By George: Patriots, Hoyas Lead Area Tournament Hopes

George Mason cheerleaders

Rocky road: Assuming they get by Villanova in Friday’s first-round matchup, the No. 8 Patriots will likely face top-seeded Ohio State in the second round. (JMRosenfeld via Flickr)

Oh, yeah.

It looks like the NCAA men’s basketball tournament selection committee listened to me for once, because guess who’s going to the Big Dance, and with an eighth seed no less? That’s right, the George Mason Patriots.

OK, so I had nothing to do with their selection (despite being great at horse) and my recent basketball-related post was more about the George Washington University (and their Colonials), but the Patriots’ improbable 2006 tournament run did get a mention, as did the probable fun of a mid-major college basketball game.

[ Related: Fairfax Earns High Marks for GMU Campus ]

Anyway … fans in Fairfax ought to be glued to their TV screens on Friday at 2:10 p.m. for George Mason’s slugfest against perennial Big East power Villanova.

The Colonial Athletic Association regular season champion Patriots are playing in the tourney’s East Region. Overall, this is their sixth appearance in the tournament and third in the last six years. Told you they were good.

The other area team that got the nod is the Big East’s Georgetown Hoyas, who garnered a sixth seed in the Southwest Region. They’ll take on the winner of the University of Southern California/Virginia Commonwealth University game on Friday at 9:50 p.m.

With 11 of its teams making the field of 68, the Big East had a historic year. For that matter, it’s a historic year for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship as well, with three teams being added to the field.

I wish we could say the same for the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Maryland Terrapins, who, despite 19 wins and victories over tourney teams Florida State, Penn State and Clemson, didn’t even make it into the National Invitation Tournament. Ouch

Better yet, Verizon Center — which is in the Chinatown neighborhood of Northwest and serves as the Georgetown men’s team’s regular season home court — is hosting second- and third-round games on March 17 and 19. I’m unsure of ticket availability, but calling Verizon Center wouldn’t be a bad idea; heck, even watching the game at a Chinatown bar would be fun.

[ Related: Chinatown a Flashy, Fun Home for the Renter in Northwest ]

So, renters in Fairfax and the capital region have two teams to root for during March Madness — one a mid-major that made a surprise run in the tournament five years ago and one that has been an off-and-on powerhouse for the past 30 years or so.

Or, you could even come out to Verizon Center and root for somebody else – if you can get tickets.

If you can’t, just being in Chinatown and watching the game at a joint would be nearly as fun. Everything usually is after a pint or two and wings. It’s your call. But renting in the metro region really does have its college basketball perks.

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Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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