George Mason's Tourney Hopes Still Alive

Chris BrooksCorrespondent IMarch 10, 2009

Let me clear that title up. I am not referring to the NCAA Tournament, unfortunately. Mason had an opportunity to secure an auto-bid, had they defeated the Rams of VCU. Instead, Mason will have to wait until Sunday night to discover whether or not they will head to the National Invitational Tournament.

Obviously, the team, students and fans wanted to go to the Big Dance, but the resume is not what the Selection Committee is looking for. It appears an NIT bid is imminent for the Patriots, who finished the season 22-10 and 2nd-place in the Colonial Athletic Association.

According to an inside source, a university official believes Mason may receive not only an invitation to the NIT, but a home game in the first round. Let's wait and see, especially with the upsets to occur to round out the week in the conference tournaments.

Mason has played in the NIT three times, most recently in the 2003-04 season, where they lost to Oregon in the 2nd-round game. Mason defeated the Tennessee Volunteers in the opening round and the Austin Peay Governors in the round of 32.

Mason will find out if they will be in a tournament following the NCAA Selection Show on Mar. 15.