George Mason will play in the CBI, host Loyola (MD) Wednesday night

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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.

CBIB

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:

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.

  • Michael Nagy

    Does anyone know if the opening round games will be televised? I saw that the finals are on ESPNU.

    • Days of Yates

      Looks like only the A10 Network ($) so far.

  • Gamoo79

    A couple of thoughts:
    1) When we went to the CBI in 2013, we were a missed put back from winning the thing. Not huge, but it would have made for a nice banner in the rafters.

    2) If Hewitt hadn’t been our coach, it might have very well been a springboard to an NIT or NCAA bid the next year. Hopefully coach Dave will do what PH couldn’t.

    3) REALLY glad vcu lost to RI

    4) Yes, Marquise and Jalen deserve to see the post season. Good for them!

  • StopWearingPurple

    I plan to be there to cheer on the guys. They busted their butts all year so I’d like to support them. I just hope they have something left in the tank.

  • ricandersen

    Not a fan of Mason participating.

    I loved this season. The turnaround was complete and unexpected. Even being even tied with VCU with 8 minutes left was encouraging.

    But I see little benefit with this tournament.

    Gazelle Group president said at the founding of the tournament in 2007, ” I can’t anticipate taking a team with a sub-.500 record. There are too many teams out there with good records.” But notice how their site doesn’t list the team records. Neither the bracket, or the description of many of the teams. Why? Because literally half the 2017 teams have a losing record. A good number of the teams are below 200 on KenPom. This isn’t a serious postseason tournament. At least in 2013 I tend to remember that most teams were good. But now I’m scared to go back and check.

    I’d normally subscribe to letting a new team get a few more games under their belt. But this season, we played with what amounted to a six-person rotation. I think the tank is empty; we could see that in the last few regular season games. So, the CBI would only be beneficial if we started the players who mostly rode the bench. But that’s not going to be the case. We will ride the backs of Moore and Jenkins, thereby losing the primary of purpose of bonding a young, inexperience team. We are running out a tanked lineup to play bad teams. Little upside.

    Now I’m just hoping we win the first two games, so our RPI, BPI, and KenPom ratings don’t go down. Maybe they are silly (looking at you, RPI), but they are a lasting measure of the 2017 season.

    Sorry for the pessimism. This has been a great season, and the A10 tournament was a great place to put 2017 to bed. Even with the best case scenario, it would be embarrassing to hoist a CBI banner at EagleBank Arena.

    • G-n-G

      I disagree with your conclusion but definitely respect your position and solid argument. I offer a few thoughts in favor of Mason participating in the CBI.

      First, it’s a great way to honor our seniors. They’ve struggled through so much for 3 fallow years and have earned some national (ESPNU) attention.

      Second, there’s a boon to recruiting. The TV exposure helps. The message sent that the coaches care about showcasing their seniors. The claim (as see on GoMason) that this is the 13th postseason tournament.

      Third, there’s added practice time under coach supervision for the freshmen, including those who aren’t playing much. I’d guess NCAA rules would prohibit that if Mason’s season was over.

      Fourth, it’s more game time for Justin, Ian, and Karmari to prepare them for even bigger roles next year. Otis has been somewhat sluggish, but none of the freshmen seem worn out by the season.

      Finally, it’s a stepping stone back to national attention. You can already see that Mason is in a lower rung of teams (exhibit one: the field of the Cancun Challenge). The way out of this second tier is to get to top of the league and to the NCAA consistently–i.e. to be more like Dayton and VCU. CBI may not be much by itself, but if it brings the benefits listed above then it can pay dividends for several years and start a positive cycle. At least that’s the hope, right?

    • Gamoo79

      Ric, not sure I agree with you about it being an embarrassment to hoist a CBI banner in the EBA. VCU has theirs hanging, and having one sure beats losing and not having one at all. I’d take it.

    • Chris Hirsch

      I can’t remember the last time I went back and looked at Mason’s RPI rating for a season. I looked at their win, loss record but maybe I am just old fashioned 🙂

      • StopWearingPurple

        I checked it for the whole conference about a month ago even though I was sure Mason’s would not be anything to write home about. The biggest eye opener was the gap between VCU, Dayton and the rest of the conference.

        • ricandersen

          RPI is good to gauge where your team stands in relation to others, at least in the one metric that the NCAA uses. The NCAA Selection Committee clearly over-relies on RPI (and I’m optimistic because they are finally beginning to address this). But for the time being, it shows where we measure against other teams in the eyes of “the powers that be.”

      • ricandersen

        As much as I appreciate the snark (seriously, I actually do; I’m a sarcastic person myself), I’d say that win-loss record is about as accurate as RPI. Look at our SOS related to VCU, URI and Dayton, and our record is not hugely indicative of anythings. We played a cupcake schedule. Just like ERA is good and W/L is not indicative of a MLB pitcher’s skill-set, I think other metrics such as KenPom, BPI, and yes, even RPI, is a better metric than W/L.

        But maybe I’m just new fashioned 🙂

        • Chris Hirsch

          I mean the objective is to win, so I don’t agree that win/loss record has little value.

          • ricandersen

            Now you are just being pedantic. Obviously win/loss record is the most important stat.

            I’m just as sorry as you are that Mason lost last night. No need to be a dick.

          • Chris Hirsch

            I would never mean to be shallow and pedantic.

    • http://www.benjaminbradley.com/ Benjamin

      Because of NCAA regulations on “organized training”… having the opportunity for the young players to get additional “training time” in with the coaches can only HELP the future of the program. This is what the CBI allows… the more we win in this tournament the longer the current young players get to officially practice as a team. Plus, it gives Jenkins and Moore the ability to put some more games on their resume for European leagues 🙂

  • ricandersen
  • Gunston98

    The CBI and CIT fields have declined because I think most schools just don’t want to have to pay the costs. But it’s essentially buying extra games which I’m all for because we have no seniors next year. Our freshmen and sophomores definitely need the reps. I don’t get excited for the “tournament” sell of it. It’s just more practice games if you ask me.

  • Gamoo79

    This just in…
    MARQUISE MOORE named to FIRST TEAM ALL STATE by the Richmond Time-Dispatch.
    A very good call.
    Congrats Marquise!

    • Days of Yates

      And add to that that Marquise’s rebounding was the stuff of national attention, not just the A10.

      • http://www.benjaminbradley.com/ Benjamin

        I hope his rebounding has caught the eye of some European team… Maybe Gabe Norwood can get him a contract over in the FBL. 🙂 Which reminds me… does anyone know which former GMU player has had the longest “professional playing career”? Is it Gabe, since he’s still playing.

        • Days of Yates

          I think that Dennis Rodman should be his agent, ha! Haven’t heard any updates lately, though some of them came around for the ten year anniversary thing last year. Saw Jai Lewis in the stands during the A10 tourney I think.

        • Chris Hirsch

          I believe Folarin still plays as well.

  • Days of Yates

    I say play on! It’s great experience, and any player worth his salt is going to want to step up his game once the tournament atmosphere kicks in and the adrenaline spikes. I also remember the 3 game finale with Santa Clara a few years back, very competitive and great for both teams.

    Despite the middling teams in the field, competitive teams will emerge such as GW of course (not sure how I feel about playing them again), plus Rice, Green Bay, Eastern Wash is decent, and SF is pretty good in the same conf as Santa Clara (and Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, BYU). I’ll watch.

    I may be wrong, but it seemed to me that even in the VCU game we saw more of the young guys actively in the mix when we had to fight off the press. Not that they did particularly well, but I think it means Paulsen will use the CBI to give these guys a larger role while still giving the seniors the limelight. This is a young team that will have NO seniors next year (or am I wrong again?). Next year will be a challenge, as they all are, but as we look ahead to 2 years down the road, there will be a lot of juniors and seniors on the team. The more experience they have together, the better!