Wrap It Up

Think George Mason had some additional motivation for its 64-61 upset victory over Hofstra last night? Consider the last three times these teams played:

1. Hofstra beat Mason last February, knocking the Patriots out of the Top 25.

2. Hofstra beat Mason in the CAA semifinals, knocking the Patriots–at that time–from a “lock” in the NCAA tourney.

3. Hofstra beat Mason on their own floor on national television three weeks ago.

You could see it on the faces of the Mason players that this game meant so much more to them than a CAA quarterfinal win. For the first time all season, I saw the look on Folarin Campbell’s face. It was That Look. The ebullient confidence and enjoyment of his surroundings.

It may mean nothing today against a refocused Old Dominion team, but it was nice to see.

***

Game 1 of note:

VCU answered the bell early and then answered it again when Georgia State made their run. The Panthers tried to play fast and their 20 turnovers cost them.

Particular note: VCUs Jesse Pellot Rosa sprained the arch in his foot and did not play in the second half. Nine VCU players scored in the opening stanza. Only Eric Maynor played more than 27 minutes.

Particular note: Many CAA folks don’t really know much about Georgia State, specifically their coach Michael Perry. So I asked around over the past four days. Perry is a respected Xs and Os guy. One even said that Perry was “coaching his ass off” down the stretch for the Panthers.

***

Game 2 of note:

I fortunately sat with Bill Trocchi from CNNSI.com during the Drexel/Nor’Easter game and we both marvelled at Frank the Tank Elegar. That kid can play, which is especially amazing considering Elegar barely played in high school.

Loved the Drexel students chanting “We Want VCU” at the Rams’ rooting section towards the end of the Dragons’ victory. Tourney atmosphere.

Postscript: Boston folks need to take note…pay Bill Coen to keep him. I’ve been impressed by many people over the last two years–none more than Bill Coen. He’s a good basketball coach, but my belief is that he is a better person.

Of particular note: considering I’m talking about students and Bill Coen you know there wasn’t much from the game. Drexel Wrecking Balled the Huskies.

***

Game 3 of note:

Someone somewhere is going to give you the exact stat, but ODUs drought from the field must’ve lasted 10 minutes.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Brian Henderson absolutely rescued ODU. The Monarchs got one whole point from its dynamic duo of DW and BJ. It wasn’t that Henderson was the primary scorer, it was when he scored that was important. It’s called bail out.

Big Q: was this ODUs garbage game?

Really big Q: I asked more than a few in-the-knows about the most odd (oddest?) calls I’ve ever seen. All but one gave me the fried-egg-eyes look when I explained it to them. I don’t remember the specific players involved, but an ODU guy drove the lane and a Towson guy filled and tried to take a charge. Whistle blows. Typical play you see, oh, 12 times a game.

Even when one ref said charge and one said block, there was no cause for concern. It happens.

But the resulting call still has me scratching my bald head, and it hurts.

Double foul. Let’s go to the possession arrow. (Favored Towson, but that is inconsequential.)

BOTH kids get a personal, and you sully the possession arrow? Not possible. It was either a charge or a block. It cannot be both. Just because you have a disagreement among officials, that doesn’t mean the officials get off the hook. You always hear officials explain to complaining coaches that “it wasn’t my call.”

In this case, the opposite holds true. It WAS someone’s call, and that should’ve taken precedence. If not, the crew chief needed to make a decision. Didn’t happen, and that wrong on so many levels. To save one official being–for lack of a better word–embarrassed, both teams were left holding the bag.

One call, one play, two personals, and a changing possession arrow.

And that, my friends, is just plain wrong. On many levels.

***

Of note, game 4: you have everything of note from the big upset.

***

TODAY

I fear for George Mason. They have all the confidence and all the karma. But they are still the sixth place team that allowed James Madison to shoot more than 50 percent.

Even more notable: ODU will be mad, focused, and ready to prove something. (Nobody that wears an ODU uniform will say it out loud, but a Monday appearance likely means an NCAA tourney appearance.)

And Valdas Vasylius particularly has something to prove.

To me, it spells uh-oh.

***

I’m going to say it, and I honestly don’t believe there is a bit of hyperbole in my statement. And make sure you understand: I mean this. It’s not cheering for mid majors and it’s not blather.

I also believe it to be totally accurate:

There will not be a conference tournament semifinal more intense, or with more implications, than Drexel against VCU.

Break it down all you want: no Elegar the first time, VCU tired, Drexel can’t shoot, etc.

This is the kind of game that is analyzed for no reason. Don’t do it and don’t try to figure it out.

Just show up early and enjoy it.

Then crack open a Stella and talk about it while ODU/Mason warm up.

Then crack open more Stella and talk more about it.

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~ by mglitos on March 4, 2007.

4 Responses to “Wrap It Up”

  1. Great call on the ODU-Mason game.

  2. Litos, I wish your prediction had been right concerning the ODU game. Looks like another trip to the NIT, what a waste of a great run. Some have said there is a slim chance we’ll still get a bid (if VCU wins tomorrow night), but I’m not holding my breath.

  3. It was nice to see Mason box out against a quality team (although ODU looked putrid by their standards) for the first time this season.

    ODU is the best CAA candidate for an at-large bid no matter who wins tomorrow night. I know that’ll anger some Rams fans should they somehow lose to GMU (they couldn’t have asked for a better matchup in terms of Xs and Os), but it’s the truth given the resumes. Drexel may have a dying man’s shot if the teams they beat surge during championship week (Creighton already did).

    I’m anxious to see what a loss to a team with a RPI of 130 (Mason coming into today) will do to ODU.

  4. No one could have predicted that ODU would play so flat for a game with such huge ramifications.

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