The Colonial Athletic Association is Old Dominion’s to lose. But a few teams like George Mason, William & Mary, and VCU have a chance to be very competitive this season and potentially upset the Monarchs and earn an NCAA Tournament berth.
The Sports Bank’s 99 in 99 ranks the 72 power conference college basketball teams and top 27 mid-majors. Our countdown will lead right up to the start of the season and provide you will all the in-depth information you need to know about your team. Click here for #70-#99
By: David Kay
George Mason Patriots (T-3rd, 12-6 in CAA, 17-15 overall)
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Mike Morrison (Jr)/Johnny Williams (So)/Jonathan Arledge (Fr)
F: Ryan Pearson (Jr)/Paris Bennett (Fr)
G/F: Luke Hancock (So)/Isaiah Tate (Sr)
SG: Cam Long (Sr)/Sherod Wright (So)/Vertrail Vaughns (Fr)
PG: Andre Cornelius (Jr)/Rashad Whack (So)/Byron Allen (Fr)
Gone: F-Louis Birdsong, F-Kevin Foster (transfer-College of Central Florida)
Their magical run to the Final Four in 2006 will not be forgotten anytime soon. But since wearing Cinderella’s slipper, the Patriots have only made one trip to the NCAA Tournament in the past four years due to an influx of talent in the CAA.
With all five starters returning this season, GMU will once again be in the thick of the conference race. There is no superstar in that group, but instead a balanced attack that has a quality inside talent in Ryan Pearson and Mike Morrison, a dangerous three-point threat in Andre Cornelius, a versatile wings in Cam Long and Luke Hancock.
The Patriots also return some talent on their bench as Isaiah Tate, Sherrod Wright, and Johnny Williams all saw quality minutes a year ago. Redshirt freshmen Paris Bennett and Vertail Vaughns are both back after having to redshirt last year due to season-ending wrist injuries and should add even more depth.
Player to Watch: Cam Long, G
GMU’s leading scorer and assist man in 2009-2010, Long showed flashes at times but was also incredibly inconsistent. After shooting a very respectable 46.2% from the field his sophomore season, that number dropped to 38.1% last year. He by no means will need to carry the load for the Patriots this season, but a steadier Long could be the difference from competing with Old Dominion for the top spot in the CAA and finishing somewhere between third-fifth place.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/18, 11/19, 11/21 (Charleston Classic) vs. Georgetown/N.C. State/Charlotte/Wofford/East Carolina
12/1 vs. George Washington
12/22 at Duquesne
12/29 at Dayton
2/19 vs. TBA (ESPN’s Bracket Busters)
Other 99 in 99’S:
#71 Weber State
#74 Central Florida
#75 Wake Forest
#76 Georgia Tech
#78 Oklahoma State
#82 South Carolina
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#89 Boston College
#93 Oregon State
#97. Iowa State