How to Watch (and bet)
Date: Monday, 11/22/21
Tip-Off Time: 6:30 pm PT
Streaming: ESPN+ at Espn.com/watch
(If you haven’t done so before you can sign up for an ESPN+ free trial this week to get the games online. It’s also just $6.99 per month and you can cancel before the end of the month so that it only costs you about $2.50 per game to watch all 3 this week. If you already have Disney+ or Hulu it’s also only a little bit extra to get the full bundle and add ESPN+.)
Radio: KJR 950 AM/KVI 570
Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
George Mason 2021-22 Statistics:
Record: 4-1 (win at Maryland, loss at James Madison)
Points For per Game: 77.2 ppg (81st)
Points Against per Game: 60.8ppg (56th)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 99.0 (174th)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 96.2 (107th)
Strength of Schedule: 219th
George Mason Patriots Key Players:
G-Xavier Johnson, Jr. 6’1, 186: 7.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.8 apg, 44.1% FG, 40.0% 3pt, 75.0% FT
It’s been a hot shooting start for Johnson so far this year but even with the improvement he’s still just a career 23.5% shooter from 3-pt range so that number will likely come down to earth. He has done a good job of distributing the ball to George Mason’s talented scorers but is averaging 3 turnovers per game and you can expect at least that many giveaways against Washington’s press.
G- Devon Cooper, Sr. 6’4, 201: 12.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.0 apg, 43.1% FG, 36.7% 3pt, 70.0% FT
A grad transfer from Morehead State, Cooper is averaging almost exactly the stats he did for them last season. He’s just a solid all-around scorer who doesn’t wow you in any one area but is at least average across the board. His one issue is turnovers as he is averaging 3.4 per game so far and that could be an issue against Washington.
G- Davonte Gaines, Jr. 6’7, 181: 12.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.2 apg, 52.6% FG, 62.5% 3pt, 87.5% FT
Gaines is experiencing a ridiculous breakout season after transferring from Tennessee where he averaged just 3.6 minutes per game last year and was 3/22 lifetime on 3-pointers. This season he is 10/18 from deep and has been a beast on the offensive glass. When Washington is in their zone they will have to account for Gaines wreaking havoc creating second chances.
F- D’Shawn Schwartz, Sr. 6’7, 232: 15.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.4 apg, 47.3% FG, 47.1% 3pt, 90.0% FT
Husky fans will be familiar with Schwartz who was a great 3rd banana at Colorado alongside Tyler Bey and McKinley Wright IV. With both gone he decided to move on as well and is showing early on that he can be just as effective with a more central role in the offense. He probably won’t shoot 47.1% from deep all season but he’s a career 37% shooter so it’s not as if it’s that crazy a hot streak which is completely unsustainable.
F- Josh Oduro, Jr. 6’9, 235: 15.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 60.3% FG, 28.6% 3pt, 45.5% FT
George Mason’s center has seen an almost linear progression in scoring going from 4.9 to 10.0 to 15.8 points per game this year. Washington fans may get some terrible flashbacks to Thursday night going against Wyoming’s Graham Ike. So far this year Oduro has scored on 16 of 20 post-up opportunities. If UW decides to just play single coverage on him when he gets the ball deep against Nate Roberts it could be a long night. However unlike Wyoming it doesn’t appear George Mason likes to just feed Oduro on every possession as he’s taking about 12 shots per game not 15.
Washington is certainly not where they wanted to be as they prepare to take the court in Sioux Falls for the Crossover Classic. If UW is in the place they want to be as a program then they’re 4-0 and should be favorites over George Mason, South Dakota State, and Nevada. Instead they’re 2-2 and the odds say to expect only a single Husky victory in the week.
This game looked even tougher before George Mason finally dropped a game at James Madison on Friday night. The Patriots have a road win over Maryland already this year in addition to a trio of comfortable home wins against teams ranked 200-300. At KenPom George Mason is 138th and Washington is 139th so from that perspective it’s as even as it gets although the Patriots are still trending up while UW is trending down.
A big part of the Patriots’ success has been relying on the 3-point shot. Almost half of their shots so far this year have come from behind the arc and they have 4 players who attempt at least 3 of them per game while shooting at least 37%. As a team they’re making 41.1% of their shots from deep and they shot 50% to spring the upset against Maryland. If they shoot that well against Washington then the Huskies likely don’t have much of a chance.
On the defensive end George Mason has done a good job of not giving opponents free opportunities. They’re 37th in defensive rebounding rate so 2nd chance looks haven’t been much of a thing. More importantly they’re 11th in opponent free throws per field goal attempt. Washington has tried to make a living at the free throw line this season with their spotty outside shooting but George Mason has generally packed the paint without fouling and dared teams to beat them from deep. That seems like a winning strategy if they can pull it off against Washington’s offense.
If you’re looking for weaknesses it’s about what happens when George Mason’s 3-point shot isn’t falling. Turnovers have been a major issue so far which plays into Washington’s strengths. The best chance for Washington is for their full court press to prove effective once again and to get live ball turnovers that let the Dawgs get out in transition instead of slogging in the half court.
Ever since opening night when Northern Illinois shot 52.2% from 3-point range against Washington the Huskies have greatly improved in that regard. Opponents in the last 3 games have been 9/46 (19.5%) from deep. If George Mason shoots closer to that mark than to their season average of 41% then Washington should win. If the Huskies lose track of shooters and give up open looks this could get out of hand fast. I think things will probably be closer to in between which results in yet another close game the Huskies are forced to try to scrap out.
Washington Huskies- 67, George Mason Patriots- 72