The George Mason Patriots clinched the Colonial Athletic Association regular season title on Thursday night with a win over the Northeastern Huskies. This year is just the second time in school history that GMU will possess sole possession of the CAA title, and first since 1999. The Patriots shared the regular season crown in 2000 and 2006.
George Mason will start the CAA Tournament in Richmond on Friday as the top seed, but they'll get one more tune-up tonight against the Georgia State Panthers. A win tonight would be the Patriots' 15th straight, extending their streak that is currently the best in the country, and would also be their 16th CAA win, which would tie a conference record and be the most in school history.
According to GMUHOOPS.com, Coach Jim Larranaga seems unlikely to take this regular season finale lightly though, despite the game's meaningless nature.
One of Mason best strengths is the well conditioned starting five they have that can run up and down the court with just about anyone. You want to keep them conditioned and in good rhythm considering they have a week off until their next contest. I can't possibility see Ryan Pearson seeing the bench too much today, he's just been on too much of a tear recently.
The Panthers are 11-17 this season, but have several quality players who could give the Patriots trouble. Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie each average over 14 points and 7 rebounds per game. To continue their winning streak into the CAA Tournament, and maybe even the NCAA Tournament after that, Pearson, Cam Long, and Luke Hancock will need to be at their best.