John Powell, Asst. Sports Editor

I’ll admit. I was a bit perturbed after watching the clock wind down with only one Mason point on the board. The Monarch fan laughing maniacally in my ear for the entire game did not help either.
A 16-point run at the beginning of the game was, needless to say, disconcerting.

The first half of the Old Dominion game got me thinking, “Why is it that when the Patriots travel to play a decent team, they seem to flounder on offense?”

I was reminded of the pitiful game at George Washington, but at least that loss did not count for a conference record.

“Guys, we’re playing George Mason, not Georgetown,” said an ODU fan sitting behind me at the game.

Have the Patriots really come to this? Mason was once in sole possession of the top spot in the conference, ahead of the Old Dominion team that subsequently handed Mason a terrible loss, sending them to third place.

I had high hopes for the team after seeing them do well, albeit losing, in the game against then-No. 5 Villanova in the ESPN Puerto Rico Challenge.

Because of this loss in Norfolk, Va., however, I find myself oddly reassured of my pre-season prediction for the team.

I went on “Sports Talk with Brian,” a GMU radio show that aired on a Tuesday afternoon near the beginning of the season and predicted that the Patriots would find themselves in the National Invitational Tournament, making it a round or two before their season-ending loss.

Here’s a more relevant prediction for who will finish where in the conference: No. 1 Old Dominion, No. 2 Northeastern, No. 3 George Mason, No. 4 VCU.

This would put Northeastern and Mason on the same side of the bracket, with Old Dominion and VCU on the other side. Assuming that the lower-ranked teams are taken care of, which may be a bit of a chore for whoever plays William & Mary, this would actually set up for a possible VCU-GMU championship game.

While the winner gets an automatic bid into the first round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, other Colonial Athletic Association teams will have to fight for one of the “at-large” spots.

Because of Mason’s inability to win against top-25 teams, with Old Dominion’s success against ranked teams and the streaks of other top CAA teams, Mason has relatively little chance of making the NCAA tournament.

At least that’s what I thought until Sunday night. Northeastern was taken down in a heart-pumping 53-52 loss at home, making them paired with Old Dominion for the first place spot in the conference, only one game ahead of Mason.

In addition, James Madison pulled out a last-minute win at home against the until-recently hot VCU. Madison gained only their fourth win in conference play, however the VCU loss is much more important for the conference.

William & Mary and Drexel are tied for fourth place, just a game behind Mason, with just a few games left in the weeks before the tournament, enough time for anything to happen.

With four games left in Mason’s schedule, and only three against conference teams, there is still time to find out what the seeds will be, setting up for another exciting CAA tournament, and subsequently the NCAA tournament.