When the final buzzer sounded at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va. on Wednesday night, the George Mason Patriots were able to step back and take a deep breath. Mason closed out a 62-52 victory over the Western Michigan Broncos in the semifinals of the CBI Tournament, their second victory over the span of three days.
Now, head coach Paul Hewitt and company have the entire weekend to relax, regroup and prepare for their impending three-game CBI championship series vs. the Santa Clara Broncos that begins on April 1.
Wait, say that again?
Yes, the CBI, more commonly known as the third NCAA men’s basketball postseason tournament, has it’s championship series last just as long as the three previous rounds teams fought threw to reach the title tilt.
The CBI, which was created in 2007, provides teams with great opportunities to extend their seasons and further develop chemistry to enter the following year. Mason, who is leaving the Colonial Athletic Association following this season for the Atlantic 10, is certainly taking advantage of such an opportunity. The A-10 will undoubtedly prove to be a more competitive league for the Patriots, a team that was expected to be a top contender for the CAA championship next season.
Mason will enter this series vs. Santa Clara riding a very well-balanced offensive attack that has featured several players. Most recently, it was Jonathan Arledge who starred for GMU in the semifinal victory over Western Michigan. But, over a three-game series, Sherrod Wright and Bryon Allen will be essential for the Patriots’ CBI title hopes.
Santa Clara has their own well-balanced offense, but it is far more explosive than that of Mason. But the Broncos’ size will likely cause George Mason the most stress and difficulty.
No matter what, this series will definitely promise to be entertaining.