GEORGE MASON (10-4, 2-0 CAA) AT OLD DOMINION (7-7, 2-0 CAA)
Time/TV: 7 p.m./CSN
Location: Constant Convocation Center
Line: Old Dominion -3.5
George Mason Players to Watch: F Ryan Pearson, Sr. (18.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 56% FG); F Mike Morrison, Sr. (9.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.8 bpg); G Andre Cornelius, Sr. (11 ppg, 1.5 apg, 1.5 spg). Cornelius has been solid since returning from his 10-game suspension, including a 20-point outing in the Patriots’ 70-56 CAA win over William & Mary Monday.
Old Dominion Players to Watch: G Kent Bazemore, Sr. (13.4 ppg, 5 rpg, 2.9 apg, 2.3 spg); F Chris Cooper, Sr. (10.8 ppg, 10.3 rpg); F Nick Wright, Jr. (9.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.0 bpg). Bazemore – a legit CAA Player of the Year candidate – is one of the league’s most complete players.
Storylines: The Patriots and Monarchs are two of the three remaining unbeatens in the Colonial and appear to be in a four-way race with Virginia Commonwealth and surprising Georgia State.
Keys to Victory: George Mason has played well since the return of Cornelius, winning three straight, including a big 84-76 win at College of Charleston in its last game of 2011. However, the Patriots are still struggling with turnovers (11 tpg) and must curtail that in this big conference road game. On the other side, Old Dominion has struggled to slow down opponent’s go-to players. That could mean a big night for Pearson, who has scored in double-figures in every game but one this year when he scored nine in a 20-point loss at Virginia.
The Bottom Line: The Monarchs have struggled against good teams and George Mason is certainly a good team. GMU should win this game – even on the road – and challenge VCU for the league title.
The Pick: George Mason 66, Old Dominion 58.