GEORGE MASON (11-4, 3-0 CAA) AT GEORGIA STATE (11-3, 3-0 CAA)
Time/TV: 7 p.m.; CSN
Location: Patriot Center
RPI Rankings: George Mason 148; Georgia State 183.
Line: George Mason -4
George Mason Players to Watch: F Ryan Pearson, 6-6 Sr. (18.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 54.9% FG); G Vertail Vaughns, 6-2 So. (11.2 ppg, 39.4%3s); F/C Erik Copes, 6-8 Fr. (3.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.9 bpg). Pearson continues to be one of the top contenders for the Colonial Player of the Year honor after Thursday’s 16-point, 14-rebound performance in the Patriots’ 63-54 win at Old Dominion Thursday.
Georgia State Players to Watch: G Devonta White, 5-10 So. (13.6 ppg, 3.4 apg, 1.7 spg); G Jihad Ali, 6-5 Sr. (12.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.3 spg); x James Fields (8.8 ppg, 3.3 apg, 47.7% FG). Fields has struggled, going 2-for-13 in his last two games, after a season-best performance in which he had 18 points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals in a 72-52 win over Georgia Southern on Dec. 22.
Storyline: The Colonial’s two remaining unbeaten teams go head-to-head in Atlanta on Saturday. Georgia State has been the surprise of the CAA after finishing 12-19 overall and 6-12 in the league a year ago.
Keys to Victory: Georgia State fans knew their team would be explosive offensively, but what has been the surprise has been the play of the Panther defense. GSU is holding opponents to 57 points per game, 37.5 percent from the field and is averaging 9.2 steals per contest. Its defense will be tested on Saturday. George Mason is shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from the 3-point line.
The Bottom Line: George Mason went into Old Dominion Thursday and came away with a nine-point victory. This will be another tough test, but one the Patriots should pass.
The Pick: George Mason 77, Georgia State 72.