What does JTIII’s firing mean for George Mason and area recruiting?

GettyImages-632411596I was in the group that thought Georgetown would never fire John Thompson III, so yesterday was surprising. It’s a move that will impact DC area college basketball, especially on the recruiting scene. What does this mean for George Mason basketball and head coach Dave Paulsen? Mason has already had an uphill battle trying to get local recruits and now a new head coach in town could change the landscape a bit. Despite the program’s lack of recent success, Georgetown was still landing a lot of top local talent in the area. Will that continue with a new coach? That depends largely on the who they hire.

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New NCAA rule changes could favor George Mason

There are some new rule changes from the NCAA that will go into effect this season, mostly geared towards helping the offense. Coaches are torn over them and it will be interesting to see how some teams adjust to them in November and December. The changes are in place because they want to help the offense out because there were a lot of ugly games last season. But how will these changes affect George Mason this season?

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The financial impact of George Mason’s 2006 Final Four run

George Mason’s Final Four run of 2006 is of course in the news again due to Jim Larranaga and Miami playing in the Sweet 16 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. Besides all the trips down memory lane, I thought it was interesting some for financial numbers being talked about again. Some are comparing the costs for the NCAA tournament travel and other expenses for smaller schools that have made runs because of Florida Gulf Coast’s current position. ESPN’s Darren Rovell shares some interesting costs that George Mason had to fork over in 2006:

A source close to the George Mason athletic department told ESPN.com that the school lost hundreds of thousands of dollars that were not reimbursed during its 2006 run to the Final Four. One of the culprits: The school still had to pay for hotel rooms even though it played its Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games in Washington D.C., just 20 miles from the school. However, it was a good trade off as George Mason professor concluded that the team’s performance in the tournament that year was worth more than $677 million in free publicity to the school.
Crazy that Mason had to buy all those rooms even though they were so damn close to the Verizon Center but that’s the NCAA for ya. 
Rovell later tweeted that George Mason “lost hundres of thousands of dollars in travel costs” during the Final Four run due in large part to this factor. Not really a big deal consider the extra attention and funds the run brought the school after the fact. The NY Times has an article out detailing some of the figures:
There was a 25 percent surge in the number of alumni who were considered active with the university’s alumni association. A $100 million fund-raising campaign attracted $132 million in donations.

The George Mason bookstore took in more money in March 2006 ($800,000) than it did the entire rest of the year ($625,000). Enrollment in the annual summer basketball camp more than doubled. N.C.A.A. licensing revenue went up by $100,000.

I know a lot of people already knew this information but just found some if interesting and it’s such a bigger deal for schools like George Mason, VCU, and Florida Gulf Coast to make deep runs in the tournament

George Mason to face College of Charleston in first round of CBI

So the 2012-2013 season still goes on for George Mason and they have accepted a bid to the CBI tournament. Remember this isn’t the CIT and at least their are BCS programs in the mix. The Patriots take a road trip to future CAA member College of Charleston in the first round of the tournament Tuesday night. The full bracket is here and the game will be televised if you can find the Axs.tv channel on your TV. My FiOS plan has it and here is a channel finder if you dare to watch. On Friday we talked about the merits of continuing the season in this tournament and despite the disappointment of the year I think it’s good that they are doing it. 

A win against Charleston tomorrow night gets them either Texas or Houston in the next round. Fun fact, Rick Barnes, head coach of Texas, was George Mason’s head coach during the 1987-1988 season. The venue for that game in the semis is still TBD so another game at the Patriot Center might not be out of the question. Don’t know how many fans would actually show up for that one though. 

Let’s not forget VCU won this tournament in 2010 and then kind of had a good March the following year. Comparing George Mason’s situation to that isn’t the same but I do think the extra reps will be good for this team. They certainly have been humbled this year and with how they lost against Northeastern in the CAA tournament they must know that they need to put in hard work for next season. Why not start now, especially considering they will have six seniors next year. These tournaments serve a purpose for teams returning a lot of players and if anything it helps the younger guys like Marko Gujanicic and Patrick Holloway.

The way George Mason lost to Northeastern in the semifinals was the story of the season. We saw some flashes of excellence but then it was quickly negated by the team’s recurring fundamental problems. At least if Mason plays well in this tournament there will be a glimmer of hope going into next season. We’ll just have to see how seriously the players take this tournament.

[Photo by John Powell]

Providence might be looking for a new coach, so naturally Jim Larranaga is again thrown into the mix of possible candidates

It’s being reported that Providence is expected to part ways with head coach Keno Davis as early as this weekend. With this news some are already penciling in Jim Larranaga as a possible candidate to replace him. If you remember three years Larranaga rejected an offer to coach the Friars, his alma mater and a school that plays in the Big East conference.  I’m writing this post to tell you Larranaga isn’t going anywhere. 
First of all he turns 62 this October and he signed a one-year extension last March that locks him in Fairfax throught the 2015-2016 season. I can’t imagine he’d sign that extension if he had any thoughts of ending his coaching career somewhere other than George Mason. Also, it would take about 4-5 years to resurrect that program at Providence even if Larranaga was maximizing his recruiting by selling the lure of the Big East to high school kids. Also, the old coach now has deeply rooted ties with George Mason and keeps openly voicing his love for the green and gold and the university itself. The coach has praised the school for committing more money over the years for facilities and Providence’s right now are nothing to get excited about. It also doesn’t hurt that the Patriots are coming off their best regular season ever. If he wanted to jump to a bigger conference he would have done it three years go when the offers were pouring in. In short you can put money on Larranaga finishing his coaching career at George Mason.

Now let’s back to our speculating of March Madness…

[Photo credit: Shamus Ian Fatzinger/Fairfax Times]

George Mason cracks the Top 25 this week

George Mason finally got the respect they deserved today as they were ranked #25 in the nation on this week’s ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

I believe the last time a team in the CAA headed into the conference tournament with a ranking was when David Robinson was with Navy and they were ranked #17 back in 1986. They eventually took home the CAA title that season.

Also, Mason is ranked #26 in the AP Poll.

If you curious here’s a link to see how each one of the AP members voted.

Coach Larranaga named to NCAA Division I Regional Advisory Committee

Mason head coach Jim Larranaga has been chosen to serve on the NCAA Division I Regional Advisory Committee. He will represent the CAA (as he often does everywhere) as one of 31 coaches on the committee chosen by the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. These committees help determine which teams will be in the field of 68 this March for the NCAA tournament.  Each coach chosen votes monthly and ranks the top 15 for the East region  which includes the following conferences: America East, ACC, Atlantic 10, Big East, Colonial, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-Eastern, Northeast and Patriot. This is really an honor for Coach L and shows how well respected he is in the world of college basketball.

Patriots to host Fairfield in CIT opening round


“Just got off the phone with Fairfield coach Ed Cooley. The Stags have accepted a big to play in the 2010 College Insider Tournament.
Fairfield (20-10) will play at George Mason (17-14) of the Colonial League on Tuesday night.”

The rest of the CIT field, I guess they don’t believe in brackets so I have no idea who Mason would play next if they win Tuesday:

Tuesday March 16

South Dakota (22-9) @ Creighton (16-15)

Fairfield (22-10) @ George Mason (17-14)

Wednesday March 17

Harvard (21-7) @ Appalachian State (22-10)

Western Carolina (22-11) @ Marshall (23-9)

Middle Tennessee State (19-13) @ Missouri State (20-12)

Portland (21-10) @ Northern Colorado (24-7)

Pacific (20-11) @ Loyola Marymount (18-14)

Thursday March 18

Southern Mississippi (20-13) @ Louisiana Tech (23-10)

UPDATE: From CollegeInsider.com: “There is no set bracket. The CIT uses the old NIT model of determining future round opponents following the conclusion of the previous round.”
Also the game will be streamed live on foxcollegesports.com

Selection Sunday has arrived

Not the type of suspense Mason fans had hoped for on this Selection Sunday but nevertheless still an exciting day in college hoops. Even if you think the CIT and CBI tournaments are a joke, consider that playing in these allow the team to continuing practicing by the in-season rules which is about 10 times more the amount than is allowed in the off season. The Patriots find out tonight who they will be hosting Tuesday night in the 1st round of the CIT. We will be there court side live blogging so don’t forget to join in, especially since the game won’t be televised. We don’t know exactly who is in the field for the CIT but a few teams like Mason, have made announcements. Creighton, Appalachian State, and Northern Colorado are hosting 1st round games as well and last year’s runner up champion Bradley has decided to stay out of it all together. Another MVC team in the mix is Indiana State which I wouldn’t mind seeing in Fairfax but they have showed interest in ponying up the $30,000 to host a 1st round game. Southern Miss is a possible opponent for Mason but might be paired with a more regionally close team. The CIT is set up for mid-majors, so don’t expect a middle of the pack Big East team to be traveling to Fairfax this week. Looking at the current RPI standings my wild predictions for Mason’s opponent on Tuesday are Rider, Princeton, Buffalo, or maybe Duquesne.

Wednesday Links

In case you missed them on Twitter here is the buzz for the last week or so. Preview for the Liberty game should be up later today or early tomorrow.