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.