Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Mason? Why Not?

You say you’ve broken out in green and gold? Have you caught Mason Madness? Maybe you’re looking for a reason to believe the Patriots could win it all? Look no further.

It says right here that with what Jim Larranaga’s suddenly Cinderella assortment of players from the DeeCee/Baltimore area -- a hodgepodge? -- has already accomplished, there’s no real reason for them to fear Florida. After Connecticut, sure, bring on LSU or UCLA.

In covering VCU basketball over the years I’ve seen Mason play at the Siegel Center and at the Coliseum during the CAA tournament a bunch of times. While this year’s team must be the best one Larranaga has assembled, chemistry-wise, this Mason team is a lot like every squad that he has coached -- they beat their opponents in many small subtle ways. They hustle.

To tell the truth, it’s always been a little baffling to me when they win. The top teams in the CAA usually seem to have the Patriots out-manned, but they are consistently one of the best teams in the league, anyway.

Consequently, I’ve figured for some time that Larranaga must be a hell of a coach.

While most other coaches occasionally whine, or even show anger after games in the media room, Larranaga praises what he sees as praiseworthy and skips the rest. Following a win, or a loss, he acts like a man -- a gentleman -- who is grateful to have a good job doing exactly what he likes best. And, he is at the same time forthright in answering tough questions. This coach consistently sets a good example for his players. His "sudden" success is the product of doing it the right way for a long time.

Below are links to a few stories about George Mason’s dream run to the Final Four:

Yahoo Sports: Why Not George Mason?
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Seniors' moments carrying GMU
Sports Illustrated: Don't bet against them
Photo from GMU

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