Blog Roundup: Where they’re picking the Patriots

Posted In News - By Alan Kelly On Friday, October 23rd, 2015 With 0 Comments

Tuesday was Atlantic 10 media day, accompanied by the release of the official preseason poll and preseason teams. The league’s best basketball minds picked Dayton to win the Atlantic 10 in 2016, leaving some to wonder if ballots were submitted before Dyshawn Pierre landed in hot water. But the Flyers were far from a unanimous pick, with Rhode Island (one of the top returning rosters), VCU (as everyone would expect), and George Washington (huh?) also receiving first place votes. There were few other surprises in the rankings, with George Mason coming in at 13th in the conference for the second year in a row. Dave Paulsen and his crew have a lot to prove this season.

Media day also heralds the arrival of league previews and predictions from all over the blogosphere. Some bloggers make their picks in advance, while others wait for the official poll to be released, but regardless of timing, everyone has an opinion.

Let’s take a look at where Mason ranked in some of those early preseason predictions:

A10Talk – 11th
Mat Shelton-Eide previewed the league as a two-part series, starting with his “best of the worst” (8th-14th), followed by his “best of the best” (1st-7th). Davidson checks in on top as the repeat regular-season champions, while George Mason finds itself 11th, ahead of La Salle, UMass, and St. Louis.
The Point of Pittsburgh – 12th
Nine Atlantic 10 bloggers, including yours truly, contributed votes and comments to Steve DiMiceli’s annual Preseason Blogger Poll, combining to select George Mason 12th. The enigmatic Patriots proved to be one of the chief points of disagreement for the participants, as votes ranged from 8th to 14th (I voted them 10th). Come for the picks, stay for the hot takes and smack: Teams 8-14 | Teams 1-7.
Eye on College Basketball (CBS Sports) – 13th
A panel of seven CBS bloggers all picked the Patriots 13th or 14th this season, while Matt Norlander authored their conference preview, complete with a rosy picture for predicted champ Rhode Island. Despite the poor outlook for this season’s Mason team, Norlander did express optimism for Dave Paulsen and the long term future: “Paulsen has a very good rep, and a few coaches from around the country told me they think he’ll be the absolute right long-term solution for the Patriots.”
City of Basketball Love – 13th
The staff of the Philadelphia-centric City of Basketball Love blog continued a popular trend, selecting Rhode Island as the league champion, and pegging the Patriots for 13th place. They also provided a breakdown of each team from several anonymous assistant coaches around the league. George Mason’s breakdown highlights the remaining talent (especially Shevon Thompson) on the Patriots roster, but questions whether the current roster will fit Dave Paulsen’s system.
College Basketball Talk (NBC Sports) – 13th
Terrence Payne builds the case for why the road to the Atlantic 10 title still goes through Davidson, while picking the Patriots – you guessed it – 13th. He also asks, “is there another surprising team? … Will any of [these] teams defy preseason projections?”
Staring at the Floorboards – 13th
Jordan Majewski gave the league a detailed treatment, dedicating 4,700 words to his preview. While picking the Patriots 13th (and Davidson on top), he also predicted that Dave Paulsen would bring increased on court discipline to Fairfax, and placed the keys to success on how quickly Marquise Moore and Patrick Holloway adapt to Paulsen’s offense.
The Dagger (Yahoo Sports) – 14th
The Patriots barely rated a mention in Jeff Eisenburg’s Five Minute Season Preview. This one’s bulletin board material for that newly renovated EagleBank Arena locker room.

It’s clear that Dave Paulsen and his revamped roster will have a lot of chances to prove people wrong this season. The Patriots have more question marks going into the season than almost any other program aside from Fordham, so it’s no surprise to see them at the bottom of the polls, but let’s not forget that Davidson was picked 12th a season ago. When the lights go on November 13, every team has a chance.

About - Alan Kelly is a 2010 and 2013 graduate of George Mason University and a former member of the Patriot Platoon. He had the memorable experience of being in the middle of the college decision process as George Mason's Final Four run unfolded. He currently resides in Northern Virginia.

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