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Things You Didn't Know About Mason (Pt. I)

John Vaughan, entering the post-game fun. (John McDonnell - TWP)

After the nets had been cut and the court had been stormed, while the post-game NCAA tournament berth-clinching sandwiches were still being consumed, the CAA champion George Mason Patriots sat around their victorious dressing room on Monday night and revealed 13 things you might not have known about their team. This, then, is Part I of a series.

1) Forward Louis Birdsong calls fellow forward Vlad Moldoveanu "The Croatian Sensation," which would be an excellent nickname, if Moldoveanu were actually from Croatia.

"He's from near that area I believe," Birdsong said.

"[Just] because I'm European, I'm not from Croatia, Lou," said Moldoveanu, who is Romanian.

"I mean, it sounds cool, Vlad," Birdsong responded. "Just go with it."

(In fairness to Birdsong, he also calls Moldoveanu "the Romanian Assassin.")

2) Senior forward Will Thomas wears many pairs of socks at once. "I think five," guessed John Vaughan. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, five."

"Three," Thomas corrected. "To fill out the tennis shoes. That's how you roll your ankle, when you don't have enough socks on."

"Do you need to know how they get washed?" volunteered team manager Scott Lombardi.

Thomas also wears a three-year old pair of Mason practice shorts under his real game shorts, in addition to several layers of pads and wraps and an undershirt that's also three years old.

"So I be thicker," he explained. "You know, the jerseys aren't that thick. When I take off all my stuff I look like I'm 215. But when I've got all my stuff on, I look more like I'm 230."

3) About a month ago, in an airport, the Patriots became obsessed with Uno. They now play eight-or-nine handed games on every road trip, "[for] like, hours," Darryl Monroe said. "Three hours, four hours." Monroe, Vaughan and Folarin Campbell are reportedly the best players .

Freshman Isaiah Tate, meantime, claims to be the best chess player on the team. "It's all about the mind, man," he said. "Mind over matter."

4) Remember how Coach Jim Larranaga gained fame for his pre-game aphorisms during that Final Four run? His players have followed suit.

"If you begin with the end in mind, you'll have success beyond your wildest dreams," forward Chris Fleming said to peals of laughter and shouts of "He did NOT just say that."

"Me and Chris figured out that after every quote, every day, if we say 'We're gonna have success beyond our wildest dreams,' everything is gonna work out," Tate said. "We said it today before the game."

"That's that DeMatha education," a teammate snickered at Tate, who indeed attended DeMatha.

5) Birdsong played with a full bladder against Northeastern in the CAA quarterfinals and registered one of the nastiest dunks this postseason has seen. His teammates wanted him to do likewise in the final against William & Mary, but Birdsong refused.

"When we played Northeastern he didn't use the bathroom the whole game, and he's dunking on somebody," Vaughan said. "Then he used the bathroom and [went] out there and started hacking today, about to foul out, man. And [Laimis] Kisielius gave him the business."

"It was hurting me, so I had to," Birdsong said, in his defense.

"He can't use the bathroom no more," Vaughan decided. "Can't use the bathroom no more."

"Well, I'm gonna have to," Birdsong said, "because I might have some bladder problems."

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 11, 2008; 5:29 PM ET
Categories:  College Basketball  
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Next: Mason on the Road to New Orleans

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