We’re almost there, guys. We must press on. I’ll try really hard to not repeat anything Petey said about Mason in the article we posted yesterday.
The 11-13 Dayton Flyers find themselves traveling with their weary bones to Fairfax, VA this evening to face off against the truly mediocre George Mason Patriots in EagleBank Arena (which looks dangerously steep in pictures, if you’ve ever noticed). When polling a small group this week, it was clear that George Mason is the school UD fans are most likely to forget plays in our own conference. In regards to relevance, and rivalry history, there just isn’t much here. When you add the pressure of not losing to Fordham at home, which is a mere four days away, this game has about as little intrigue as a plus-sized porno. Nonetheless, Blackburn mailed in the Recon and shamelessly blamed Valentines Day, so I’m here. I won’t leave you people.
Jablo already covered this in the DDN, but the history of this matchup is short: In 2007 UD scheduled a home-and-home for 4 years with GMU on the heels of their final four run, and went 3-1 against the Patriots. Since GMU joined the A10 in 2013 they have been anything but relevant and, of course, UD has, so the Flyers have yet to lose to the Fairfax Militia in A10 play, going 4-0.
George Mason isn’t good at all. They share a 5-7 conference record with your Dayton Flyers, and come into Wednesday’s tilt at 11-14 overall. GMU is currently 1-9 vs the RPI top 150 and their best win on paper is *squints* St. Louis. Yeesh.
As you saw from the Q&A piece I did with Petey Buckets yesterday, Dave Paulsen is in his 3rd year as coach of what was clearly labeled as a rebuild after the dumpster fire Paul Hewitt left behind. I alluded to it in the Q&A, but in case you forgot, this is one of those “college basketball circle” stories that affected the trajectory of UD basketball. Hewitt was brought to George Mason after he was fired from Georgia Tech in 2011, with his replacement of course being Brian Gregory from the old U of D. Hewitt came to Mason on a 5 year deal worth roughly $750,000/year and didn’t even make it to year 5. Leeching off what was left over from the Final Four team in 2006, Hewitt won 46 games in his first two years, prompting GMU to finally make the jump out of the CAA into our beloved A10. In his first two years in the A10 conference he would win 20 games collectively, and GMU was forced to axe him with one year remaining in his deal, meaning Hewitt woke up every morning for the next calendar year laughing at all the money GMU was paying him to do nothing. College basketball is fucking wild, you guys.
In comes Dave Paulsen. Paulsen was hired from Bucknell in the wake of the Hewitt mess to bring GMU back to respectability and relevance in their new conference, something which he has yet to do, but from what I can gather from guys like Petey and our GMU-blogging friends, the magnifying glass will be brought over his head during the next two seasons. In the meantime, this year’s team just isn’t very good, but we must meet them anyways.
Otis Livingston is the dude for Mason, plain and simple. The junior guard averages 16.9ppg this year (good enough for 11th in the conference in front of Josh and Durrell at 12/13) to go along with 3 rebounds and 4 honest assists each night. He rarely comes off the floor, rarely fouls, but does have one of the meanest mustaches in the game right now. The kind that will get you kicked out of an upper-class suburban home. He’ll have to keep an eye on that as more white women become available to him on the Mason campus. Besides looking strangely like Timo Cruz in Coach Carter, Otis is also extremely charitable with the basketball, gifting his foes roughly 3 turnovers a game. None of us are perfect.
Otis’ main dude on Mason is 6’5 Jaire Grayer. Between Otis and Jaire, they account for 50% of the shots from this Mason team. I wouldn’t lie to you guys, they’re the whole team. Grayer reminds me of the dude in a pickup game who you know can play ball just by looking at him. Young man was built to hoop. He’s currently 5th in the conference in rebounds/gm (7.7), but has been less productive in the last few games after slowly coming back from a sprained foot injury that held him out against Richmond a few weeks ago. If he’s full-go (which he should be) he’ll do his very best to disrupt things in the paint.
Ok, I gave you all the information that kinda-sorta-wasn’t included in the Q&A. Mason has 6 other scholarship players, I’m not writing about them, Petey already did a far better job of being concise than I ever have. Go read the article, otherwise, I’m making some takes and wrapping up. This season is wearing me down.
- This will absolutely be UD’s best chance at another road win this year. After this, its trips to URI and La Salle.
- The game isn’t on national TV (again), despite UD’s best efforts to make you believe it is. If you don’t have Spectrum Sports in Ohio the game is blacked out on the internet, which I still can’t get my head around. Whatever, if you’re seeking out this game I can’t help you anymore.
- George Mason was John Crosby’s breakout game last year, I say he goes 2-for-2 and eclipses double digit points again against the Patriots. You heard it here, Crosby owns GMU, it’s his Arch-Baron Cup. The kid lives for this game.
- I’m coming clean everyone, this is the second game of the year I will not be watching (TN Tech was the other for curious minds). I just don’t have it in me.
- In previous years, GMU was just another possible stumbling block before we got to the big boys of the conference. This year? There is no possible way this game could matter less. I would say the only goal for this UD team is to avoid playing on the first day of the A10 tournament, but honestly, that doesn’t matter either. If you are holding out hope UD is going to make a run in DC, just know it is not based in any reality we have witnessed to this point. Get the young guys plenty of minutes, let’s see if DURRELL can score 30 in one of these games down the stretch and let’s fold this tent up and put it back in the closet until November.
I’ll reiterate my pic just because that’s how the recon goes: I refuse to pick this UD team on the road for the remainder of the year. I’ll be checking my phone around 8pm CT to learn the fate of our boys like a bandwagoner.
In the end, this game is just a tune up in preparation of not losing to Fordham at home on Saturday. Otis scores 20, Josh doesn’t score enough, the Flyers miss a bunch of threes and figure out how to lose, 78-74. I hope I’m wrong, I really do.
Wear red, stay LOWD, don’t lose to Fordham at home.