Team preview: George Mason

Blue Ribbon Yearbook previews the 2006-07 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: October 24, 2006, 1:09 PM ET
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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

COACH AND PROGRAM

It's easy to talk about last year and George Mason's fairytale run to the Final Four. There were enough moments to fill a book, and even though the Patriots' magical run came to an end in their loss to eventual champion Florida in the national semifinals, the significance of a mid-major being so successful has left an indelible mark on the college basketball landscape.

The Patriots finished the year ranked No. 8 in the final ESPN/USA Today Top 25 poll and Larranaga was rewarded with a contract extension that will keep him on the Fairfax campus through the 2012 season.

"Having been around college basketball as long as I have, I knew the CAA was about to have its greatest season ever," Larranaga said. "The quality and depth of the league was there, and it prepared us when tournament time came."

And while Larranaga, the all-time winningest coach at Mason (166 victories) and in the CAA (112), understands his team's place in history, he also knows the challenges ahead. "We really captured the hearts of the nation," he said. "We were very well received. But it's not going to get any easier."


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