The Patriots’ chances were “a flip of the coin, at best,” Coach Paul Hewitt said Sunday night after watching the 32 teams unveiled.
“I started to feel uneasy the last few days with all the regular season champions getting knocked out,” said Hewitt, who had a 24-9 record in his first season at George Mason. “It seemed there were two every day.”
George Mason might not have made it to this year’s Final Four in Houston but that doesn’t mean they won’t be talked about this weekend. If you are trying your action on College Basketball Betting provided by BetUS then don’t forget to catch Jim Larranaga, the Godfather of Cinderellas, will join CBS’s official pre-game television coverage on Saturday starting at 4 p.m. He will join host Greg Gumbel and analysts Greg Anthony, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Seth Davis. I never thought I’d see Coach L on a TV broadcast with Charles Barkley, this could be gold.
There is also going to be a special presented by Fox Sports called “Mason Impossible: The Story of Coach L and the Improbable Patriots”, great title. The program will be aired on Saturday at 12 p.m., Sunday at 4:30 p.m. and Monday evening at 8 p.m. Not sure from GoMason.com’s release what channel this is actually going to be on. Is there a Fox College Sports channel? Nevertheless great to see Mason getting more free pub during VCU’s run.
If you don’t get the Fox College Sports channel you can watch the special here. Here is the first segment, you can watch the rest by clicking that link.
Also a great read today from Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times debunking the George Mason-VCU Final Four comparisons.
“At George Mason, which made the tournament this year and famously reached the 2006 Final Four, rewarding academic success emphasizes school values. When coach Jim Larranaga signed a new contract in 2006, his academic incentives included a team grade-point average of 3.0. In 2009, the school raised the bar to 3.3. Meeting that would earn Larranaga about $52,500.”
[via USA Today]
Beat #1 seed to advance to Final Four. #1 UConn in ’06 and #1 Kansas this year were both heavy favorites despite how good George Mason and VCU were playing in the tourney.
Here is an interesting statistic from ESPN after the game: “Four of the last six teams to defeat Villanova in the NCAA tournament have gone on to win the championship”.
Post game interviews. Coach L when asked how his team came back today: “I have no idea.”
Here are my keys to the game for George Mason today:
Create favorable matchups. Last year they did a good job of this and is the big reason why they were leading most of the game in Puerto Rico. Mason does this the best on the perimeter and if they can force the Wildcats into some bad mismatches there you will see some open looks from behind the arc. Three-point shooting could be the biggest factor today as Villanova’s last couple of opponents have had a lot of success from there.
Keep Villanova off the offensive boards. You saw how this doomed ODU yesterday and they were a team that made a living off the glass this season. Even weaker rebounding teams step it up in the tournament and the Patriots have to win this battle today.
Start strong. I don’t think I can stress this last key enough. Recently they have had some trouble defending in the beginning of their last couple of games. Their poor efforts on defense dug them into a 14 point deficit at the half of their last game against VCU and it turned out to be too big to overcome. Mason doesn’t need to have a big lead at the half, as they have done their best work in the 2nd half this season, but they need to keep the momentum in their favor and not give up a lot of open looks.