Will Saturday’s George Mason – VCU game be another instant classic?

VCU-grayer

Something tells me this year’s George Mason vs VCU game in Fairfax will be a close one. It’s just been that way this season for the Patriots. Despite some bad losses at home this year (Davidson), I feel like this one will come down to the wire because of the history between these two teams and Mason’s recent play. In their last outing Mason looked dead against Duquesne on the road but battled back only to fall in double overtime. Their previous two home games include a buzzer beater against Saint Joe’s and game that came down to clutch free-throws against Saint Louis, both close wins.

Mason will without a doubt need that late-game toughness again tomorrow against the Rams. They’ve had a week to prepare for the upcoming press they will face and will have to figure out how to get both Otis Livingston II and Jaire Grayer going early. Three-pointers will be huge as VCU is allowing 37.7% from their opponents (13th in A-10) from there in┬áconference only games so far. Mason has been living and dying behind the arch for awhile now and that won’t change Saturday. They’ll have to find a way to get Goanar Mar open looks from there and let’s not forget about Javon Greene:

Another big factor in this game is Mason’s guards handling the ball against VCU’s defense. The Rams are far off from their “Havoc” days but still press a ton. Mason’s struggled at times when opposing teams force the ball out of Otis’ hands and you can bet VCU will be trying to do that every possession. As a whole they’ve handled the press well in certain games this season but will have to maintain ball security and look for the open shots to get ahead of the Rams early on.

Photo by Bill Bride

I like Mason’s chances if they can take advantage of open three-pointer looks, get to the free-throw line, and keep Justin Tillman off the offensive glass. Hopefully they can feed off the big crowd at EagleBank and have a strong start. The play of Otis and Grayer will be huge especially for Grayer. He’s been hot and cold lately and Otis will draw a lot of attention. Grayer has to be strong on the boards and get on the scoreboard early. They can’t afford another repeat of the start of the GW game.

I would guess this is a close game that eventually comes down to free-throws, which SHOULD favor Mason but with this season, who knows.

  • Masonfan01

    Last year Mo Alie-Cox killed us, hoping that’s not Tillman this year. Their press hasn’t been great this year but still an aggressive defense our guys might struggle with. Agreed that we have to make our threes or we might struggle to reach 65.

  • Chris Hirsch

    Pretty big game for the program and where it stands. VCU is pretty weak this year, so anything less than at least being competitive in front of a large crowd will look pretty bad.

  • Mike Kelleher

    I need two tickets for the game… can anyone help? Thanks!

  • Gamoo79

    So against Duquense, does anybody have any insights as to why we kept going inside late in the game when every shot was being blocked and we weren’t drawing any fouls? Besides, most of the shots didn’t even look like shots. Seems like we drove, saw there was no shot, and just threw up a piece of junk.

    We fought like crazy, and I’m proud of the guys, but to me, that strategy is at least part of the reason we lost.

    • Foolsrushin63

      Thought maybe we were trying to foul their bigs out. I thought the biggest factor was we just ran out of gas. Trying to win in double overtime with 7 players (only 5 of whom were scoring) is really tough. Once again, love how we fight back in close games, but you can only do so much with limited depth and experience. I think VCU game is a total crapshoot given how both teams have played this year. We could win by 20, they could win by 20 or Ryan may be right and this is a tight one. If its tight at the end, I like our chances at home.

  • G-n-G

    I guess not. Considering Mason came up short on two of the keys you identified (3-point shooting and VCU offensive rebounding), it’s almost amazing they kept this game quasi-competitive. Felt like I was watching a volleyball tournament at times or maybe high schoolers vs. middle schoolers. I love the competitiveness and spirit and how hard Mason played in this and the Duquesne games (GW was a debacle). They have enough to be hang in most games but this whole season they have a miniscule margin for error. If just about everything doesn’t break right then they lose.

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