While it was disappointing to not see George Mason advance further in the Atlantic 10 tournament after a much improved season. However, there will still be more basketball played as the team will play in the CBI tournament. Mason will host Loyola (MD.), a 15-16 team from the Patriot League, on Wednesday night. Dave Paulsen certainly has familiarity with the Greyhounds from his Bucknell days. Also in the field is Revolutionary Rival and fellow A-10 foe George Washington. GW, Toledo, and San Francisco appear to the only real threat to Mason in this tournament so hopefully they can get to the finals again like they did in 2013. Will there be another game at the RAC?
The full bracket can be found here and if I remember correctly from four years ago I think there will be some re-seeding that occurs after the first or second round of games.
Playing in this tournament has proven over the years to provide great experience to younger teams and help they improve on the following season. It worked out well Nevada, who won this tournament last season and Vermont who were in the semifinals. Both of those teams are in the NCAA tournament this year:
Vermont and Nevada both turned 2016 CBI runs into 2017 NCAA Tournament bids.@MasonMBB can gain a lot from this experience.
— Mark LaFrance (@GoMasonSID) March 13, 2017
Dave Paulsen mentioned last night how much he values the experience for his 11 freshmen and sophomores:
“Our ultimate goal is to play in the NCAA tournament but the CBI is a quality tournament that allows us to continue to work with our young team. The CBI has served as a springboard to NCAA success in the past, evidenced again this year by [2017 NCAA Tournament Team] Nevada, the champions of last year’s CBI. We want to continue to expose our 11 freshmen and sophomores to pressure basketball while giving our outstanding seniors their first taste of post-season basketball.”
Unlike in 2013, this tournament certainly doesn’t feel like a small consolation bracket as Mason is building to be a future NCAA tournament team and is on the right path. With no seniors on the team next year, every each game will help get these guys ready to compete at a high level. It’s also great to continue to watch Jalen Jenkins and Marquise Moore compete.