So just who is George Mason (23-7) and should we be afraid of an upset? The NCAA is known for providing memorable upsets when a Cinderella team comes from nowhere and knocks off a big time program like Michigan State.
The Patriots won the Colonial Athletic Association regular season title behind the heroics of the trio of guard Lamar Butler (6-foot-2, 170), center Jai Lewis (6-foot-7, 275) and controversial guard Tony Skinn. In the Patriots loss in the CAA tournament, Skinn intentionally punched Hofstra guard Loren Stokes in his groin, causing Stokes to recoil in pain. Skinn was ejected and was subsequently suspended for one game.
That suspension will keep Skinn out of GM's first round contest with Michigan State which greatly reduces the Pats chances of pulling an upset. "I've got total confidence in my teammates that we're going to go down there and give Michigan State a game like we did last year," Skinn said.
Michigan State will be bringing a large contingent of fans, including the great "Izzone" cheering section from East Lansing, just 250 miles north of the regional site. Spartans coach Tom Izzo appreciates being just a couple of hours away from the site for his team, which appeared to tire down the stretch.
"For families, it's kind of nice because it's within driving distance for most of them. Other than being in Detroit (at the Auburn Hills regional site), personally I couldn't ask for anything better for us."
MSU will have to guard against looking ahead to a potential second round matchup against North Carolina and freshman phenom Tyler Hansbrough and stay focused on the task at hand, handling George Mason.