The George Mason Patriots will open their 2012-13 season in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands as participants in the Paradise Jam against the Mercer Bears on November 16. The Bears won the CIT tournament last season and have four starters returning to the team in 2012.
The other matchups in the tournament include the New Mexico Lobos against the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames, the Connecticut Huskies against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and the Iona Gaels against the Quinnipiac Bobcats.
The Lobos are the best projected team in the Paradise Jam, so the Patriots, as in last year's Preseason NIT, have an opportunity to give their RPI an early season boost that could pay dividends later in the year. The Patriots will hope to avoid a repeat of last season, when they lost to the Florida International Golden Panthers in Blacksburg to torpedo an opportunity to play against the Virginia Tech Hokies for an opportunity to play in the Preseason NIT semi-finals at Madison Square Garden.