Breaking Down the 2010-11 Men’s Basketball Schedule
So the 2010-11 men’s basketball schedule was announced yesterday and in case you missed it, you can read the official release here on GoMason.com. Here on the GoMason Blog, we thought we’d take a more analytical look at the schedule and what it should mean for the Patriots.
The first thing that jumped out at the blog is the fact that just three of Mason’s home games come while students are on break, and two of those are mid-week. Just look back at 2008-09. The Patriots had three Saturday home games during break against three of their four biggest rivals. The Patriots hosted UNCW, Old Dominion and James Madison while on break and they also played a home game against Georgia State in there as well. Last year there were four home games during break including Saturday contests against ODU and UNCW.
Not this year. A Monday home game against Delaware, a Saturday home game against Georgia State and a Wednesday home game against Drexel. That’s it. That leaves the biggest home games of the year – Hofstra, James Madison, Northeastern, Old Dominion and UNCW – as in-session games. Don’t tell us having students at the game doesn’t make a difference!
In 2008-09, Mason opened the year 7-0 in the CAA, which was a school record. The Patriots didn’t go seven straight without a loss last year, but they did jump out to a 10-1 mark in the conference, which was also a school record. With the toughest road trip of the season coming early, the Patriots are going to be hard pressed to match either of those starts. A Wednesday game at Hofstra, a Saturday game at Old Dominion and a Wednesday game at Northeastern. The Pride will be one of the conference’s top teams this season, and Mason has won just once at the Constant Center and just once at Matthews Arena. That’s just a brutal road trip.
While February will be no picnic, at least it’s filled overwhelmingly with home games. Wednesday-Saturday home games against Hofstra and Old Dominion. A mid-week trip to Wilmington followed by a Saturday home game against James Madison (I sniff a sell-out coming). That’s followed by a Tuesday trip down to Richmond for Mason’s one game against VCU, and after a break for BracketBuster, a Thursday home game against Northeastern.
The Patriots return five starters and have as deep a bench as ever. Two seniors, three juniors, four sophomores, two redshirt freshmen have spent a year in the system and two freshmen spent the summer with the team, bonding during an overseas trip to Italy. There’s no doubt fans have high expectations for this team. By mid-January, we should know if the bar was set at the right height.