Meet the Atlantic 10: Fordham Preview

Posted In The Reading List - By Alan Kelly On Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 With 0 Comments

Tonight, George Mason (7-11, 0-4) travels north to New York City to face the Fordham Rams (7-10, 0-4), in another battle for last place between winless A-10 teams. Tipoff is at 7pm, and the game will be streamed on the A-10 Digital Network (no TV tonight).

Tonight’s game will serve as a reintroduction to old foe Tom Pecora, who was the head coach at Hofstra from 2001 until 2010, where he went 154-125 overall and 7-10 against the Patriots, including losses in the final five matchups. Pecora’s last meeting with Mason was one of the worst (for him), a 90-72 Mason win at Hofstra on January 19, 2010. That loss may have helped push him to leave the CAA behind (and definitely did push Hofstra essayist/addict Jerry Beach over the edge).

Pecora is a member of the significant Hofstra diaspora that have found new homes in the Atlantic 10. Forward Halil Kanacevic (St. Joe’s) and point guard Chaz Williams (UMass) played their freshman seasons under Pecora in 2009-10, then transferred when he left the Fordham in 2010, while Mason’s own Marquise Moore originally committed to the Pride.

Yesterday, I asked Jaden Daly, founder of A Daly Dose of Hoops, to provide some perspective on the Rams. I also answered some questions for him about Mason — you can find my responses and the rest of his game preview right here. Fordham has used four different starting lineups in their first four Atlantic 10 conference games. Who’s in the likely starting lineup on Wednesday, and can you give us a brief description of each starter? What’s behind the constant shuffling of the starting five?

Jaden: Here’s what the lineup should look like Wednesday night:

G Branden Frazier – Fordham’s point guard and second-leading scorer. Has a tendency to take bad shots sometimes, but has become more of a distributor this year.

G Mandell Thomas – Shooting guard who entered the year as Fordham’s most underrated player only to have most of his shots usurped by Jon Severe after pulling a hamstring against Monmouth.

G Jon Severe – Leading scorer, leading shooter, sometimes way too inconsistent for his own good but Pecora gives him free rein in the offense for some reason.

G Jermaine Myers – Has become the fourth guard only due to Bryan Smith not being able to go two minutes without fouling. Doesn’t do much offensively, but he’s a solid ball handler.

F Ryan Rhoomes – Fordham’s most consistent forward, which isn’t saying much because the three they have are frequently in foul trouble. Good rebounder despite standing just 6-7. Who are the key bench players and what do they contribute to the team?

Jaden: Aside from Bryan Smith, who can knock down a shot or two when he doesn’t foul, Ryan Canty and Travion Leonard are the subs to watch. Both are forwards who are rebounders first and scorers second. What are the strengths of this year’s Fordham team?

Jaden: Fordham’s biggest strength is its rebounding, believe it or not. More often than not, the Rams win the battle of the boards, but that’s usually due to missed shots and putback opportunities. What are the weaknesses of this year’s Fordham team?

Jaden: Fordham’s weakness is inconsistent shooting coupled with a thin bench. When the Rams can’t hit a shot, Jon Severe usually chucks up a couple of threes, and when he’s cold, you’re in for a long night. Both teams have an exciting freshman who’s grabbed headlines (Jalen Jenkins at Mason, and Jon Severe at Fordham). Will one of them be taking home Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year honors?

Jaden: Severe, for all his faults, is probably the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, and when you average 20 points a game, it’s hard to ignore you. I haven’t seen Jenkins since a decent performance at Iona, but there’s no reason for him not to make the All-Rookie team. Are there any key statistics or trends we could watch for on Wednesday, that might indicate whether the game is going well or poorly for the Rams?

Jaden: Take a look at Fordham’s shot selection first and foremost. If they’re patient and smart in what they force up, they’ll stay in the game, but if they rush their efforts, not so much. The Rams were picked 11th in the A-10 preseason poll, went 7-6 in out of conference play, and have begun conference play with four straight losses. What has the season thus far revealed about this year’s team? How are they measuring up to expectations?

Jaden: So far, if nothing else, Fordham’s struggles to close games have been exposed. Tom Pecora continues to point to the youth, but when your team features an all-conference senior, that only takes you so far. This was supposed to be the year that Fordham turned the corner, and even though the Rams have already matched last year’s win total, this season is already a massive disappointment stemming from the 46-point loss to St. John’s. Can you tell us something interesting that most Mason fans wouldn’t know about Fordham University?

Jaden: Fordham is known for turning out great broadcasters. For example, Vin Scully, Mike Breen and Michael Kay all spent time at Rose Hill, just to name a few. Thanks, Jaden.

Founded: 1841
Type: Private (Jesuit)
Endowment: $492M
Location: New York City (The Bronx)
Campus: Urban
Students: 8,427 undergraduates
Men’s Basketball Program
Athletics Budget: $25.2M (2012)
Men’s Basketball Budget: $3.3M (2012)
Began Play: 1902
Joined A-10: 1995
A-10 Championships: None
NCAA Appearances: 4 (Most recent: 1992)
NCAA Record: 2-4 (.333)
NIT Appearances: 16 (Most recent: 1991)
Head Coach: Tom Pecora
Coaching Tenure: 4th season
Coaching Record: 31-74 (.295)
Arena: Rose Hill Gymnasium
Arena Nickname: “The Prairie”
Arena Opened: 1925
Arena Capacity: 3,470
Colors: Maroon and White
2013-14 Season
Preseason A-10: Picked 11th
Current Record: 7-10 (0-4)
RPI: 211
Pomeroy: 191
Good wins: at Manhattan
Bad losses: vs Sacred Heart, at Monmouth, at Duquesne
George Mason Series History
Meetings: 1
Record: Fordham leads, 1-0
Current Streak: Fordham, 1 win
Most Recently: 12/30/2000, Fordham won 64-55 at Santa Clara, CA

Meet the Atlantic 10: An introduction to each team in George Mason’s new conference
VCUSt. Joe’sUMassURI – Fordham – GW – SLU – Dayton – Duq. – St. Bona – Rich. – La Salle

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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