Atlantic 10 tournament preview: George Mason vs Fordham

rp_primary_Frazier_GMU

George Mason opens the Atlantic 10 tournament tonight against Fordham, the conference’s basement dweller that beat the Patriots back in January. The winner takes on Dayton who is the 5 seed tomorrow afternoon. If you remember in their previous meeting George Mason allowed Fordham’s Branden Frazier to score 22 points in the second half after going scoreless in the first. The team also didn’t have much of answer to counter the Rams’ star freshman Jon Severe. Turnovers were a huge problem as well as Fordham scored 19 points off the Mason’s 13 turnovers that night.

Mason can handle Fordham tonight if they concentrate on limiting the unforced errors and winning the free-throw battle. If they keep rebounding the ball well on both ends, like they did recently against La Salle, and score in the paint consistently, they should be in that next round game against Dayton. But yes those are all big “ifs”.

Mason has desperate seniors who don’t want to go out in the play-in game of their last conference tournament. Problem is Sherrod Wright and Bryon Allen are not without fault this season and have collectively forced a ton of errors. At this point they both have had enough experience to know you have to make better decisions in games like this.

The supporting cast has been spotty all season but it’s certainly time for Marko Gujanicic and Patrick Holloway to step up again. Both of those guys will be in the running for starting positions next season and will be heavily relied on for scoring production. However both have also struggled on defense this year.

It’s the conference tournament and sure anything could happen but Mason’s lack of mental toughness this season and complete collapses on defense don’t have me believing they can string together more than two wins this week.

  • Theresa Dawson

    Right now I’d be happy with two wins in A-10 tournament. Make my trek to Brooklyn oh so kuch better. :)

    • GMUPATS74

      I admire your dedication to the team, but to trek up to NYC to watch this team is something I wouldn’t venture to do. Even watching games at Patriot Center this season wasn’t fun.

  • Theresa Dawson

    *much*

  • GaMoo79

    Frankly, at this point, I’ll settle for beating Fordham.
    I can’t believe I had to say that. Sigh.

    • Matt Cerilli

      I agree GaMoo79. Just beat Fordham and play Dayton tough and I will be happy that this miserable season is over.

  • Daniel Wu

    is the A10 network airing of the play in tournament game free?

    • gmuhoops

      Yes I believe so

  • dsnjd1

    I’ve been around for every coach since Lynn…..Harrington, Barnes, Nestor, Westhead, Larranga and Hewitt. The last time I felt this way….a weird combination of disappointment and apathy was seventeen years ago when Paul Ball failed. Does any body see the parallels between Hewitt and Westhead?: Trying to run a system that requires a certain type of talent, that we don’t, and won’t ever consistently attract enough of level to succeed on a consistent basis. Heck this guy had similar problems in his last job, attracting that talent to an ACC school, that caused them to eat several million bucks to get rid of him. How many years are left on his contract? On the bright side maybe the gals down at RPI will be facing the problem of finding a new coach after Shaka takes BCS money and flees Richmond for more lucrative pastures. One can only hope.

    • GMUPATS74

      Wow dsnjd1 if you’re hoping on Shaka’s leaving to save us we TRULY have floundered.

      • dsnjd1

        Shaka’s departure is the ONLY WAY will we compete with VCU, I am afraid. Shaka is “Dean Smith”, to our modern day “Lefty Driesell”: “Paul Hewitt”. There are so many similarities that it is scary.

        • GMUPATS74

          I still say you need the right players too, but yes it doesn’t look good.

    • GaMoo79

      Yeah, I’ve been around that long too. I remember Barnes coming back to GMU after some time here as an assistant and saying how great it was to be home. Guy stays one year and bolts for Clemson. Liar.

      • dsnjd1

        As I recall, Barnes was pegged as a future coaching super-star so when he jumped to Providence of the Big East it was unexpected, but who is going to stand in his way, going at arguably (then) one of the top conferences in the Nation. But, it was a definite slap in the face to the program. He left Clemson after a few years too, to go to Texas, where I guess he is considered a lifer after a Final Four a few years ago, and I understand a rather large petro-dollar funded contract. He had a bad season I think year, losing in the first round of the same alphabet soup tournament that Mason played-in.

  • dsnjd1

    Lest we forget that Mason also signed Roy Williams, after Rick Barnes (who I used to see all the time at the “P.E. Building” as Joe Harrington’s assistant), who was talked out of taking the Mason job by Dean Smith himself, who thought Williams was overly anxious to get a D-1 coaching position and counseled Williams to hold-out for a “better job”, and Mason ended-up with Ernie Nestor.

    • GaMoo79

      How well I remember. But, turned out Dean was right.

      • dsnjd1

        Yeah, I’ll say. Ernie Nestor, a very decent human being I am sure, has bounced around in the coaching profession, winning actually winning his conference coach of the year in 06′ at Elon, only to be eventually fired and is now an assistant at Navy at age 67! Now he looks like an older and thicker version of his early nineties self when he was at Mason

        • GaMoo79

          Yeah, I’ve seen him on TV sitting on a few benches myself. Nice guy. Must have something to offer. Didn’t realize he was that old.