Previewing the BB&T Classic against Oklahoma

George Mason will try to rebound from a loss against South Florida this weekend as they take on Oklahoma in the BB&T Classic. At the Verizon Center Sunday they will be facing the best offense they have seen this season. Oklahoma scores a ton of points and plays a very uptempo style. They’ve only lost to Michigan State so far this season and scored more than 78 points in all but one game. They get to the rim and inside the paint often, exactly what USF did to Mason. They can’t beat the Sooners straight up if it turns into a run and gun type game. Mason has a better chance in the half court set, slowing things down, getting some points from Marko inside and hitting outside shots.

We will really see what this year’s team is made of on Sunday. The loss to USF was a killer because of how it ended. A player got suspended and they lost on a last second shot to a team they were handling for the majority of the time. It was a tough loss mentally for them and they need to be tougher in those situations.

Rebounding is a big key here as Oklahoma doesn’t dominate in the front court. It was interesting how little Jalen Jenkins played in the last game considering how well he did on defense and the boards against URI. I’d expect him to play a lot in this one. Also, Erik Copes needs to stay in the game and be careful with the fouls.

Mason will have to attempt to dictate the flow of this game in order to win. They get to the line more than Oklahoma and have to connect on free-throws when they do. Marquise Moore returns so that may give them a lift on offense, but they need to be smart with their possessions. Early three-point misses are easy Oklahoma points in this one and they need to challenge them in the paint to win.

Kenpom prediction: OKLA 78 GMU 75 (Mason with a 38% chance of winning)

  • GMU Down Under

    Reality check … this is George Mason not Kentucky, UNC, etc. Please stop calling for Hewitt to
    go, he is our Coach. The school is not going to fire him or find anyone with better credentials to come here. Get behind him and the team… let’s review what has he done to date? Two twenty win seasons, not bad. He is currently 50-27 overall for a .649 winning percentage, also not too bad. (Coah L’s had a .625).

    • G-n-G

      Thanks to you and Daniel for providing some perspective. For additional reference, Coach L was 28-29 after 2 seasons at Mason and didn’t have his first 20-win season until his 7th year.

      http://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/coaches/jim-larranaga-1.html

      • Matt Cerilli

        Ok these are pretty invalid points in my opinion. Sure, Coach L didn’t have his first 20 win season until his 7th year, but that was all pre Final Four run. Don’t you all expect better and for Mason to have taken that next step after we made the Final Four??? Look at Butler, look at VCU. They have both gone in the right direction since their runs. What has Mason done? If you want to call the win vs. Villanova a nice win for the program I will definitely agree, but besides that I can’t think of a damn thing. Sure Hewitt has definitely won games since coming here, but what quality opponent have we beaten since he started coaching?

    • Ryan Cioppa

      What about the fact that we’re completely under-performing with a veteran squad this season? This season, despite the move to the A10, was supposed to be really solid. We won’t even come close to making the NIT. Next season will be even worse, not sure how we’ll score the ball next year. Four years with no NCAA appearances….that’s pretty bad. Unless, you’re okay with twenty win season and playing in the CBI every year…..nice.

      • Daniel Wu

        Again its early in the season still. Still time to get thier “expletive” together. But you do raise a good point. Umass and Dayton returned most of thier key vets too. Mason is also returning most of thier vets this season. Umass and Dayton are doing very well. Mason ehhh.
        In the end winning games solves most problems. Losing means everyones starts pointing fingers with Hewitt being pointed at the most. The game is starting soon. Sit back and watch and lets see what happens.

        • G-n-G

          Good points, all. One difference is that Mason returned much of a CAA-level team, unlike UMass and Dayton. One player they did not return was the guy–Arledge–expected to be their best player. They’re probably still working Copes into shape.

          One heartening thing to me is that if I ask who are the players with the highest basketball IQs it’s Marko, Jalen, and Marquise–all guys that Hewitt brought in. Sherrod is the most talented guy on the roster but lacks a killer instinct (before last season Hewitt said his one problem was that Sherrod was just too nice). BA has that instinct but lacks Sherrod’s overall skill level. All players have flaws and those two are wonderful players, but their flaws are deep enough to limit the team’s two most important players. I think Mason will be just fine next year.

  • Daniel Wu

    Large majority of the A10 teams on Dec. 7 lost against thier opponents. Not end of the world for Mason to turn things around.