The Washington Times - March 19, 2011, 03:32PM

CLEVELAND – Loyal readers are well aware of the resistance here to simplistic storylines peddled without taking the time to summon more interesting subplots.

One of those sure to be trotted out in the next 24 hours is how George Mason is playing a virtual road game in the round of 32 against Ohio State. Seeing as how Cleveland is in Ohio, this is pretty evident.

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So rather than ask what it will be like to play in front of all those Buckeyes fans (especially when dealing with the likes of Jared Sullinger, Jon Diebler, David Lighty, William Buford and others is tricky enough), how about a look at the Patriots’ history in the tournament with driving mileage from each school’s respective hometown included?

Sounds good (mileage figures courtesy of Yahoo Maps):

Year, Round/SiteOpponentMileage/GMUMileage/Opponent
1989, First/Tucson
Indiana2,2691,720
1999, First/Boston
Cincinnati461884
2001, First/Boise
Maryland2,3842,381
2006, First/Dayton
Michigan State   
492262
2006, Second/Dayton
North Carolina
492513
2006, R. Semis/D.C.
Wichita State
231,274
2006, R. Final/D.C.
Connecticut23367
2006, Final Four/Indy
Florida595869
2008, First/Denver
Notre Dame
1,6941,086
2011, First/Cleveland
Villanova373422
2011, Second/Cleveland  
Ohio State
373143

Mason held a mileage advantage – if such a thing really exists – in six of its first 10 NCAA tournament games. The 2001 game against Maryland is effectively a push. And on two other occasions, the Patriots’ opponents were closer to the venue but still had to travel more than 1,000 miles.

So that leaves the ‘06 first round game against Michigan State, when the Spartans still were a four-hour trek from East Lansing and Mason won anyway.

In short, yes, Ohio State will have a bustling contingent of fans in Quicken Loans Arena. But Mason’s far greater problem is actually shutting down the top overall seed in the tournament.

Patrick Stevens