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.


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
1999, First/Boston
2001, First/Boise
2006, First/Dayton
Michigan State   
2006, Second/Dayton
North Carolina
2006, R. Semis/D.C.
Wichita State
2006, R. Final/D.C.
2006, Final Four/Indy
2008, First/Denver
Notre Dame
2011, First/Cleveland
2011, Second/Cleveland  
Ohio State

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