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The George Mason Patriots: The Sleeper No One Wants to Face

The Colonial Athletic Association is often times overlooked by pundits and gamblers alike when talking about the NCAA Tournament, but this year should be different with the emergence of George Mason.  In fact, George Mason enters the third week of February with an impressive 23-5 record, including registering thirteen consecutive wins.  And, before college basketball fans discount those victories, consider that the Patriots have dominated the likes of  Harvard, Duquesne, Old Dominion, Virginia Commonwealth and Northern Iowa. 

Overall, George Mason is 23-5 SU and 21-5 ATS this season, including 13-0 SU and 11-1 ATS at home, 9-3 SU and 9-2 ATS on the road and 14-2 SU and 14-2 ATS versus conference opponents.   Despite an ever-increasing point spread caused by their success, the Patriots continue to cash tickets for sports investors, which speaks volumes about the consistency and focus displayed by Jim Larranaga’s squad.

Offensive Statistics:

  1. 74.4 points per game
  2. 48.1% field goal efficiency
  3. 40.2% three-point efficiency
  4. 70.0% free throw efficiency

Defensive Statistics:

  1. 61.6 points per game
  2. 40.5% field goal efficiency
  3. 30.7% three-point efficiency

Before the 2010-2011 season started, George Mason head coach Jim Larranaga stated that the Patriots would need to improve its defensive intensity in order to compete in the conference.  “The very, very first thing for us to improve upon is defense and rebounding the ball.  If we just do those two things, we’ll be dramatically improved.”  Well, the Patriots have certainly lived up to their coach’s expectations this season by playing outstanding defense, and its precisely that improvement on the defensive end of the floor that could launch George Mason deep into this year’s NCAA Tournament.  With a veteran team consisting of five returning starters, including a talented senior and two talented juniors, the Patriots are my sleeper team to make some serious noise in March.

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