A George Mason concern: ‘People play physical with us and we don’t’

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George Mason’s the reigning regular-season CAA champ. It’s 20-6 this season and tied atop the conference with Drexel and VCU at 12-2.

Yet, nobody seems scared of the Patriots.

That’s not going to apply to likes of VCU (Final Four!), Drexel (few CAA teams have more experience and talent) or ODU (mostly ‘cause nobody intimidates a Blaine Taylor team), but those are the cream of the CAA crop. What about the rest of the league?

In the last month, they’ve escaped the likes of Hofstra, Towson, UNC Wilmington and Hofstra again, not to mention a loss at Delaware. Combined records of those four teams? 30-70.

As Patrick Stevens writes at the Washington Times, that fact worries GM coach Paul Hewitt.

“I’ve been trying to figure out why some of these teams play with us,” Hewitt told the paper. “No disrespect meant, but there’s no fear because we don’t play physical back. People play physical with us and we don’t. I don’t mean anything dirty or emotional. Just set solid screens, box out. Our rebounding has come around. We saw that against Old Dominion [on Saturday]. But the first half, we were afraid to touch anyone.”

Hewitt’s telling his team to be more physical. To not get beat on the boards and sprinting toward screens. Some of that makes sense given the Patriots’ relative inexperience (three freshmen and four sophomores receive playing time, three of whom are starters), but some of those issues fall on Hewitt.

Maybe it’s a transition issue for the first-year Mason coach, or maybe it’s an example of things that weren’t as big of an issue last season. But nobody can afford to play for a crown and get pushed around. Better solve that.

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