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Posted at 2:26 PM ET, 02/22/2011

NCAA tournament 2011: Why is George Mason unranked?

By Eric Prisbell

I hardly ever look at the Associated Press top 25. It is highly subjective and it is not part of the criteria the NCAA tournament selection committee considers when handing out bids and seeds. Also, I try to look at a team's entire body of work and try - try - not to be reactionary after one big win or one big loss (sometimes it is hard not to be reactionary).

So when I heard that George Mason, which owns the nation's longest winning streak (13 games), at first I was surprised. I have included George Mason in my mock bracket longer than most people this season. And I definitely would have voted the Patriots 24th or 25th the past two weeks. But the more I thought about it, I'm fine with Mason being unranked this week. I don't think it's a significant oversight by a lot of poll voters.

I have Mason seeded No. 7 right now, and most people have the Patriots seeded No. 7 or No. 8. Using that as a guide, that would put them anywhere from 25th to 32nd on the S-curve, which essentially is the big board list of NCAA tournament teams seeded 1 through 68. Unfortunately, we don't know if Mason barely missed the cut in the minds of some voters - which should be the case - or whether they were not even on their radar - which would be a problem.

Mason did not beat a great team Saturday when it rallied from a 10-point deficit at Northern Iowa. But it won a road game in a completely unfamiliar and at times hostile setting, which should count for something. I came away more impressed than I had been after seeing Mason in person. And you hope that voters and, much more importantly, selection committee members got to see that game on ESPN2. It is not just that Mason has won 13 straight, but it is that for the most part Mason has been dominating opponents in a strong mid-major league.

If I were a Mason fan - and I know many and have heard from even more recently - don't give the top 25 rankings a second thought. Keep tabs on NCAA tournament seed projections, root on the Patriots to win out, and keep your fingers crossed that they can avoid the 8/9 seeds. Eight teams will wind up in the 8/9 matchups, which makes reaching the Sweet 16 particularly difficult. If I were a fan, I'd rather Mason be a 10th or even an 11th seed (which worked well in 2006) than in the 8/9 games.

Look at some potential matchups:

George Mason gets a No. 8 seed:
George Mason (8) vs. UCLA (9)
Second round: winner vs. Ohio State (1)

George Mason gets a No. 10 seed:
George Mason (10) vs. Temple (7)
Second round: winner vs. San Diego State (2)

George Mason gets a No. 11 seed:
George Mason (11) vs. Missouri (6)
Second round: winner vs. Purdue (3)

No shame in being a No. 11, although the Patriots appear to be headed toward a higher seed.

By Eric Prisbell  | February 22, 2011; 2:26 PM ET
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Next: Connecticut's Jim Calhoun sanctioned; team avoids postseason ban


Good article.

But this needs an editor:

"So when I heard that George Mason, which owns the nation's longest winning streak (13 games), at first I was surprised."

When you heard that George Mason what?

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | February 23, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

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