George Mason 2010 College Insider Tournament Preview
George Mason Patriots - Colonial Athletic Association (17-14, 12-6)
Big Wins: 12/12 Creighton (75-72), 1/2 Old Dominion (71-55), 2/9 VCU (82-77)
Bad Losses: 11/28 at Tulane (71-76), 12/30 at Radford (53-80), 2/3 at Georgia State (57-61)
Coach: Jim Larranaga
Probable George Mason Starters:
Cam Long, Junior, Guard, 12.2 ppg, 3.1 apg
Andre Cornelius, Sophomore, Guard, 8.8 ppg, 1.6 apg
Luke Hancock, Freshman, Forward, 7.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.7 apg
Ryan Pearson, Sophomore, Forward, 11.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg
Mike Morrison, Sophomore, Forward, 7.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Key George Mason Roleplayers:
Louis Birdsong, Senior, Forward, 2.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Kevin Foster, Freshman, Forward, 4.5 ppg, 3.2 apg
Isaiah Tate, Junior, Guard, 4.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Sherrod Wright, Freshman, Guard, 5.6 ppg, 1.7 rpg
Why The Patriots Can Surprise:
This is not as talented of a team as year’s past, but George Mason has cemented itself as a consistent contender in the Colonial Athletic Association. While this group has plenty of potential, it is a young team and that has caused some problems during the 2009-2010 campaign. The future looks bright and the Patriots are improving with every game, but this team will be better in a year or two.
It is the talent in the backcourt that makes Coach Jim Larranaga’s squad so dangerous. The go-to-guy is Cam Long. The 6-4 guard is a capable outside shooter who also the size and strength to attack the basket. His 12.2 points per game leads the team, but he is more than simply a scorer. Long is also the point guard and the fact that he is 6-4 makes it much easier for him to see passing lanes. Andre Cornelius is the more consistent outside shooter. He connects on 41.9 percent of his attempts from long range and is third on the team with 8.8 points per contest. Isaiah Tate is occasionally the starter on the wing next to Cornelius. While he has size, he is not much of a scorer or rebounder.
Why The Patriots Can Disappoint:
The lack of size on the perimeter has led to some concerns in the rebounding department. A player like Louis Birdsong could be inserted into the lineup when another big body is needed, but he has been quite disappointing throughout most of his senior campaign. Mike Morrison and Luke Hancock have played a majority of the minutes at the four spot with Morrison getting the starting nod. Morrison is the more traditional big man who can score with his back to the basket and block some shots. The fact that he is in the paint more often than Hancock, who will step outside and hit the mid-range jumper, makes him a decent rebounder, but the team as a whole will struggle in that department against most opponents. Hancock has earned some starts at the end of the season as a small forward to help on the glass.
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Who To Watch for George Mason:
Ryan Pearson is the player in the frontcourt who has stepped up his game and is leading the team with 6.5 rebounds per contest. Pearson is only 6-6, but he is a superb high flying athlete. Not only is he the best rebounder on the team, Pearson averages 11.8 points and 1.1 steals. Pearson is the most dangerous player on George Mason and he needs to have a good day if the Patriots hope to have another magical run in March.
George Mason By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 66.1 (243rd in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.5 (130, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.6 (169, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.4 (141, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.1 (275, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.1 (170, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.2 (299, 12)
Rebound Margin: -1.5 (241, 10)
Assists Per Game: 11.6 (267, 11)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.5 (153, 9)