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Props to the Patriots:

For the first time in school history, the George Mason Men's Basketball team has cracked the Top 25 after beating Wichita State on Bracketbuster Saturday (I've been a season ticket holder the past few years so I take some pleasure in this). We're not quite there with Orin's guys across the river yet, but with three key starting seniors we could scare someone come March.

More generally, as more mid-majors keep their guys for four years while the power conference teams lose their guys early, it seems like the shrinking of the gap between the power conferences and the mid-majors has accelerated this year, as evidenced by the number of mid-major teams in the rankings (not to mention the extraordinarily high rankings of GW and Gonzaga).

Noah Klein (mail):
Todd,

I wish to congratulate George Mason and you for coming into the rankings. I also appreciate that you mentioned GW (my alma mater). I so very proud of GW. They are doing an amazing job, rising to 6th in the AP poll today. They have dominated the A-10 this season with an undefeated record in the conference and record of 22-1 for the season. They have made school history with 14 straight victories (which leads the nation this season) and will break that record on Wednesday.

Noah
2.20.2006 4:55pm
LawProfCommentator (mail):
Noah, could you please explain why this makes you proud? I've never understood why the accomplishments of a school's basketball/football/etc. teams would make someone who is not a member of those teams proud. Are the members of the baskeball team proud of your accomplishments?
2.20.2006 5:15pm
Noah Klein (mail):
LawProf,

Probably not, because they don't about them (yet). Yet I'm proud of all the accomplishments of our alumni in every field. I'm very proud of Secretary Colin Powell, as I am of Tammy Duckworth who is running for Congress. I am proud of things that reflect well on an institution that I spent four years and really do love.

Noah
2.20.2006 5:21pm
Noah Klein (mail):
that should be "I spent four years at..."
2.20.2006 5:24pm
Finally. A Sports Thread on VC.:
LawProfCommentator, Anheuser-Busch should do another "real men of genius" Bud Light commercials: Here's to you, you stereotype validating geeky law prof. But I suppose you have no idea what I'm referring to, do you?
2.20.2006 5:32pm
crazydave (mail) (www):
Props to George Mason U ! The "Shox House" is hard to win a ballgame at ! You guys went in there and did it. You probably knocked the MVC out of 2 bids at-large in the NCAA Dance ! But George Mason is gonna be "dancing" come March ! Congrats ! Hope you win your 1st round and I think you can. George Mason is a very fine basketball team this year !
2.20.2006 5:51pm
crazydave (mail) (www):
George Mason was at 13 this morning when I looked at realtimerpi
2.20.2006 5:54pm
SuperChimp:
Todd,

Although I'm at GW Law, I should point out that GM is actually ahead of GW in the only ranking that counts come March Madness--RPI. Currently, GM is #19 while GW is way below at #33. This is obviously a function of GW's ridiculously easy strength of schedule (254th hardest schedule in the nation!). In contrast, GM's strength of schedule is a slightly impressive (for a Mid Major) 69th most difficult. Finally, GW is 0-1 against Top 25 teams whereas GM is 1-0.

Regardless, hopefully we play you guys somewhere in the Tourny...it would be a fun game.
2.20.2006 5:54pm
John Jenkins (mail):
I'm amazed that Todd could actually write "Props to the Patriots," given that he *is* a Steelers fan.
2.20.2006 5:57pm
crazydave (mail) (www):
link should be realtimerpi.com

How do you edit a post ?
2.20.2006 5:59pm
John Jenkins (mail):
You don't. BTW, GMU played one ranked team this year (WFU) and lost.
2.20.2006 6:31pm
yngrep2 (mail):
It's great to see new teams in the top 25 like George Mason, but Gonzaga can hardly be considered a mid-major anymore. They have been in the top 10 each of the last three seasons.
2.20.2006 6:37pm
John Jenkins (mail):
Let's not buy into the ESPN mid-major hype. The last time a team not from one of the power conferences won the NCAA tournament was 1990, and it's ridiculously rare. Even if the lower-tiered players are staying longer, the top-tier players are just plain better.
2.20.2006 6:39pm
Noah Klein (mail):
Superchimp,

While I agree with your assessment there about RPI and GW's schedule, I have been informed by several people who know more about college basketball than me that GW will probably be a 3 or 4 seed. Also GW is not 0-1 against Top 25 teams. GW beat Georgetown and Maryland. I don't think Maryland is still ranked, but as of last Georgetown was.

Noah
2.20.2006 6:48pm
Noah Klein (mail):
That should be "as of last week Georgetown was."
2.20.2006 6:50pm
Steve P. (mail):
John Jenkins -- I thought the exact same thing. I could see 'Props to Bruschi' or something for individual players, but not the Patriots (until I read the article).

LawProfCommentator -- Are you proud of the armed forces? I am, even though I'm not a member of any branch. I want them to win against, well, everyone. Like the Steelers.
2.20.2006 7:54pm
SuperChimp:
Noah,

I agree that GW (at this pace) will most likely be a 2-4 seed, but that's mostly because the NCAA Committee will feel forced into the ranking by GW's high ESPN &AP rankings. Also, GW is 0-1 against Top 25 RPI Teams...Maryland is #45 and Georgetown is #28.
2.20.2006 8:39pm
Noah Klein (mail):
SuperChimp,

I thought you meant Top 25 ESPN &AP rankings.

Noah
2.20.2006 8:50pm
Bossgatto (mail):
Noah,

GW didn't play Georgetown this season, so I don't believe it beat any ranked team. I won't have GW winning more than one game in my tournament bracket because they haven't played a decent team since December (when they lost to NC State). Though I am a Hoya alum, I probably won't have them winning more than one game either. And LawProfCommentator, I am not proud of Georgetown's current three game losing streak.
2.20.2006 9:53pm
Noah Klein (mail):
Bossgatto,

I'm sorry, you're right. I thought we played each other every year, but I guess I was wrong. Since we didn't lose to anyone except NC State, I thought we had beat GTown too. Yet, we did beat Maryland that was a ranked team at the time. You should give your team more credit though, they did beat Duke. And maybe will see you in the Elite Eight.

Noah
2.21.2006 1:20am
cdow (mail):
The power conferences are not down this year. Take a look at the resurgence of the Big East, which has 5 ranked teams (WVU, UConn, Pitt, Georgetown, Villanova.)
2.21.2006 7:21am
nc_litigator (mail):
i saw a bit of that game - cool to see these mid-major teams get some deserved exposure. here's to hoping that GM knocks off a few this year in the tournament (as long as they don't face my baby Tarheels).
2.21.2006 9:20am
Mr Diablo:
GMU does deserve congratulations. I've got them around a 8/9 seed, which would give them a shot at some #1 if they can win a first round game.

I'd argue that GTown is the best of the DC area teams, they have the best win (Duke) of any of the three. GW and GMU both laid eggs in their only games against Top 25 teams (and Wake is hardly a Top 25 team anymore). GW's best win is over Maryland, and GMU's came last weekend.

Given their strength of scheudle, I'd not seed GW higher than a 6, but I bet that the NCAA will look at the gaudy win total and slot them around a four or five, despite the RPI. GTown was around a 4 or 5 seed a week and a half ago, but the recent slide has them in 5/6 territory as well, possibly lower. Would not be shocked to see them upset a 2 or 3 in the second round.
2.21.2006 3:13pm