Meet the Atlantic 10: George Washington Preview

Posted In The Reading List - By Alan Kelly On Friday, January 24th, 2014 With 0 Comments

George Mason (7-12, 0-5) returns home Saturday for a noon tip-off against George Washington (15-3, 3-1), in the first A-10 meeting of what should become a fierce local rivalry. The school has declared the game a Green Out, with free Mason green t-shirts for the first 5,000 fans.

George Mason is also hosting a pre-game block party in Lot K for Mason students, fans, and alumni, beginning at 10am. Giveaways will include free breakfast items, hot drinks, Mason Foam Axes, and other spirit items, games, and prizes.

As reported previously, the two schools have chosen to call the new series the Revolutionary Rivalry, and to hold a season-long face-off across all sports, with each winning team awarded a point toward the Tri-Corner Hat Trophy, to be awarded at the end of the school year.

Continuing our quest to meet each of the Atlantic 10 teams, I asked Andrew Wiseman of Colonial Hoops to answer some questions about the Colonials. George Washington just lost their second-leading scorer, Kethan Savage (13.4 ppg), for the next six-to-eight weeks due to a broken left foot. What impact will this have on the Colonials, and who do you expect to fill the void?

Andrew: It’s terrible! Kethan has been huge, often picking up the slack when other players are cold and sometimes dominating and willing the team back. I’m not sure anybody can fill the void but it surely means more time for Patricio Garino, who has had some big games lately. I assume it also means more time for freshmen SG Nick Griffin and PG Miguel Cartagena. Neither have seen much time, with Griffin sometimes not even playing, but he’s supposed to be a shooter so maybe it’s good that he’ll get some more time, especially with Maurice Creek leaving after this year. With Savage’s injury, the Colonials will need a new starting five on Saturday. Who’s in the expected lineup, and can you tell us about each starter’s role on the team?

Andrew: Point guard Joe McDonald, who is mainly a distributor but can score — I expect his scoring load to increase. Maurice Creek will still be shooting guard, and he’s already the leading scorer. Garino will start too, he actually volunteered to come off the bench earlier in the season so other guys could start, and he started a bit last year. He’s kind of a do-everything guy, great defense, scoring, a bit of rebounding. Then the big men, Kevin Larsen and Zeek Armwood. I figure their roles won’t change, but we may see more of John Kopriva, who usually gets 5-10 minutes. If he gets a few boards, a few baskets and some stops, the team will be happy. Might also see more of Paris Maragkos, a reserve forward. Who are the key bench players and what do they contribute to the team?

Andrew: The bench was already pretty short. Garino got as many minutes as the starters, and theres Kopriva, followed by Cartagena in a reserve role. Sometimes Coach Lonergan will do a line change for all the reserves, which is funny. What are the strengths of this year’s GW team?

Andrew: A lot! The good guys have beaten some big teams. They’re capable of fantastic defense (at times), they almost never turn it over, and they can score in bunches. Shooting is greatly improved from last year. What are the weaknesses of this year’s GW team?

Andrew: Free throw shooting has been bad, including things like missing the front end of one-and-ones. At time interior offense and defense suffer, though Creek and Larsen have also had wonderful games. I like them both a lot, and lately they’ve seemed to step it up. Defending and allowing open shots can be a problem too. Are there any key statistics or trends we could watch for on Saturday, that might indicate whether the game is going well or poorly for the Colonials?

Andrew: Probably turnovers — if GW turns it over a lot, it probably signals bigger problems: that they aren’t executing in general. The Colonials were picked a lowly 10th in the A-10 preseason poll, but went a surprising 12-2 in out of conference play, and have begun conference play with three wins in four games (including, to the joy of many Mason fans, a win over VCU). What has the season thus far revealed about this year’s team? Can they win the A-10 title?

Andrew: It’s shown me that Lonergan is a really good coach — he’s had some great game plans that worked to perfection (like against Creighton), rallied the team after some lackluster first halves, and really helped last year’s freshmen develop. The sophomores this year have all been really good, and Maurice Creek couldn’t have been a better fit. Hard to say about the title. It’s possible but who knows? I’m really hoping for an NCAA bid. What do you think of having George Mason in the A-10 as a regional rival? Was the name ‘Revolutionary Rivalry’ a good choice for the new clash, or is there a better name you’d like to see used in the future?

Andrew: I think it’s great! A few years ago there was the Battle of the Orange Line, and I was thrilled that GW started marketing that game, and it’s even better to have you in the conference. The name is fine with me — or maybe “Battle of the Georges,” partially to shame Georgetown, who haven’t played GW since I think the early 80s, despite being about 8 blocks away. The two teams have actively played each other more than any other school, even though it’s been that long. But I’m glad — just wish your arena was closer to the Metro! Thanks for your time, Andrew! Our schools have at least one thing in common: Georgetown won’t schedule us, either!

Founded: 1821
Type: Private
Endowment: $1.56B
Location: Washington, DC
Campus: Urban
Students: 10,464 undergraduates
Men’s Basketball Program
Athletics Budget: $20.2M (2012)
Men’s Basketball Budget: $2.8M (2012)
Began Play: 1913
Joined A-10: 1976
A-10 Championships: 2
NCAA Appearances: 10 (Most recent: 2007)
NCAA Record: 4-10 (.286)
NIT Appearances: 4 (Most recent: 2004)
Head Coach: Mike Lonergan
Coaching Tenure: 3rd season
Coaching Record: 38-41 (.481)
Arena: The Charles E. Smith Center
Arena Opened: 1975
Arena Capacity: 5,000
Colors: Buff and Blue
Mascot: George, the Colonial
Student Section: Colonial Army
2013-14 Season
Preseason A-10: Picked 10th
Current Record: 15-3 (3-1)
RPI: 34
Pomeroy: 37
Top wins: vs VCU, vs Maryland, vs Creighton
Bad losses: None
George Mason Series History
Meetings: 12
Record: GW leads, 10-2
Current Streak: 1 win, Mason
Most Recently: Mason won 60-46, in Fairfax, on 12/1/2010

Meet the Atlantic 10: An introduction to each team in George Mason’s new conference
VCUSt. Joe’s – UMass – URI – 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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