basketball and football:


Thursday, March 28, 2013

George Mason will host game 2 of CBI Finals, but not at the Patriot Center

The release just came out and George Mason will be traveling to Santa Clara for game one of the CBI finals. George Mason will host game two and if necessary game three. However, game two on Wednesday night will be held at the RAC. Yes, George Mason is hosting a post-season basketball game at the place the team practices and students play pick-up hoops because the Patriot Center will be holding a "Northern Virginia Regional College Fair" that day. I'm still trying to gather as to whether this could be really cool, because the RAC will be packed to capacity with 1,500 fans, or if this is just plain embarrassing for the program. 


The financial impact of George Mason's 2006 Final Four run

George Mason's Final Four run of 2006 is of course in the news again due to Jim Larranaga and Miami playing in the Sweet 16 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. Besides all the trips down memory lane, I thought it was interesting some for financial numbers being talked about again. Some are comparing the costs for the NCAA tournament travel and other expenses for smaller schools that have made runs because of Florida Gulf Coast's current position. ESPN's Darren Rovell shares some interesting costs that George Mason had to fork over in 2006:

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George Mason is headed to the CBI finals after win over Western Michigan

George Mason took care of Western Michigan last night in the CBI semifinals on the back of Jonathan Arledge's career-high 23 points. They will now face Santa Clara in the best of three CBI finals with the location still TBD. The Patriots played very good defense in this one and limited the Broncos free-throw opportunities, which was a big key heading in. On the other side Mason got to the line a ton and went 24-for-28 from there and controlling the tempo. When they get there at this high a rate they are tough to beat, plain and simple. Bryon Allen continued his excellent month of March scoring, stealing, and dishing out assists. He finished with seven of them in this one and has averaged 7.3 per game in the CBI so far. He has been running the offense more and overall everything looks smoother.

At one point Mason went on an 18-0 with the Broncos going scoreless for nine minutes during that stretch. The outside shots weren't playing for either team but the Patriots got 22 points off the Bronco's 23 turnovers and made them pay at the foul line. It wasn't a pretty game but Mason never lost control and even won the battle in the paint. The confidence this team is showing continues and they are playing better team basketball.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

George Mason - Western Michigan first half highlights


George Mason vs Western Michigan in CBI semifinals

Lost in all the Atlantic 10 news is the fact that George Mason basketball is still playing in the CBI. Tonight they host Western Michigan in the semifinals. The Broncos could pose a few mismatch problems for the problems as they have a very strong inside scoring presence. On top of that Kenpom shows that only five more teams in the entire country got to the free-throw line at a higher rate than Western Michigan this season. That could be a big problem for Mason, who as we have seen, fouls at a very high rate. They were better at keeping it under control against Houston but in this game they will be facing a different kind of offense. Shayne Whittington will give Mason problems inside and Erik Copes and Jonathan Arledge will have to be disciplined and stay out of foul trouble.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Atlantic 10 brings new and better rivalries for George Mason

George Mason has a long history of playing against James Madison but most fans could care less about the rivalry. Especially considering George Mason has dominated the series over the last 13 years. It was fun to play them on a Saturday in a packed Patriot Center and make fun of your old JMU drinking buddies; but they weren't the best games in a pure basketball sense. The move to the Atlantic 10 next season gives Mason the chance to start some new and better rivalries that will be local, fun, and competitive.

Let's take a look at them:

George Mason defeats Houston in OT, will host Western Michigan Wednesday in CBI semifinals

George Mason played one of their better games of the season last night in their overtime win against Houston. The Patriots opened the game on fire with a 15-0 run but you knew Houston, a high-scoring, uptempo team, would make their run to try and get back into it. They started to before the first half ended but Mason did a good job of defending the perimeter and getting to the foul line to slow down the Cougars. Sherrod Wright had 29 points and Houston didn't have an answer for him on defense all night. Bryon Allen continues to have a great March and was two rebounds and one assist short of a triple-double. Freshman Patrick Holloway and Marko Gujanicic logged a lot of minutes, which was good because that's part of the point in playing in the CBI. Both had a few miscues but they were in the game during the critical moments and both helped Mason get the victory.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Dr. Cabrera and Tom O'Connor make the move to the Atlantic 10 official

George Mason president, Dr. Angel Cabrera, couldn't be in Fairfax today due to a prior commitment in Arizona but was he video-conferenced in for the official announcement. Love how the guy is wearing a Nike George Mason polo for this press conference. Basically Cabrera stated that prior decision to pass on the Atlantic 10 last year was before he started at George Mason. In other words, it was Alan Merten who turned it down, not him. Not new information but just something to remember when a lot of people said Cabrera's lack an athletics background might hinder George Mason's department. Clearly they are making moves to strength athletics and the overall brand at George Mason.


George Mason's Atlantic 10 financial ramifications

From the CAA in a press release:
George Mason’s teams in seven spring sports (baseball, men’s golf, women’s lacrosse, women’s rowing, softball and men’s and women’s tennis) will become ineligible for CAA spring 2013 championships.

George Mason will forfeit its projected 2013 conference distribution of approximately $330,000 and future distributions (through 2017 totaling an additional $1.32 million). George Mason will also pay a minimum liquidated damages fee of at least $1,000,000.  Total forfeited funds will be no less than $2.65 million.
If you remember, prior to VCU's departure last May the CAA exit fee was only $250,000. However usually the new conference helps to compensate on those costs.

Comparing CAA vs A10 basketball expenses

With the news officially being announced today that George Mason will be making the move to the Atlantic 10, let's look at the recent basketball spending between schools in both conferences. As it stands now, based on the most recent numbers from 2011, Mason would be ranked 11th in the A10 in basketball spending. That's taking both Butler and Temple out of the equation since they will be gone by the time Mason arrives. The move for the program obviously means that more spending will be necessary to compete in the league and certainly Mason has to be committed to the that by making this move.

Below is a breakdown from the of both the A10 and CAA's spending:

Sunday, March 24, 2013

It's official: George Mason is heading to the Atlantic 10 conference

Finally, after all the rumors and supposed turning down of this opportunity last summer, George Mason will be playing in the Atlantic 10 conference. Both Steven Goff of the Washington Post and Jeff Goodman of CBS are reporting that the official renouncement will come tomorrow. Mason will move immediately on July 1, like VCU did last year, to avoid being a lame duck CAA member like ODU and Georgia State were this season.
For those that think the A10 won't be that great in two years consider this, it's a basketball conference with zero football obligations or aspirations. That alone makes it a good move for Mason's basketball program. The CAA, while known for basketball, is still trying to be a player in college football. George Mason doesn't have football and isn't going to get it, so why not join a conference that is basketball only? Even if Dayton and St. Louis leave, you still have VCU, La Salle (currently in Sweet 16), UMass, George Washington, Richmond, and a hand full of other schools who have a much better basketball history and resources than the likes of the remaining CAA members. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pre March Madness notes

-As soon as the NCAA tournament is over get ready for more A10 talk:
Here's CBS Sports video that says George Mason will be a strong target of the A10

-A former four-star recruit of Paul Hewitt's, Julian Royal, is transferring from Georgia Tech. The 6'8" forward labeled the 69th best prospect by ESPN recruiting back in 2011. If he transferred to the George Mason he would fill a need at the forward spot, both Jonathan Arledge and Johnny Williams would be gone by the time he's eligible. Something to keep an eye on.

-Boise State has been added to the 2013 Diamond Head Classic field that George Mason will be playing in next year in Hawaii. There is still one more team to be added but this makes three teams in the field that made the NCAA tournament along with Iowa State and Saint Mary's.

George Mason will host Houston in CBI quarterfinals game

Last night Houston beat Texas at home 73-72 and will travel to the Patriot Center for a Monday game against George Mason. I watched some of the game and Houston likes to play a fast, uptempo style on offense. They are very athletic and love to attack the rim. If nothing else, this should be a fun basketball game to watch on Monday. They get to the foul line often, which will be problem for Mason like it was against Charleston, and all season. If Mason doesn't come out strong on defense early they might get buried because the Cougars can score in bunches. Once again the Patriots have a chance to try and work to fix on their sloppy fouling ways on defense. The Patriot Center hasn't been a safe haven for Mason this season and they have only won there once in their last five home games. I doubt this game will have the feel of that 2004 NIT game against Tennessee but it's still another Mason basketball game. Hopefully we see another fast start like they did in the first half on Tuesday night for the Patriots. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Late tip-in gets the win for George Mason over Charleston in CBI

Last night's game at Charleston started out very similar to the George Mason's last game against Northeastern. They looked great in the first half, making shots and getting a ton of points off turnovers. However it was more of the same from what we have seen on defense for the Patriots and they spent most of the second half constantly sending the Cougars to the free-throw line. But despite the breakdowns and sloppiness, Mason kept battling back and made a lot of big shots down the stretch. Both Jonathan Arledge and Bryon Allen hit key three-pointers but Mason didn't get the lead back that they squandered until the final tip-in by Erik Copes. It was an impressive night on offense for the Patriots as they finished with 29 points off turnovers and saw all their starters finish in double figures. More importantly they finally won in those black jerseys!

He is a more detailed looked at the final sequence that led to the winning tip-in for George Mason:


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Previewing CBI: George Mason at Charleston

The season continues for George Mason tonight as they are at Charleston for the first round of the CBI post season tournament. Charleston is joining the CAA next season and the Patriots won at this arena just last season. In that game Ryan Pearson shredded the Cougars for 35 points and Mason shot 8-16 from behind the three-point line against their zone defense. Charleston has a much better defense than last season but got blasted in their last game against Davidson in the conference championship. Both teams are coming off disappointing endings to their conference tournament runs and will be looking to end the year on a higher note. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

How to pick your bracket if you're a George Mason fan

Sweet 16

Louisville - St. Louis

Is it ok to root for Luke Hancock? Why did he leave? Why won't you accept my friend requests? God damn you're so deceptively athletic, I can't pick against you. EVER.

Middle Tenn St. - Creighton

Go mid-majors go! Remember when George Mason was that team all BCS bubble school fans hated? This year it's definitely MTSU. 

Wichita St. - Wisconsin

Wow seems like ages ago when Mason beat Wichita State to not only get into the big dance but then advance to Elite Eight. Eh, I'll guess I'll pick them to hand an overrated #1 seed an upset.

New Mexico - Ohio State

I shouldn't pick Ohio State to go this far because I should despise them. But every time I watch them play I say "oh that's what it's like to have a true point guard who runs an offense efficiently and actually plays defense." Touche Buckeyes touche. Also them New Mexico boys ain't bad. They did score eight points in the last 30-seconds against Mason earlier this year.



George Mason to face College of Charleston in first round of CBI

So the 2012-2013 season still goes on for George Mason and they have accepted a bid to the CBI tournament. Remember this isn't the CIT and at least their are BCS programs in the mix. The Patriots take a road trip to future CAA member College of Charleston in the first round of the tournament Tuesday night. The full bracket is here and the game will be televised if you can find the channel on your TV. My FiOS plan has it and here is a channel finder if you dare to watch. On Friday we talked about the merits of continuing the season in this tournament and despite the disappointment of the year I think it's good that they are doing it. 

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Will George Mason play in the CBI or CIT?

Unlike last season, Paul Hewitt is not against playing in one of the third-tier post season tournaments. The idea makes sense, considering everyone is returning next season and a lot of the younger players would benefit from extra reps and practice time. Hosting one of these games will cost the school money though. In the past it typically costs between $30,000 - $60,000 to host a game and would be even more expensive in later rounds of the tournament. It would be interesting to see if George Mason hosted one this year considering how poor recent attendance has been. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Top 10 Plays of the 2012-2013 season

George Mason athletics has put together a 'Top 10 Plays of Year' video for the men's basketball 2012-2013 season. I feel like they are missing a bunch but have a look:

This one might be my favorite:


Monday, March 11, 2013

2013 point guard prospect visiting George Mason

Well the 2012-2013 season is likely over, barring an embarrassing appearance in a third-tier tournament, so now it's on to obsessing about recruiting again. Today's headline is interesting because the Patriots aren't losing any scholarship players to graduation but have a 2013 recruit visiting them soon. Perhaps someone might be transferring or a current player's scholarship might not be renewed, who knows. 

Anyway, the prospect is 6'4" 180-pound point guard Devin Wilson from Pennsylvania. Recently Wilson made the decision to pursue basketball at the college level instead of football. Perhaps his combo of football and basketball skills can help Mason break a press once in awhile if he comes to Fairfax. 


A disastrous but fitting end to George Mason's season

At one point in the first half yesterday George Mason had a built a 31-7 lead over #1 seed Northeastern. Impressive considering how well the Huskies took care of the Patriots during the regular season. Mason came out strong and played solid defense in the beginning, making most say 'where has this been all year?'. But I guess we should have known it was too good to be true. Anyone who has seen this team play this year cannot be surprised by what happened in Richmond yesterday. A team that has for most of the year would have moments where they looked like there in control one moment and than quickly switch to immediate disarray in a blink of an eye. The meltdown was very similar to their 20-point blown lead against Drexel in late January. Despite shooting 64% from the field Mason still managed the epic collapse. How bad was Mason's defense, well Northeastern went on a 26-2 run in less than seven minutes to quickly erase the deficit early in the second half. Later, Mason was up 67-61 and ended up being down 69-67 without taking a shot during that stretch. How does that even happen?

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Saturday, March 09, 2013

George Mason survives against Drexel, moves on to face Northeastern in CAA semifinals

It was a physical game and George Mason survived for the win late with Drexel making a run. Bryon Allen was easily Mason's MVP today and had 16 points but more importantly 6 steals. They were momentum changing steals and we collectively saw Mason play one of their best defensive games of the season. Sherrod Wright came up big and take over early in the second half. He was attacking the rim and getting to the line often. He and Allen were too much to handle for Drexel's back court in the end. The Patriots did a good job on Drexel's leading scorer Damion Lee and didn't let him get going at any point. 

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Friday, March 08, 2013

CAA Quarterfinals Preview: #4 George Mason vs #5 Drexel

So here we are, George Mason's last hope of dancing in the 2013 NCAA tournament. The odds are not in their favor to take home the CAA's automatic bid but the tournament is still pretty wide open. First up for Mason is a quarterfinals match-up with Drexel, whom they split the season series with. Both teams won on the road with Mason getting the most recent victory in Philadelphia. That was actually one of the Patriots better games on defense. They limited the Dragons to under 38% shooting from the field and held Damion Lee to 1-for-5 from behind the arch. They also out-rebounded them and got to the line more; something they will need to repeat again in Richmond.


Thursday, March 07, 2013

Kenpom's computers predict this year's CAA tournament winner

Kenpom is a site dedicated to advanced analysis of college basketball and I reference a lot of the numbers and rankings here. They are now doing their computer projections for each conference tournament and here at the results for the CAA:


Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Can George Mason win the CAA tournament?

Expectations are not exactly riding high right now for George Mason fans entering this weekend's 2013 CAA tournament. I'm sure a lot of fans are finding comfort in the fact that at least Mason won't be eliminated by VCU this year. The question still remains whether or not George Mason can start off fresh in Richmond and take the CAA's autobid for a berth to the NCAA tournament. Their resume is not impressive and their body of work in the CAA is sketchy and inconsistent to say the least. They had real trouble beating the top half of the CAA this season and would most likely have to go through Drexel, Northeastern, and Delaware to win it all. A tough task considering they went 1-5 collectively against those teams.

Here is what they will have to do to win this weekend in Richmond:


Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Listen to Paul Hewitt's weekly teleconference call

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Monday, March 04, 2013

Pairings set for CAA championship bracket: #4 George Mason vs #5 Drexel

George Mason didn't finish the year strong and their loss at Delaware on Saturday dropped them into the 4 vs 5 game of the bracket. Not a favorable match-up as the winner will have to face Northeastern in the semifinals. The game against Delaware was a back and forth affair and Sherrod Wright helped get Mason going early. Mason just couldn't pull it out at the end and lost a hard fought battle. The Blue Hens ended up getting to the line a ton down the stretch and it's the reason why they have won so many close games this year. Devon Saddler and Jarvis Threatt went a combined 18-for-20 from the free-throw line for the Blue Hens. We saw freshman Marko Gujanicic post a career-high 21 points but the Patriots went back to their fouling ways on defense and it killed their comeback efforts.



Friday, March 01, 2013

George Mason at Delaware for regular season finale

Delaware has clinched the #2 seed in the CAA tournament and George Mason can clinch the #3 with a win Saturday or a James Madison loss. As you can see from the projected bracket below the #3 seed is a bit more favorable than the #4 seed. It's very difficult to imagine George Mason winning three games in row next weekend but no one has really looked all that dominate this year in the conference. The favorite Northeastern, has recent losses to UNCW and Delaware and needed overtime to beat Georgia State on Wednesday night. Delaware is probably the hottest team right now and have won six of their last seven. Their only loss during that stretch was a one-point decision against James Madison and all the rest were either one or two point games. 


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