"By George, the dream is alive"

So I'm listening to Fairfax Supervisor Jerry Connolly (the very definition of a grandstanding politician) talk about George Mason and he mentions that "he knew they could do it." Which is obviously a lie, nobody except Phil's mom, picked Mason to get to the Final Four.

Mason was the most overlooked team in the country. Overlooked by the national media (at the end of the season Mason did not receive a single AP vote) and given one of the last five at-large bids in the tournament, few people believed Mason could even beat Michigan State in the first round. But why did nobody predict Mason's success?

1.) Soft Schedule

Mason played one ranked team all year (Wake Forest when they were at 18) and lost. Mason did beat Wichita State at Wichita (which is the win that got them into the tournament) but a win over another mid major is not enough to get Mason much national attention. Even now people are beginning to overlook Mason's second victory over the Shockers in favor of the Michigan State, UNC and UConn wins.

Looking at Mason's record pre-tournament there was nothing to indicate they were capable of making their Final Four run.

2.) Soft Conference

This pretty much goes hand in hand with the previous point, but not many people considered the Colonial Athletic Association to be on par with the ACC or Big East this year. In fact, 200 Best Bucs Points to the person who can name four CAA teams without looking. And I'll know if you're lying since my alma mater is one of those teams (Go Tribe!).

3.) Local media

Mason plays twenty minutes from the two other Georges (-town and Washington) who along with Maryland have stolen the local headlines all season. Maryland and Georgetown carry all the prestige in town and GW finished the season with the best record in the NCAA. Local sports reporters are by nature lazy creatures, and most are not going to look long and hard for a different story.

Many national journalists (and ESPN) find their stories from reading the local guys, so if the local sports reporters are not talking about Mason, there was a pretty good chance nobody else was going to either.

Of course, that has all changed now. From now on George Mason will be synonymous with Cinderella. Next year, come tournament time people will be asking who that year's George Mason will be.

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