VCU comes to town

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VCU visits George Mason Wednesday night after losing their first Atlantic 10 game to Richmond. In that game they lost senior guard Briante Weber, who was 12 steals shy of breaking an NCAA record. Huge blow for the Rams as Weber was the poster child for Shaka Smart’s “Havoc” defense. How much of a difference will that make for Mason tomorrow night, we’ll see. The Patriots are still sloppy with the ball and struggling on offense so it once again could be a feeding frenzy for the Rams. I would have to think VCU’s game plan is take Shevon Thompson out of the game on offense. Against Duquesne Thompson struggled to score and it killed their offense and led to a lot of ill-advised shots. Also I am not sure if Patrick Holloway will be back but they could certainly use the boost of him off the bench in this one.

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George Mason heads to Duquesne

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George Mason is looking for their second straight Atlantic 10 win Saturday night at Duquesne. Last season they dropped their final home game to the Dukes 81-69 and let them shoot 11-for-21 from behind the arch. Streaky shooters Derrick Colter and Micah Mason are still there this season and could easily give Mason trouble shooting on the perimeter. We saw the Patriots play much better defense against Saint Louis but Duquesne is a much better shooting team. On defense however, the Dukes are rated last in the A-10 in terms of efficiency. Mason could be in position for their first conference road win if they dominate in the paint and get to the free-throw often. They should easily win the battle on the boards but they need to capitalize on the second chance opportunities that Shevon Thompson provides.

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George Mason at George Washington

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Someday this whole Revolutionary Rivalry will actually be a rivalry that’s fun to watch, but for now it is a dud as George Mason’s program continues to sink under Paul Hewitt. Meanwhile in Foggy Bottom George Washington is a top 60 team looking to challenge for the Atlantic 10 championship again. Mason is 1-5 in their last five games against GW dating back to 1997 and lost both of last year’s games. Mason is coming off one of their worst performances of the season in a what should have been a winnable game against St. Bonaventure. They looked unprepared, disinterested, and basically lost on defense. They played well in the games after being blown out by West Virginia and Oklahoma so hopefully we will see a better effort Saturday.

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Atlantic 10 action continues at Richmond

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George Mason is looking to start 2-0 in Atlantic 10 conference play as they are in Richmond to play the Spiders tonight. Starting off 2-0 would be huge for this Patriots squad that has had an up and down season so far but are starting to find some consistency. It has looked like both Marquise Moore and Julian Royal have been practicing and hopefully both are back tonight. The big key for Mason again will be to maintain the balance on offense they had against La Salle with four players scoring 13 points. They are not the type of team that can simply rely on the hot hand and ride any given player for their offense.

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George Mason finishes up non-conference action at Oklahoma

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George Mason is riding a three game winning streak as they look to wrap up non-conference play at Oklahoma tonight. A great new years present to all Mason fans would be to see a win tonight against #18 Oklahoma. Last season they were completely dominated by the Sooners at the Verizon Center during the BB&T Classic. This year’s squad again has a balanced scoring attack and a high-tempo offense that Mason could again struggle to keep up with.

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George Mason hosts Division II Catawba tonight

George Mason will host division II Catawba tonight at the RAC. Why they have a mid-season game on the schedule against a non-division I is a curious move for program that isn’t a BCS school. Catawba has this game listed as an exhibition on their schedule so am I wondering if Mason is treating it as such. For RPI and other ranking systems though games against non-division I opponents are not factored in but that doesn’t really matter given how this season is looking. The most interesting thing about this game is the possible repercussions that could result if they lose. I would have to think Paul Hewitt’s hot seat status would be projected to a more national story line. In theory they should take care of this team as they did against Shenadoah but that was a DIII school and it’s worth noting a couple of other teams have lost to non-division I opponents this season.

What is interesting about this game being on the schedule is how much of a drop in competition it is compared to the rest of their non-conference slate. Mason has already played a handful of teams that at one point or another we’re in the top 25 and still have to face #15 Oklahoma on December 31. Obviously you have to balance out the schedule but this a major drop-off that seems strange to me. Could they simply not schedule a lower division I school? What is to gain from this, seems like a lose-lose situation. But hey there’s not a lot Hewitt has done here that has made sense to us in terms of running this program.

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Previewing George Mason at Northern Iowa

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George Mason heads to Northern Iowa this Saturday for their first true road game. Mason’s win over them last year was their best victory but this year’s UNI team is better and currently sitting at 7-0. They have been shooting the well extremely well and holding their opponents to low efficiency numbers on offense. This will be a tough task for the Patriots, who already struggle to put points on the board despite not going up against a great defensive team yet. UNI will be the toughest defense they faced so far this season and they will have to get multiple guys going on offense early in order to stay in this one.

On defense Mason will have to defend well against a balanced attack from UNI who have a lot of good perimeter shooters. Up front there’s Seth Tuttle, who gave Mason problems last year and gets to the free-throw line often. With more size this year, that is hopefully an area they can control better. For all the talk about the size advantage of this year’s team we haven’t seen them dominate the paint.

Previewing George Mason – Old Dominion

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Riding their high of a long range buzzer-beater, George Mason will host familiar foe Old Dominion Wednesday night. Jeff Jones has turned around the Monarchs in a hurry and this season they have wins against LSU, Richmond, and most recently VCU. ODU plays excellent defense, doesn’t turnover the ball, and has shot well from behind the arch. Former Patriot Jon Arledge is averaging 7 and 6 for them and should make for an interesting return to the Patriot Center.

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George Mason looks to regroup against Manhattan

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So the Puerto Rico tip-off didn’t go great and now the Patriots are back home for the next two games. Don’t be surprised if we see some big changes in this game as whatever they were doing in Puerto Rico wasn’t working. It looks like Julian Royal will again be replacing Jalen Jenkins in the starting lineup. That certainly doesn’t ease much concern as Jenkins started every conference game for this team last year and a big key this year is his development. The rotation itself hasn’t been unbalanced, to put it nicely, and never seemed to stabilize during the last few games.

Shevon Thompson has been the lone bright spot so far this season and I would expect him to be the focal part of this offense going forward. His overall progress has to be leaps and bounds ahead of what the coaching staff thought his immediate impact would be. Now they have to build on that. Getting Thompson established down low will open things up for Patrick Holloway, who struggled a bit in Puerto Rico trying to carry the team when they got down.

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Puerto Rico Tip-off Preview

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The Puerto Rico Tip-off tournament starts tomorrow and George Mason opens against West Virginia at 7:30 pm on ESPNU. This will one of Mason’s few national TV games and their first big test of the season. The winner of their game will face either New Mexico or Boston College. Either way the Patriots will be getting some good games out of this and we will certainly know more about the character of this year’s squad after this weekend. Here is the full bracket:

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