Jim Larranaga's George Mason came into the 2005-2006 season believing they had a chance to be the best team in school history. After a shaky start the Patriots found their groove finishing the regular season 22-6 and feeling great about their NCAA Tournament chances. That confidence took a hit when Hofstra knocked them off in the conference tournament. George Mason found themselves squarely on the bubble heading into Selection Sunday.
Patriot faithful blew a huge sigh of relief when they were announced as the #11 seed in the Washington Region. Waiting for them was Tom Izzo and #6 seed Michigan State. 75-65 Patriots, one down. Next up, #4 seed North Carolina and Roy Williams. 65-60 Patriots, hello Sweet 16. After knocking off fellow Cinderella Wichita State in the Sweet 16 the Patriots ran into #1 overall seed UConn.
An overtime stunner put George Mason in the schools first Final Four! The Patriots became the 2nd #11 seed in the history of the NCAA Tournament to reach the Final Four matching LSU in '86 (later matched by VCU and Loyola-Chicago).
"Nobody expected George Mason to even beat Michigan State in the first round. They certainly didn't expect us to beat the No. 1 seed in the tournament, the University of Connecticut. When you are the underdog, and you upset someone in the first round, that happens regularly. It rarely happens in the Elite Eight."
-Jim Larranaga, Head Coach
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