Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Looks like Cinderella got bitch-slapped by her wicked stepmother

And by "Cinderella," we mean George Mason and by "wicked stepmother," we mean other college basketball teams.

Every one's favorite feel-good story from last year's NCAA Tourney is only feeling good these days after a visit to the "massage parlor." The Patriots are 13-10 overall and just 7-6 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).

Minus Jai Lewis, who was instrumental in GMU's late-season success last season, coach Jim Larranaga has turned to Will Thomas and Folarin Campbell to get the job done. Thing is, they haven't gotten the job done.

The Patriots have lost to the likes of William & Mary and Drexel, while having few quality wins. The best would probably be over Mississippi State.

Why bring up George Mason's disappointing season now? Well, 1) slow news day; 2) any excuse to type the name Folarin; 3) we like feeling good, so to reminisce on the Patriots' success last season makes us gushy inside.

If you're a knowledgeable George Mason fan, follower, or player -- Folarin, if you're reading this, what's up, homie? Wanna hang out some time? -- feel free to chime in with what has changed this year. GMU was 25-7 during the regular season this time last year, after all. Why the drop off? No Jai Lewis? Pressure to succeed? Stopped putting speed in the Gatorade?

We want answers dammit!

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mason Lost three starters last year...all who averaged in double figures.

In addition to the instrumental Jai Lewis, they also lost Lamar Butler and Tony Skinn two huge outlets for three point scoring.

Their schedule was also not easy...@ Duke, Wichita State (when they were on fire) and Creighton just to name three.

Jeff said...

Billy Packer and Jim Nantz were right. It just took awhile to sink in. But hey, I'm not complaining. Mason's success was the greatest thing to ever happen to my alma-mater Hofstra's b-ball program, save for Speedy Claxton and Marques Colston reproducing.

Mini Me said...

It is tough for these non-majors to do well two years in a row if they had some players that graudated. That was the case with George Mason.

JMC said...

I'm pretty sure they were all on roids last year. You know, cause that's to blame for pretty much everything. Oh, and Barbaro, also on roids.

Chris Mottram said...

"Anonymous" pretty much summed it up. Jai Lewis was probably the LEAST crucial loss Mason suffered after last season. Losing their two senior and highly productive guards in Skinn and Butler is what has really hurt them this season. Will Thomas is a MUCH better big man than Lewis was. Thomas is the best big man in the conference, and possible the best overall player.

Zach Landres-Schnur said...

thanks anonymous and Chris -- chris, you go/went to GMU, right?

Completely forgot about Skinn and Butler. those guys were real good.

and the schedule has been brutal. i had a hard time finding "bad" losses on their schedule.

bryc3 said...

Another Mason alum here (twice, even). I'd argue the biggest loss is senior leadership. The success of mid-majors in recent years can usually be traced to the presence of seniors- we see an awful lot of 'upsets' where NBA-depleted big programs get outplayed by kids who are frankly just more experienced. Look at some of this year's hot mid-majors: Butler and Creighton feature upperclassmen almost exclusively.

But I also think this is an exceptionally bad year for Mason. While last year's run to the Final Four was obviously unexpected, the program does have a tradition of moderate success. The Patriots went to the Big Dance is '99, '01 and '06, and to the NIT in '02 and '04. Further, they nearly upset Maryland in '01 (lost by 3) and won two NIT games in '04. The media suggested the team came completely out of nowhere last year, but that's not entirely true.

So while last year's team was better than average, this year's team is worse than average. And that's making the difference appear even greater. The core of next year's team will feature 4 seniors and 2 juniors, as well as rising sophomore and big-time recruit (by Mason standards) Louis Birdsong. I'm calling it right here now- the Patriots will be serious contenders for mid-major darling next year. They'll never go to the Final Four again, but they're going to ruin some brackets.

Chris Mottram said...

Yeah, I'm a seventh-year senior at Mason [insert Tommy Boy/Van Wilder joke here]. Maryland is my team, but I know a thing or two about the Patriots.

SportsBog said...

Plus they got a full-time band leader this year, and he dresses like a pimp. That has to affect team morale.

Whaddup bryc.

Zach Landres-Schnur said...

great insight guys! much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Ditto to the other Mason alums.

In a word, the problem is depth. Thomas (14ppg and 7rpg, 60%fg) is actually having a very good year and Folarin is playin' well, but after them, there's nothing. Our third option, John Vaugh, wasn't even on the team last year (JuCo transfer I believe).

Anonymous said...

Actually...it was Dre Smith who was the JuCo transfer, John Vaughn was injured last year which is why he didn't play.

Anonymous said...

Crap, that's right. There goes my credibility. =\

JMC said...

you guys sure it's not steroids? that blows my mind

Anonymous said...

Couldn't be steroids. We all saw Jai Lewis last year.

ZoneAdmin said...

Lewis wasn't on roids... he was on Burger King, McD's and PizzHut.

Ryan said...

what did you expect with 3 seniors graduating who carries the team last year? a national championship run? You have no idea what your talking about.

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Anonymous said...

you are all losers, as is george mason