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Posted at 9:44 AM ET, 02/16/2011

NCAA tournament 2011: How high can George Mason climb?

By Eric Prisbell

One of the more difficult questions to ponder is how high George Mason can climb if it wins out. At the moment, the Patriots, who have won 12 straight games, are roughly an 8/9 seed in the NCAA tournament. I want to compare their profile to that of Tennessee and St. John's, two power conference teams that are in the mix for No. 6 or No. 7 seeds.

George Mason
Record: 22-5
RPI: 21
SOS: 66
Vs. top 50: 2-1
Vs. top 100: 8-4
Best win: Old Dominion (30)
Worst loss: Wofford (158)
Road-neutral court: 9-5
Comment: Look at the recent scores of George Mason games. The Patriots are dominating their opponents. What more can they do?

St. John's
Record: 16-9
RPI: 15
SOS: 1
Vs. top 50: 5-6
Vs. top 100: 9-8
Best win: Georgetown (3)
Worst loss: at Fordham (252)
Road-neutral court: 7-6
Comment: The Red Storm has five wins against top 25 RPI teams. That's impressive and it more than offsets the ghastly loss at Fordham. No one has played a tougher schedule.

Record: 15-10
RPI: 25
SOS: 2
Vs. top 50: 6-4
Vs. top 100: 10-7
Best win: vs. Pittsburgh (6)
Worst loss: at Charlotte (193)
Road-neutral court: 6-5
Comment: The Vols have been nothing if not erratic. They have some impressive victories and some questionable losses. They'd had better watch out because they have lost three straight and could slide right out of the field with a few more losses.

This is a tough one. You can only play who is on your conference schedule. And few teams could do a better job than what the Patriots have done the last 12 games. It would be great to see Mason play a top 25 RPI team. It has not played one all season and won't get a chance to until perhaps in the NCAA tournament. And Northern Iowa is 76 in the RPI and won't provide much of a boost Saturday.

So which team would you seed higher? The emerging mid-major that is demolishing everything in its path? Or the erratic high-major team that has a ton of losses but is capable of beating elite teams on its schedule. Tough call and there is no right answer. I'd give a slight edge to St. John's and Tennessee, but that would change, in my view, if Mason wins out.

By Eric Prisbell  | February 16, 2011; 9:44 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: NCAA tournament 2011: What is the First Four?
Next: NCAA tournament 2011: Georgetown, Kansas resume comparison


St Johns might have one of the most bizarre resumes I've ever seen. 0-2 against lower tier A10 teams; wins at WV, Cincy, Marquette, but a bunch of home losses. Lost to RPI 250 team but also beat 3 RPI top ten teams. They could lose three more games and still easily get in.

Posted by: Kev29 | February 16, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I think if Mason had more opportunities to play Top 50 teams, I think they would win quite a few. The high majors are overrated. Drexel, a middle of the pack CAA team, beat Louisville at home. If the CAA teams played the Big East more often you would see how overrated they are and how underrated the CAA is. But playing one game at the beginning of the season at their home court is just unfair. If they were as good as they say they are they would come play mid majors at their court.

Posted by: bj7499 | February 16, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

All you have to know about how good the CAA - and specifically George Mason - is, is to realize that the last time an ACC or Big East team played a game at Mason was 1985. Maryland and Georgetown each played a game at the brand-new Patriot Center that year.

Since then, nada. Because these so-called power conference schools know that they would not continue to be called "power conferences" is their teams kept losing to so-called mid-major teams. This is especially true if the "power" school and the "mid-major" are in the same regional area and competing for the same recruits.

When Mason went to the Final-Four, all five starters on that team came from Maryland high schools. So GMU is already stealing recruits from Maryland. Judging by Maryland's and GMU's performances this season, that trend is not stopping. So I think you'd have to put a gun to Gary William's head at this point to schedule GMU in his lifetime.

Fear the turtle? HA! What a joke! Name the place and the time, you overrated lightweights.

Posted by: noslok | February 16, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

lighten up francis

Posted by: slick3 | February 16, 2011 8:29 PM | Report abuse

First things first: Take care of business at Northern Iowa.

The rise of the CAA continues.

Posted by: WaPoPimp | February 17, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

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