Now is time for George Mason to finally topple the Colonials.
Since joining the Atlantic 10 conference in summer 2013, the Patriots are 0-6 against George Washington. All-time Mason has won twice in 18 tries. On Wednesday night the Revolutionary Rivalry will meet at EagleBank Arena as two teams attempting to find their footing in the wacky middle of the conference.
This year is their best chance thus far for Mason to pull their weight in the #RevRivalry. Since joining the conference this is by far the team’s best year and, after plenty of issues off-the-court issues prior to the season, it appears George Washington has seen a little dip for their standards.
George Mason (13-6, 3-3) is coming off their best conference win of the season against Richmond 82-77. In that game the Patriots unloaded their offense in the first half, scoring 49 points and dominated the paint with a +11 rebounding edge and a 46-28 advantage on points.
Firing on all cylinders, each deep ball shooter saw the ball go through the net at least once. Other than the one trey each, the supporting cast around Marquise Moore and Jalen Jenkins struggled to get going.
In conference play, teams that have successfully thwarted the Patriot offense start by taking Jenkins and Moore out of the game. Whether Jenkins gets into foul trouble or double teamed, or Moore cannot find his stroke with the paint collapsing around him, it briefly stuns the offense.
Without Moore and Jenkins it is tough for the team to get points on the board.
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Against George Washington (10-9,2-4), their defense should not trouble the senior duo. On the year the Colonials are allowing teams to shoot at 44 percent inside the arc, the 12th worst in the conference.
Outside of graduate, Tyler Cavanaugh, and junior, Yuta Watanabe, the Colonials lineup lacks experience on this roster.
Both Cavanaugh and Watanabe play a stretch three and four position and can easily pull up from long range. On the season the shoot 35 and 37 percent respectively from behind the arc and bring in 15.8 and 13.4 points a game.
On top of that they play a 6’10 freshman, Collin Smith in the lineup.
If Dave Paulsen was ever going to consider playing another forward, or putting in the taller DeAndre Abram, this would be the game.
With Cavanaugh and Watanabe standing at 6’9,” it would leave a 6’4” guards, Justin Kier, Ian Boyd, or Jaire Grayer, to cover the mismatches. Already the team is at a disadvantage with Jenkins being at 6’7” but he has proven to be more than formidable against taller players.
Not expecting to see a rotation change for Mason, and if there is not one now there will not likely be one for the remainder of the season barring an injury.
Another dangerous player for the Colonials is a transfer from Seton Hall, Jaren Sina.
With 10 points a contest and nearly three assists a game he has essentially become the team’s point guard. Being his first season playing in the Atlantic 10, he is a talented player with experience that Mason has not seen play before.
This game is loading up to be one that Otis Livingston II finds his stride. Livingston will be playing against an opponent that is near his height and the bodies in the paint will be too big to help on defense.
There will be plenty of paths for the sophomore to find for easy assists and will also be able to rotate around the arc waiting for a pop out three.
The keys for Mason to win this contest are to force the ball into the paint, offensively and defensively. It also behooves the Patriots to win the rebounding advantage and the turnover margin.
Pretty simple keys but things are always easier said than done.
Prediction: Mason 75 GW 66
Prediction Record: 12-7