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The Big Twenty: George Mason's Final Four run changed the college hoops world

Discussion in 'George Mason Basketball' started by jessej, Feb 5, 2020.

  1. jessej

    jessej Specialist

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    https://www.nbcsports.com/washingto...mIJmofo1Pm5Av6CmjxikzQu0X1N8-LfJ0ICLxGqQ0QXQI

    NBC Sports Washington is be rolling out the 20 biggest stories in DMV sports in the past 20 years. Here is No. 8.

    When March Madness circles around every year there is always one question on everyone’s mind: Who is going to be the next Cinderella story?

    Or before these fairytale runs became more frequent: Which team is going to be the next George Mason?

    In 2006 the George Mason Patriots from Fairfax, Va made their improbable run to the Final Four, taking down behemoths of the sport in the process. The Patriots toppled Michigan State, North Carolina, Wichita State and Connecticut to become the CAA’s first-ever representative in the Final Four. Each upset more far-fetched than the last.

    Their accomplishment was nothing ever seen before from a non-traditional program.

    Loyola Marymount’s 1990 push to the Elite Eight was the furthest any program of its kind had reached. A mid-major going to the Final Four? That was inconceivable. George Mason did it, and they did against the best in college basketball. They battled through a sea of bluebloods, capturing America’s heart in the process.

    They also indirectly stole my heart and changed how the rest of my life would transpire.

    Seeing Lamar Butler grab the lose rebound at the buzzer and skipping over to the corner of the court after beating one of Jim Calhoun’s dominant Connecticut teams is one of my earliest sports memories. A point to the crowd and a couple of Butler’s body-controlled fist-pumps are all I prominently have stored in my memory bank from that contest. Shameful, really, for how much the game likely transformed the rest my life.

    I watched the game from afar and like any middle schooler of the time had my newspaper bracket nearby. The result had no bearing on how I did, I had North Carolina – who Mason beat two rounds prior – in the Final Four. Little did I know that less than 15 years later that school, and perhaps that moment, had such a huge bearing in my life.

    George Mason was the lone in-state, public university I applied for during my senior year of high school. As a courtesy to my parents, I sent in an application to the suburban-D.C. institution simply because I knew of their famous flash-in-the-pan Final Four run.

    Well, it all worked out and I became a Patriot. I’m a two-time graduate of the school (2016, BA; 2019 MA). They gave me my first post-graduate job while also paying for my second degree. Spending a better-part of a decade at the school, I also met my fiancé there. By George, that school gave me a lot and who knows what would have happened had Denham Brown’s three went in for UConn that day.

    George Mason is the ultimate Cinderella Story. Sure, Jim Valvano’s 1983 N.C. State squad won a title as a No. 6 seed along with several other underdog programs. N.C. State, though, is far different than George Mason. Outside the state of Virginia, no one knew who the Patriots were and that all changed in March of 2006.

    My story is not the only one. After Mason’s historic feat, it soon became less of a rarity. Butler, VCU and Loyola-Chicago all have all since followed with magical runs of their own. The Patriots blazed the trail for future mid-majors and each year we will all be looking for another to follow in their footsteps.

    But it all started with the Patriots and ever since the dream has been alive.
    mason89, Patriotsince81 and Walter like this.
  2. patriotchild

    patriotchild Starter

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    Seems like “By George” may have some copy right claims from this article haha.
    By George. likes this.
  3. Walter

    Walter All-American

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  4. gmubrian

    gmubrian Starter

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    “WSU’s dribble handoff offense was helpless against Houston’s athleticism on the perimeter. “

    I am starting to see a trend with teams running that style offense, especially against athletically better teams...
  5. Bricker

    Bricker Starter

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    I watched part of this game. It was an absolute bloodbath. Houston guys just toying with the Shockers...
  6. Five Two

    Five Two All-Conference

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    This is their 3rd season in the AAC. Their first year in the conference they tied for 2nd and made the NCAAs. Last year they came in 6th and made the NIT semi finals.

    This year they are 17-6 with OOC wins over Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, South Carolina, Ole Miss and VCU.

    Yesterday's debacle was their 3rd loss in a row (Tulsa and Cincy prior to Houston).
    sleeperpick likes this.
  7. patriotchild

    patriotchild Starter

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    This is the program that I think we should also compare ourselves to given this history of the bracket buster in 2006, which put both on the map. Long run worked out for WSU way better.
    Other than keeping Marshall around they seem to have built a program in was we failed to. Similar to vcu.
  8. GMUgemini

    GMUgemini Hall of Famer

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    They were averaging like 11k fans per game before their final four.

    The other thing to consider is they made the Sweet 16 in 2006 with us but didn’t go to the tournament again until 2013 and had their own Final Four run, so there is still a chance for us to build something here, but we’ve got to build underneath any success that might come so that when it does the infrastructure is already in place to sustain the program. We didn’t have that infrastructure there in 2006.
    sleeperpick likes this.
  9. Leesburg Chankenstank III

    Leesburg Chankenstank III All-American

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    Also the Koch brothers pretty much built that program. We have no such sugar daddies. We have Mason Mom.

    https://www.newyorker.com/sports/sp...ta-state-into-a-college-basketball-powerhouse
    sleeperpick likes this.
  10. JDK

    JDK Specialist

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    faded and dusty glory
  11. mkaufman1

    mkaufman1 Moderator Staff Member

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  12. PoorManProfit

    PoorManProfit All-Conference

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    This is absurd. Wichita State was on the map. Comparing G Mas hoops to Wichy is really a slap in the face to the Shockers.
  13. EXpatriot13

    EXpatriot13 Starter

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    If I was in the AD, I'd be way more concerned about the fact we (likely) haven't made the tournament in 10 years vs. the dusty Final Four banner hanging in the rafters. We won't beat the dead horse of GMU not capitalizing (men's basketball) on their FF run, waste of time.
    PoorManProfit likes this.
  14. mkaufman1

    mkaufman1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Sadly, 10 years isn't that long in comparison to many other programs. That said, I have to think many of them are just as frustrated as us.
  15. patriotchild

    patriotchild Starter

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    Let’s hope we aren’t following the Rutgers model.
  16. mkaufman1

    mkaufman1 Moderator Staff Member

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    I certainly hope not, hell I wouldn't even want to follow the URI model (I think they waited 20 years)

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