Mason’s Men’s Basketball Wins Bid in NCAA Tournament

Posted: March 9, 2011 at 4:54 pm, Last Updated: March 13, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Photo by Evan Cantwell

Courtesy of George Mason University Athletics

The George Mason men’s basketball team was rewarded for a record-breaking regular season as the Patriots drew the No. 8 seed in the East Region of the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, announced Sunday night as the 68-team field was revealed. Mason will take on No. 9-seed Villanova on Friday in Cleveland, Ohio.

It is the sixth NCAA berth for the Patriots, and the second at-large selection. Mason is one of three Colonial Athletic Association teams to earn a spot in the field.

Friday’s game will mark Mason’s fifth NCAA appearance under head coach Jim Larranaga and the third in the last six years for the Patriots. Mason’s eight-seed is the highest in school history and the best in the CAA since the 1986 Navy Midshipmen were a No. 7 seed.

Mason will take on the Wildcats in the 8/9 matchup, the fifth meeting between the two schools and the second straight year Mason will battle the Big East foe. The Patriots have dropped all four of their prior meetings, including a 69-68 last-second loss to VU in Puerto Rico last season and a 84-76 loss at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando on Nov. 23, 2007.

The Patriots earned the CAA regular season title and a 16-2 record in conference play, the best record in school history and matching the CAA record set by VCU in 2006-07.

Mason currently sits at 26-6, a school record for regular season wins and one shy of the school record set by the 2005-06 Final Four team. Mason’s loss a week ago to VCU in the CAA Championship semifinals snapped the nation’s longest winning streak, a school record of 16 games.

Villanova stands at 21-11 on the season and was 9-9 in Big East play, tying for ninth place. The Wildcats are one of 11 schools from that conference to earn a bid, and stood 31st in the latest Ratings Percentage Index ranking. VU is on a five-game winless streak, including a 70-69 decision to USF in the first round of the Big East Tournament. Three Wildcats average double-digit scoring, led by Corey Fisher who contributes 15.4 points per game.

George Mason is 4-5 in NCAA Tournament play, including a 68-50 loss to Notre Dame in their most recent appearance following the 2008 CAA Championship.  All four of the Patriots’ victories came in the 2006 run to the Final Four.

Ticket information and more can be found by visiting Mason’s NCAA Tournament Information page.

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