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

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

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.

We saw the Patriots fight in this one, even late, but it just wasn't enough. They have an uphill climb if they want to grab that CAA autobid next weekend but that has been no secret for awhile now. The fundamentals are still killing this team, especially on defense. They struggle to make stops at key moments in the game and it's been holding back their offense all season. Different scorers seems to step up every night but the same doesn't happen on defense.

Vertail Vaughns had a season-high 16 points but Patrick Holloway, who had been hot recently played only four minutes. A perfect end to a season of weird rotations. It begs the question of why this was never stabilized at any point this year. A shorter rotation may have also helped on defense because it certainly seemed like nothing else was working.

The sad part in all this is that George Mason doesn't seem to be any better at this point in the season. The moments where the team looks in disarray are still there but we also see bursts of talent. I don't think this team has a talent shortage but I do think they just don't play well together. That may not all be Paul Hewitt's fault but finding a system that works for this group of players is his responsibility.



Anonymous gmufan84 said...

There is certainly talent on this team, however, I would say that when Mason steps on the court most days, they are not clearly the more talented team. When they play Drexel on Saturday, I would say that the talent level is fairly even. And the way Sherrod is playing, the best player on the court is usually on the other team, as it will be on Saturday.

While I don't think Hewitt is blameless, I will reiterate, that this team is not nearly as talented as I thought they would be. There are more disappointments than surprises for sure.

I am not sure what has happened on Defense lately. This team cant catch a break, they improve offensively, then start giving up 80pts a game... I can't figure them out.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous StopWearingPurple said...

Let us review the events of this weekend:

- GMU finishes an underwhelming regular season with an underwhelming loss to Delaware
- Coach L goes into a revenge game for Duke in their house and almost completes the sweep
- VCU plays on ESPN and destroys #20 Butler
- JMU wins and leaps out of the dreaded Northeastern slot in the CAA bracket

One of these things in not like the others…

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

Inconsistency usually traces to poor coaching...

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Rick Jank said...

I'd say you are in the minority as far as seeing the problem as a talent issue. I think we rely a lot on talent offensively -- after all our game plan and offensive setups do not themselves result in success very much. And on defense where it's not as much a matter of talent as cohesion and fundamentals (and surely most young guys grow up focusing on their offense), the ineptitude is glaring, and this reflects coaching.

As for Sherrod, I tend to agree. One has to wonder whether the pressure of being The Man has gotten to him some (reminiscent of Cam Long). Ditto the talk of him being in the running for POY. I wish the "different player stepping up every game" situation had blossomed a little earlier in the season because the more opponents have to become aware of other players, the less pressure on Sherrod and the more he can take advantage of openings. But I still think there may be something physically wrong with him -- when's the last time we saw him knifing up the lane and to the rim with any consistency? He got his shot going early against the Hens but disappeared for a large part of the second half.

And, while we're on the subject, it's worth mentioning that it's a tough situation for a coach to come to rely on a "The Man" player only to have that player falter for whatever reason. So I'll give Hewitt that, but with a reminder that the best coaches adapt to these things and find another way. One can only hope that we come up with effective tweaks to the game plan in time for the tournament. A more realistic goal is that over spring and summer the coaching staff can rethink what they are doing with this team. Assuming we don't find a way to fire Hewitt, which I think remains the best course.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Matt Miles said...

Consistently Inconsistent is the way this season played out!

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Collin Agee said...

Very disappointing the way the last two games concluded: (1) Scored two points in overtime against Towson. (2) Blew a ten point lead (five points with just 2:14 remaining) to lose by five versus Delaware.
This young team has not learned how to finish games, and progress has not been evident during the season. Does not bode well for the playoffs.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous BP99 said...

these things arent really related soooo...

5:11 PM  
Anonymous BP99 said...

everything can be traced to our AD. and the Board who clearly cares nothing for athletics in general. The people in charge of Mason have no desire to improve athletics, and this will continue for many years. Sorry everybody, things are not going to get better. Maybe if O'Connor leaves and we get a committed AD things can improve.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous StopWearingPurple said...

Well the JMU reference was a bit of a stretch (hey I needed four items to be faithful to the Sesame Street bit) but the other two are pretty obvious. Our former Final Four coach and the former CAA program that went to the Final Four continue to prosper and move forward while our illustrious program appears to be regressing.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Monèt Sutton said...

What exactly defines a team as young?

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Rick Jank said...

The contrast between what VCU and GMU each did with their Final 4 appearances could not be more evident. And sickening. VCU capitalized on their success; GMU took the money and ran.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Ric Andersen said...

I'd rather play Northeastern in round two than Delaware. NE is somewhat slumping, while the Blue Hens are peaking.

2:58 PM  

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