George Mason back in action tonight against UMBC

George Mason has a quick turn around from their loss at the Verizon Center on Sunday and hosts UMBC tonight at the Patriot Center. Statistically this is the worst team Mason will face in their non-conference schedule and it would be nice to finally see a decisive blow out. It’s difficult to predict an easy win for the Patriots at this point because they have played down to a lot of competition this season. The Retrievers are allowing an average of 75 points a game from their opponents and actually get to the free-throw line at a less frequent rate than George Mason, so it won’t be a slow game. It’s going to be another one of those, ‘which George Mason team shows up tonight’, but it’s more likely we see the Patriots get back on track in this one.
After tonight’s game, Mason has a tough portion of their schedule: UNI, Richmond, and at South Florida. Those will all be tough tests for this squad and in tonight’s game it would be nice to see them tune up a few areas of their game. For starters, the point guard play has to get better. Neither Bryon Allen or Corey Edwards are dishing out dimes and although they aren’t handing over the ball as frequent as last season, they aren’t making the offense go much either. Sherrod Wright and Patrick Holloway were Mason’s only offensive threats on Sunday against the Terps and they weren’t necessarily being set-up by stellar point guard play.  Wright can create his own shots but few others on the roster are capable of that. Speaking of Holloway, at what point does he crack the starting lineup in place of someone like Anali Okoloji? Paul Hewitt loves Okoloji’s energy and defense but Mason’s offense have sputtered a lot early when he’s on the floor. The 10-12 man rotation Hewitt is currently running probably won’t last and I would personally like to see it at 8-9. I think some of their offensive struggles are due to the erratic rotation changes but this is the point of the season where you start to figure out your ideal lineups, so we’ll just have to see. 
Another area the Patriots should focus on tonight is their shot selection. Perhaps the caliber of their opponent was the main cause for this on Sunday, but it wasn’t the first time we witnessed a poor shooting second half. Too many guys went blank from the field, most notably Bryon Allen and Marko Gujanicic. Johnny Williams had a tough outing against the Terps front court but he won’t face one that tough for the remainder of the season. It’s important they get him more involved in the offense because they are too easy to defend against without a post presence. Erik Copes is starting to come around with his offensive moves and it seems they are less hesitant to throw it in the post to him as well. Mason has a front court advantage over most of the CAA and they need to start making it more of a focus of what they do on offense.
Defensively the Patriots have done well. They forced a ton of turnovers against Maryland and improved on turning them into easy points. Currently they are ranked 24th in the nation in steals per game (7.2). If they continue this trend and start taking smarter shots on offense, they will be a much more dangerous team. Another area they have improved on during their first eight games is rebounding. They held their own against one of the better rebounding teams in the country on Sunday and that is something worth noticing. With Copes back in the lineup they are getting more second chance points and need to capitalize more on that.
  • StopWearingPurple

    Maybe some free Chick-Fil-A tomorrow????

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15607118 Robert Brown

    Chick-Fil-A Sucks!  (This is not a political comment.  I do not like their food.)

  • GMURULES

    How do you feel about Gray. I love the kid, but Holloway is getting his minutes.  I would love to see 2 big’s, wright, holloway and gray in the game.  Thoughts on Gray?

  • gmuhoops

    He’s only really had one good game this year, at Rhode Island. Holloway’s just been more consistent with his minutes and imagine they are going with the hot hand.

  • GMU6

    Well said,you covered it. Real question still is who will get the minutes and how do we get the best production on both ends from whomever is on the court. Our guards have got to get their basketball IQ working. As you said,the next few games really matter as we continue to search for what will work. The potential is there in many places . Bringing it together is the project.

  • gmufan84

    Didn’t we all complain about Larranaga’s 8 man rotation when he was here?  How worn out the team looked at end of game?  Who do you cut from the rotation?  Arledge?  Vaughns? (I know he already sat against MD)

  • gmuhoops

    I have noting against using more than 8 guys, depending on the roster and situation. I’m not big fans of Arledge and Edwards at this point and would rather see more of Gray, Holloway, and Marko. Just my opinion though.

  • gmufan84

    I am definitely not an Edwards fan.  I think he dribbles too much.  I am frankly scared every time he enters the game.  I don’t know who else can run the point when Allen is out.  Arledge is soft, and plays smaller than his height.

    I would really like to see Vertrail get his game together.  

  • Wayne Brown

    The coaching staff must put Holloway and Gray on the floor at the same time.  B.Allen is like a deer in head lights(just don’t know where to go and what to do) and like I said this kid doesn’t make anyone better.  What is his(Allen) assist average…2 or 3 assists per game TOPS and if this coaching staff thinks this is acceptable then we are in for one long roller-coster ride.  This team hands down is the best team in the CAA but with Edwards and Allen at pt. we will have a rough time separating this team from the rest of the CAA pack.  Once again the best starting line up for this team is: Willams,Cope,Wright,Holloway and Gray……PERIOD.  This isn’t calculas or physics…this is basketball…keep it simple.  That line up would be able to score and we can put Holloway and Gray on the pt. at least we will get plenty of BUCKETS. 

  • GMURULES

    Keep in mind that Allen has two game winning shots.  With that said, I love your starting 5.  More of that line up would be GREAT!

  • Wayne Brown

    True!  The team wouldn’t be in that position if the pt. guard play was adaquate.  Allen and Edwards aren’t the right pt. guards for this team…How many fast-breaks pts does the tema have?  You can count on one finger and when Allen is running the fast break…no one gets the ball to finish the fast break…so why is he the pt. guard when I haven’t seen Allen finish a fast break…HE HAS THE WORSE COURT

  • gmubball

    Agree and then Marco and Okolgji off the bench.  Point guards w/ no points, no assists, cannot in bound or break pressure?  Might as well just put the best players on the floor.  Allen might be more effective off the bench.  

    Re: player minutes – interesting to look at player minutes in the Duke / Louisville game (I admit I like to see how Luke is doing) - http://espn.go.com/ncb/boxscore?gameId=323290097 – two very different strategies.