George Mason earns CBI bid, hosts Loyola (Md.) Wednesday

george masonGeorge Mason has earned its first postseason berth in four seasons and will host fellow DMV program Loyola (Md.) in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational Wednesday.

Tip-off between the Patriots and Greyhounds is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside EagleBank Arena.

The College Basketball Invitational is a 16-team, single elimination tournament. The quarterfinals are set for March 20 and the semifinals will be March 22. The CBI Finals are a best-of-three series, with games March 27, 29 and 31 (if necessary). The finals games will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.

Loyola (Md.) put together a 15-16 mark overall, including an 8-10 mark in the Patriot League in 2016-17. Andre Walker leads the team with 15.2 points per game. The All-Patriot League first team pick also chipped in 3.9 assists and 3.5 points per game.

The Patriots (19-12, 9-9) have put together a turnaround 2016-17 season while setting a number of new program bests in the Atlantic 10 era. Picked 12th in the league’s preseason poll, the Patriots finished the regular season in seventh place, marking the highest A-10 finish in four seasons for the Green & Gold.

Mason set a new program record for Atlantic 10 victories (the previous record was five) while posting the most overall victories since the 2012-13 campaign. The Patriots hit the 20-win plateau for the 13th season in program history, and the +9 win improvement from the 2015-16 campaign makes Mason one of the top-15 most improved teams in the nation.

Mason earned a first-round bye in the A-10 Tournament for the first time in school history and won an Atlantic 10 Tournament contest for the first time in program annals.

The Patriots are led by Chris Daniels Atlantic 10 Most Improved Player Marquise Moore, who Sunday was named to the Atlantic-10 All-Tournament Team. The Queens, N.Y., product set a new A-10 Championship record for rebounding average (18.0 rpg) while pouring in 18 points and 3.5 assists over the course of the event.

The 2017 bid marks Mason’s second all-time CBI appearance. The Patriots went 4-2 in the 2013 CBI and fell in the third game of the finals series to Santa Clara.