Monday, March 27, 2006

Why George Mason Will Win the National Title

Yesterday George Mason stunned the sports world with an overtime victory over top-seeded Connecticut that gave the Patriots a berth in the Final Four.  Two weeks ago, no one could have imagined that a #11 seed from the Colonial Athletic Association would go on such an improbable run.  However, now that the team has gotten this far, the national championship is all but assured.  There are countless reasons why George Mason will win the title, detailed as follows.



New England lost in the AFC playoffs.  Recently, you could count on a team called the Patriots to win a title.  It didn’t happen in the Super Bowl this year, so it will have to occur at the Final Four.


They won’t see Hofstra at the Final Four.  The Pride provided the Patriots with their final two defeats of the season, including one in the conference tournament.  Florida and either LSU or UCLA will be a piece of cake by comparison.


George Mason is similar to Perry Mason.  Perry Mason consistently won IN court.  George Mason consistently wins ON the court.


George Mason can decide its own fate, unlike Marsha Mason and James Mason.  Between them, Marsha and James Mason were nominated for seven Academy Awards, but neither won an Oscar.  In contrast, George Mason does not have to rely on voters to decide whether it wins or loses.


Other DC-area teams have won before.  George Mason could join the 1984 Georgetown and 2002 Maryland teams as national champions.  Having Patrick Ewing on the roster would have been nice, but the Patriots will make do.


George Mason won NCAA titles in women’s soccer in 1985 and men’s indoor track in 1996.  Obviously the school is destined for one national championship each decade.


Scott Cherry is an assistant coach for George Mason.  Cherry was a member of North Carolina’s 1993 national championship team.  None of the other Final Four participants has a coach who played on a national champion.  So the Gators, Bruins, and Tigers are kidding themselves if they think they have a chance.


George Mason is undefeated all-time versus SEC teams in the postseason.  The Patriots defeated Tennessee in the first round of the 2004 postseason NIT.  So Florida is doomed, as is LSU if it advances to the final.


The program had no NCAA tournament victories before this season.  George Mason was clearly due and is making up for lost time.


George Mason features Jai Lewis, not Guy Lewis.  Guy Lewis reached five Final Fours as the coach at Houston, but he never won a title.  George Mason’s frontcourt starter is Jai Lewis.  So that’s totally different.


Dr. Alan Merten is the president of George Mason.  Merten was the dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Florida from 1986 to 1989.  His inside information from Gainesville will pay huge dividends for the Patriots.


Page 2 of the George Mason media guide indicates the best time to reach coach Jim Larranaga.  This note displays politeness and shows that Larranaga is approachable.  Good things happen to good people.  By the way, the best time is between 10am and noon, Monday through Friday.


They own schools from the 2000 Final Four.  George Mason has already defeated Michigan State and North Carolina in this tournament, so Florida has no chance on Saturday.  Wisconsin tanked in the first round out of fear that they might have to eventually face the Patriots.


Florida coach Billy Donovan is loyal to his alma mater.  Both Donovan and Larranaga are Providence alumni.  Donovan has already coached in a national title game, so expect him to step aside and allow Larranaga to have that experience as well.


The colonial statesman George Mason has been called “the father of the Bill of Rights.”  Mason continually lobbied for the Bill of Rights to be added to the Constitution.  The Patriots follow their namesake’s example by being tenacious on the court.  They also benefited from a provision in the Bill of Rights allowing mid-major conferences to receive multiple NCAA tournament bids.



George Mason will have to wait until next Monday to win the national championship.  However, the Patriots have already won the hearts of the nation’s sports fans.  In doing so, the program represents something truly unusual in the DC area these days: a George with a high approval rating.