Chris DeMarco, Staff Writer

The George Mason University men’s basketball team kicks off their 2009-10 basketball season against the Liberty Flames of the Big South Conference.

The biggest difference for the Flames going into this year is the loss of Seth Curry to the Duke Blue Devils. Without Curry, the Flames lack a dominant scoring threat that could compete with the Patriots’ offensive weapons, but the Flames will be led by senior guard Kyle Ohman, who averaged 13.9 points per game last year.

The Patriots are led by their lone senior, Louis Birdsong and his big presence under the boards. With the departure of leader John Vaughan, the Patriots will rely heavily on not only Birdsong, but junior Cam Long, who averaged 11.7 points last year, along with promising sophomore Ryan Pearson, who scored seven points and grabbed 3.6 rebounds per game.

The Patriots hope that they can continue their remarkable success at home this year, so they can stay on top of the very competitive Colonial Athletic Association. Patriot fans also have to hope that the team is not looking past their first two games against Liberty and Dartmouth since they have the sixth-ranked Villanova Wildcats looming thereafter.

With Head Coach Jim Larranaga at the helm, the Patriots will not be looking ahead of their schedule, but rather they should be more than focused on the Flames come Nov. 13 at the Patriot Center. Fans should fully expect to see the explosive Patriots’ offense they have grown accustomed to in the past.