Selection Sunday Preview

Selection Sunday is now a big a national holiday for sports. When the bracket is revealed for the NCAA Tournament, pitting 68 teams in the hunt for the National Championship, it gets fan hyped up. College basketball fans and offices around the country then flock to find a bracket, fill it out, and hope in win big money prizes or just bragging rights.

Selection Sunday also sparks hours of coverage and expert analysis because once the bracket is revealed, everyone dives into the match-ups. They look at who could move on after the first round, who has the best chance of pulling off the upset, the next Cinderella, and the two teams in the title game. It consumes hours of television on ESPN and CBSSports, until the First Four takes place between four lower seeds in the field of play.

All of this makes for an exciting few hours for sports, as fans will tune in to see everything unfold. It’s arguably one of the most dramatic parts of TV for sports too, especially for the schools on the bubble. They wonder if they’ll make it into the field and see how high their seeds will be. For some, it provides heartbreak, while others celebrate on being in the tournament.

Selection Sunday process can sometimes drag, however, and many criticize that the RPI carries too much weight. This leads to lots of disagreement about who should be in or out. The actual Selection Sunday Show expanded to two hours in 2016, which spaced out the announcement of all four regions. It added unnecessary drama to something that had plenty of entertainment to it as it is. We’ll see if they go forward with this in 2017, which could lead to more criticism on how Selection Sunday is presented. To follow along with Selection Sunday 2017, it can be seen on Sunday, March 12 with all 68 teams being announced. Who will make it into the NCAA Tournament?

Mason’s freshmen are a big part of the turn around

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Marquise Moore is turning heads in the college basketball world this season and while he and Otis Livingston II are a big reason why Mason is currently 9-3 and not 3-9, this year’s freshmen class is also playing a big role in the turn around. We knew heading into this season that, much like last year, we’d see freshmen play a lot of meaningful minutes. Whether or not that would result in George Mason getting out of the Atlantic 10 basement was the big question. Kenpom’s team experience rating formula ranks Mason 305 out of 351 this season which is not surprising given how many sophomore and freshmen are on the roster. The team has surpassed expectations and already two wins away from matching last season’s win total. The freshmen have been in impressive to say the least.

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Marquise Moore is off to an incredible start

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We are about a quarter of the way into the 2016-17 season and it is already looking like a big year for senior Marquise Moore. The incredible part about his hot start is that he is filling a rebounding need from the point guard position; an area that this off-season seemed like a weakness for George Mason. Through eight games they have made it their strength, beating opponents to the glass without size but effort and tenacity. Moore has been a leader in that area, driving the lane with or without the ball in his hands making things happen for the Patriots. Typically you would expect your point guard to fill up the stat sheet in other areas, three-pointers, assists, and so on. Moore has adapted into a new kind of floor general and it’s the one Mason needs right now.

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Freshman Troy Temara threw down some sick dunks last night

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Freshman Troy Temara, the wildly athletic 6’8″ forward, wasn’t shy showing off his moves last night at Mason Madness. The dunks were certainly fun to watch and he might make this upcoming season more interesting simply by driving the lane and throwing it down at EagleBank Arena. Some other good dunks by Jaire Grayer and AJ WIlson below also.

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Otis Livingston and Jaire Grayer shining in Kenner League

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Sophomores Otis Livingston II and Jaire Grayer seem to be having a good summer playing in the Kenner League at Georgetown:

The development of these two guards is something that will be pivot to next season’s success. Both were starters last season and played a ton of minutes by freshman standards. They were streaky shooters at times but when they got hot Mason’s offense was rolling.

From HoyaReport.com:

Otis Livingston, Jr. – Higher Level, 5’11”, 180 pound sophomore point guard, George Mason – A good driver, Livingston was on the controls. Ran the show. Scored 14 points.

Should become more of a knock down shooter.

Now with confidence and some the development of their outside shooting I think they will soon be able to hang with any guards in the Atlantic 10.

Jalen Jenkins’ improved play may help Mason finish strong

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The improved play of Jalen Jenkins has certainly been a big part of George Mason’s wins over Davidson and VCU. He has been a clutch go to guy and a real force inside on both ends of the court. Jenkins has averaged 14.2 points per game over the last five contests and has given the offense a needed spark. Too often this season Mason has relied on outside shooting to beat teams and we’ve all seen how that has been wildly inconsistent. Jenkins and Thompson are providing points in the paint off put backs and great leads from Otis Livingston and Marquise Moore. The team overall is now less one-dimensional on offense and a lot tougher inside on defense.

The coaching staff certainly played a role in getting him back on track:

“He spent extra time with assistant coach Duane Simpkins banging him with a football blocking pad during post shooting drills. What Paulsen calls “the lag time” between practice improvement and game improvement ended with Jenkins going for 20 points and nine rebounds in an 81-75 loss at Davidson on Jan. 9 in the Patriots’ third A-10 game.”

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Mason to wear Final Four throwback jerseys at homecoming game

George Mason is finally getting a dedicated basketball practice facility

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It looks like George Mason basketball is finally getting a dedicated practice facility for its men’s and women’s teams. The university’s Board of Visitors is meeting next week to request the authorization for a 100% donor funded $15.5 million basketball facility to build on to the existing RAC. You can find the details here on pages 21-22 of BOV’s agenda for the February 11th meeting. If everything goes right this is a great recruiting tool for the program as Mason often has recruiting battles with schools who have bigger and better accommodations for their basketball teams. Facilities are all the rave in college sports these days and Mason needs this addition.