Fact or Fiction: UNI vs George Mason – Game 8

| feature photo courtesy SFA Sports Information, video courtesy UNI Athletics Communications |

Throughout the UNI football and men’s basketball seasons The Sportsguy Gary Rima, Cole “The Sports” Bair and J.T. “The” Nutt will offer their insights and analysis in a ‘fact or fiction’ series.

This ‘fact or fiction’ previews game eight of the UNI men’s basketball season as the Panthers will take on the George Mason Patriots of the Atlantic-10 Conference at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls. Tipoff is scheduled for Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.

Tune into – 1540 KXEL – on the Panther Sports Network at 6:30 p.m.. for the UNI Panther Basketball pre-game Show with Eric Braley (play-by-play) and Kevin Boyle (color analyst).

FACT OR FICTION? For the Panthers to grab a win on Saturday night against George Mason they will have to out-rebound the Patriots.

The Sportsguy: FICTION 

UNI has shown they don’t ‘have’ to out-rebound their opponents to win. Now, there will be games against tougher opponents this season where out-rebounding the opposition will be a pivotal key to winning, but I, think Saturday night the Panthers can win this game even if they do not grab more rebounds than George Mason.

Marvin Singleton (AP Photo)

Marvin Singleton (AP Photo)

Coach Jacobson will be much happier if his team wins the battle of the boards though!


The subject of rebounding is most always found within Ben Jacobson’s game-to-game rhetoric — and rightfully so. In Coach Jacobson’s career his team’s have an outstanding win-loss record when they out-rebound their opponents. That said I do not think this particular game necessitates the Panthers having to out-rebound the opponent to win. George Mason’s RPI of 282 tells the story of a lower-half Atlantic 10 team. Richmond, who the Panthers just defeated 55-50 last Sunday, looks to be a much more competitive, upper-half A-10 team. Tonight’s game against the Patriots is one of a few non-conference matchups that the Panthers won’t necessarily have to have their A-game for.

J.T. (The) Nutt: FICTION

Basis this on the fact that George Mason just really isn’t that good any more.  Against the better teams on the schedule, UNI needs to grab the boards.  Morgan State and North Dakota out-rebounded UNI and still lost.  I put George Mason in the same category as a Morgan State or North Dakota.  The numbers for George Mason are terrible.  They are not the same team they were in years past.  UNI will have to hit their shots, not the boards, to win.

FACT OR FICTION? UNI senior point guard Deon Mitchell deserves to keep his starting spot and place in the rotation despite a lackluster first seven games on the stat sheet.

The Sportsguy: FACT

Don’t mess with a winning formula! The Panthers are 7-0 — don’t change a thing!  Wes Washpun is the guy who would most likely be inserted into the starting lineup, but he is coming off the bench and playing great in that role!

photo by Roland Ferrie (UNI & UNI Athletics)

UNI hc Ben Jacobson confirmed on Thurday’s Panther Sports Talk on 1540 KXEL that the Panthers will debut their ‘alternate black’ uniforms at a home conference game in January. | photo by Roland Ferrie (UNI & UNI Athletics) |

He is also playing starters minutes. Wes is playing his best basketball as a Panther, so don’t mess with success!  Plus Deon is doing some good things that don’t always show up in the box score!

Cole: FACT

I could easily see myself having a different take on this question three or four games ago. However, Marvin Singleton continues to perform as the starting ‘4,’ averaging just over seven rebounds per contest. and, Wes Washpun seems to have a peculiar set of talents that form a perfect recipe of an ideal ‘sixth-man.’ Looking at this question more holistically I would make mention of Ben Jacobson’s statements regarding how his team has “bought-in” to the idea of playing 15-25 minutes per night of full energy, team basketball. Given all these positive vibes emanating from this team I would leave well enough alone.

J.T. (The) Nutt:  FACT 

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  You have a 7-game winning streak, why change anything?  Deon has started games well and Wes has come in off the bench and taken the floor intensity to the next level.  This scenario does not work quite the same if Wes is starting.  Deon may not be putting up the numbers that everyone would like, but he’s been fine distributing the ball and running the offense.  Keep the same starting five until the team needs a obvious change.  I don’t see that happening in the non-conference.  The schedule is weak, minus Iowa and VCU.  Keep the mojo going.

FACT OR FICTION? Given George Mason’s 282 ranking in the RPI standings the Panthers will remain outside the top-25 in the week five polls should they grab the win.

The Sportsguy: FICTION

If UNI wins look for them to crack the top-25. I would have said it was a ‘lead pipe lock’ if Wichita State wouldn’t have lost to #25 Utah, but the Panthers got no help from their MVC brethren. I still think 8-0 gets them in!

Seth Tuttle (AP photo)

Seth Tuttle (AP photo)

This team is deserving — IF they beat George Mason!

Cole: FACT

Given some unforeseen losses by teams ranked 15th-25th I do not see the Panthers cracking the top-25 for the week five polls. Whether they deserve it or not a win today to move to 8-0 will have come against a low-quality opponent on your own home floor. All wins are good, but in today’s age of college basketball some are more important than others. Like it or not this potential win today will not be of enough importance to catapult the Panthers into the top-25 come Monday at noon.

J.T. (The) Nutt: FACT

The schedule looked nice before the season, but unfortunately a lot of the big non-conference games have been rather weak, to this point.  Teams like George Mason were supposed to contend for their conference titles, but instead have sub .500 records and have looked sub-par.  UNI needs a BIG win to get into the top-25.  With Utah at #25 and beating #8 Wichita, they will only go upwards in the standings.  UNI needs a team to fall out of the top-25.  Oklahoma lost to #2 Wisconsin, but still has a strong enough resume to stay inside the top-25.  Arkansas got destroyed by Iowa State Thursday night, so they could fall out, but UNI is going to need more help to crack the polls.