Always good to see our local teams getting some ESPN love, and especially a team and school that quite a few Wizards Extreme staff and members went to.
Let's go Patriots!!
Player of the week: Ryan Pearson, George Mason
Last week was quite a seven-day stretch for Pearson and the Patriots. Mason started the week by finding out it had received one of the marquee televised games during BracketBusters (at Northern Iowa Feb. 19). It's been five years since GMU made that magical run to the 2006 Final Four, but during that season the Patriots used a BracketBusters road win at Wichita State to help corral an at-large berth. So that was good news -- and the week only got better from there, as the Patriots had two key home games to determine their place in the Colonial Conference pecking order.
Well, they won them both quite easily, in large part because of the way Pearson played. The junior forward had double-doubles in both games, scoring 19 points and 12 boards in a 87-68 win over Hofstra and then 18 and 11 in a 62-45 win over defensive stalwart Old Dominion. Mason has now won nine straight games and is the clear favorite in the Colonial over VCU, ODU and Hofstra. The RPI profile is strong, and the Patriots are in position to possibly earn an at-large berth if they keep up their hot play. Two upcoming games at VCU and at UNI will tell a lot about where this team stands, but if Pearson can deliver another week like the last one Mason will be in good shape.
-- Andy Katz