March 18, 2011
George Mason coach Jim Larranaga is known for being a motivator.
Some of the words he said during Mason's run to the Final Four in 2006, including telling his team during a timeout against Connecticut in the Elite Eight that UConn players didn't even know which conference the Patriots played in.
Before Friday's second-round game against Villanova, in an attempt to rekindle that 2006 magic, Larranaga reached into his motivational speaking bag of tricks and made a slight gaffe.
"It's not about the name on the back, it's about the name on the front, George Mason!" Larranaga yelled to his team to open the speech.
That's a great cliché, except that George Mason is one of the few teams in this year's NCAA tournament that doesn't have names on the back of its jerseys and it hasn't in quite some time. Of course, it's just a figure of speech, but it's unfortunate that the one cliché Larranaga decided to use was the one that his team couldn't quite relate to.
Still, it was a good motivational speech and while it took some time for the words to take, the Patriots did rally for a 61-57 win.