Mason’s season officially over after CBI loss to Loyola

2017-03-16 10_55_48-Patriots fall to Loyola in CBI - George Mason University AthleticsGeorge Mason fell to Loyola (Md.) last night in a game they didn’t look all that interested in. Hosting the first round of the CBI tournament costs the school money and Mason had one of their worst performances of the season. Mason shot 33% and was out-rebounded by the Greyhounds. Loyola came out strong and just looked like they wanted the game more than Mason did. They out-hustled Mason all game long, who struggled badly to make any shots in the first half. Marquise Moore and Jalen Jenkins combined for 7 total points in their final game as Patriots. Dave Paulsen opted to go with the young guys for the majority of the minutes, a teachable moment I’m sure. After the game Paulsen said that perhaps it was a mistake to play in the tournament:

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


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.


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Update on George Mason’s NIT hopes

From what we have seen this week in college basketball, George Mason’s hopes at an NIT bid are still pretty slim. A lot more NIT autobids have been won and a few things need to happen for the Patriots to get in. However, Mike Scullin, who runs NIT-ology has George Mason currently as a 7 seed in the tournament. I used to poke fun at fans that were solely relying on this website to gauge Mason’s chances, but turns out the Wall Street Journal did a piece on Scullin and he was 31 for 32 in his NIT picks last season. So as his updates continue keep his site bookmarked down the stretch tomorrow. Right now he currently has some BCS teams like VT and UCLA on the outside looking in, and from what we saw on last year’s selection I don’t know if as many mid-majors will be in the field as he currently has in. 
For everyone hoping for a Miami-George Mason NIT showdown, looks like it still is somewhat possible. Would have fun writing that game preview. I believe the NIT selections are announced Sunday night after NCAA tournament selection show, buts Mason might leak the news earlier.

George Mason’s chances of playing in the NIT are slim

The Patriots are now playing the waiting game and seeing what unfolds this week in college basketball to see if they will have a shot at the NIT or one of the third tier tournaments. Depressing, I know. However, don’t think that the NIT is a lock for the team this year. The NIT gives autobids to teams that finished in first place in their conferences but don’t make the NCAA tournament. So for instance Drexel would be given an autobid to the NIT if they don’t get an at-large on Selection Sunday and Valparaiso lost in their championship last night and will get an autobid to the NIT. Every time this happens throughout the week it reduces George Mason’s chance of being selected to the field. 
Currently George Mason’s RPI is 79 (SOS 180) and their record is 24-9 (14-4 CAA). This article from a newspaper in Iowa shows the background of the last year’s NIT qualifiers.

There were 18 at-large teams that qualified for the NIT. Here were their resumes (overall record, conference record, RPI) entering the 2011 postseason:

Alabama: 21-11, 12-4, 80
New Mexico: 22-13, 8-8, 66
UTEP: 25-9, 11-5, 59
Miami (Fla.): 19-14, 6-10, 73
Colorado: 21-13, 8-8, 65
California: 17-14, 10-8, 76
Ole Miss: 20-13, 7-9, 83
Colorado State: 19-12, 9-7, 50
Boston College: 20-12, 9-7, 58
Northwestern: 18-13, 7-11, 87
Wisconsin-Milwaukee: 19-13, 13-5, 92
Oklahoma State: 19-13, 6-10, 61
Harvard 23-7, 12-2, 35
Washington State: 19-12, 9-9, 82
Virginia Tech: 21-11, 9-7, 62
Wichita State: 24-8, 14-4, 60
Nebraska: 19-12, 7-9, 89
Dayton: 22-13, 7-9, 70

Of the 18 at-large teams, 11 came from the six power conferences (Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, SEC, ACC, Pac-12). The average RPI was 74. All of the at-large schools (except Harvard) were seeded fifth or higher. Of the 11 power-conference schools, only two (Ole Miss, Nebraska) didn’t host first-round games.

With a lot of mid-majors taking up bids automatically the committee doesn’t seem like they are itching to give out more to others. Keep in the mind this tournament wants to make money like any other and BCS teams with less impressive profiles are still going to get in for TV ratings. This is another factor that hurts Mason’s chances of being in the field.
As for the CIT and CBI tournaments, it is unclear whether or not the school would agree to pay to play in either once of those. Remember when they paid to host that disaster against Fairfield in 2010 CIT, which was the largest comeback by any team in March in Division I basketball history. Schools have to pay to host these tournament games, and as Ed Miller of the Virginia-Pilot notes the 24-team CIT’s fee is $30,000 per game and the 16-team CBI is $35,000 for a first-round game, $50,000 for second, and $75,000 for the semifinals. With Mason’s attendance down this season I really wonder if they will even consider paying to host one of these, especially when that CIT game against Fairfield only drew 2,062 fans to the Patriot Center.

UPDATE: AD Tom O’Connor says school won’t pursue CIT or CBI tournament:

If Mason isn’t chosen for NIT, they won’t pursue CBI or CIT tournaments, AD O’Connor says. “Financially not in our best interests” #masonmbb

— Steven Goff (@GMUWashPost) March 7, 2012