Something tells me this year’s George Mason vs VCU game in Fairfax will be a close one. It’s just been that way this season for the Patriots. Despite some bad losses at home this year (Davidson), I feel like this one will come down to the wire because of the history between these two teams and Mason’s recent play. In their last outing Mason looked dead against Duquesne on the road but battled back only to fall in double overtime. Their previous two home games include a buzzer beater against Saint Joe’s and game that came down to clutch free-throws against Saint Louis, both close wins.
Mason will without a doubt need that late-game toughness again tomorrow against the Rams. They’ve had a week to prepare for the upcoming press they will face and will have to figure out how to get both Otis Livingston II and Jaire Grayer going early. Three-pointers will be huge as VCU is allowing 37.7% from their opponents (13th in A-10) from there in conference only games so far. Mason has been living and dying behind the arch for awhile now and that won’t change Saturday. They’ll have to find a way to get Goanar Mar open looks from there and let’s not forget about Javon Greene:
Greene on fire pic.twitter.com/KwP6D4eXF7
— Ryan Kish (@gmuhoops) January 18, 2018
Another big factor in this game is Mason’s guards handling the ball against VCU’s defense. The Rams are far off from their “Havoc” days but still press a ton. Mason’s struggled at times when opposing teams force the ball out of Otis’ hands and you can bet VCU will be trying to do that every possession. As a whole they’ve handled the press well in certain games this season but will have to maintain ball security and look for the open shots to get ahead of the Rams early on.
I like Mason’s chances if they can take advantage of open three-pointer looks, get to the free-throw line, and keep Justin Tillman off the offensive glass. Hopefully they can feed off the big crowd at EagleBank and have a strong start. The play of Otis and Grayer will be huge especially for Grayer. He’s been hot and cold lately and Otis will draw a lot of attention. Grayer has to be strong on the boards and get on the scoreboard early. They can’t afford another repeat of the start of the GW game.
I would guess this is a close game that eventually comes down to free-throws, which SHOULD favor Mason but with this season, who knows.