Saturday, February 21st , 8:30PM
Qwest Center Omaha
Radio: Big Sports 590 AM or Bigsports590.com
TV: ESPNU (Cox Ch. 220 in Omaha)
George Mason Relies on Defense (OWH)
The Jays step out of conference for Bracketbuster Saturday and carry a 7 game winning streak into the game against George Mason. Here is what we need to know about George Mason
- George Mason is 0-2 all-time against Creighton with the two games coming in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.
- The Patriots are 18-8 on the season and 11-5 in their conference. The best win of the season for them is against Vermont in overtime in the opening game of the season. George Mason did play @ Dayton and lost by 4.
- George Mason is 5-8 away from home this season and has lost its past five games away from The Patriot Center.
- John Vaughn, Cam Long and Darryl Monroe all average double-figures and also lead the team in minutes played.
- George Mason has lost their last 5 road games.
- George Mason just elected a drag queen as it’s homecoming queen.
Ahh, the Bracketbusters. I remember when this was a nice small set of teams that were pretty consistent and developed in 2003 to have a chance to matchup some teams that were competitive in the past and could have an extra out of conference game late in the season to show how good they were and to get a quality win. The original 18 teams in the first year of the Bracketbusters were Gonzaga, Kent State, Southern Illinois, Creighton, Illinois-Chicago, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Western Kentucky and Cal-Santa Barbara, Tulsa, Fresno State, Ball State, Bowling Green, Detroit, Hawaii, Illinois State, Northern Iowa and Wisconson-Milwaukee.
The 2nd year of the Bracketbusters, it expanded then to 20 teams and got some teams some good exposure. At the same time however, there were some teams that started making noise that weren’t part of Brackebusters and some of the teams in the Bracketbusters at the time weren’t as good. ESPN, always one to do more marketing and TV ideas decided to expand the field. Last season the field expanded to 102 teams. This year is no different, with again 102 teams. However, some of the teams that made this event what it was in the beginning (Gonzaga, Western Kentucky and Tulsa) are no longer part of the Bracketbusters and the significance of this has taken a hit. Now, the Valley is sort of the flagship conference for this event and will probably continue to be through 2010.
Now to the matchup with George Mason. It is really the best matchup out there for the Jays that was still available and shoudl make for an interesting game. Both teams are fighting for their conference championship. Both teams are hoping for that outside chance to get noticed by the media and the NCAA Selection Committee. With the losses lately by Northern Iowa, Davidson, Butler and St. Mary’s, the Creighton-George Mason game looks even better to the media types. Yes, ESPNU isn’t available to the most people out there, but a TV game is a TV game. The Jays get this one and the showdown on ESPN2 against Illinois St. next week.
The Jays are riding high on a lot of confidence through this 7 game winning streak. The team is really playing great team ball and different guys are stepping up in different ways each game. With a large crowd expected (under 1000 tickets remaining as of Friday afternoon) and a late start time, this has all the makings of a great game and a great opportunity for the Jays to show what they can do. I’m pretty excited about this game and hopefully everyone else is as it sort of gives everyone a chance to not have to think about conference play and just enjoy a good basketball game. Heck even the students might show up!
George Mason does hold opponents to 60 points a game, but I think the Jays will be able to push things a little bit. In the end, the Jays depth will help them in this one and the long travel for George Mason and the short preparation time and unknowns of both teams will benefit the Jays. It will be a close game, but the confidence is high with this team and Booker Woodfox will show the nation why he is the #1 3-point shooter in the nation.
Prediction: Jays 83, George Mason 76