Sun Belt: The Next Cinderella?

By Jean Neuberger - October 24, 2006

The question was asked to Sun Belt coaches if they talk to their team about being the next George Mason, who surprised the entire nation with their Final Four run last March. Do any of them dream about being the next George Mason?

"We definitely talk about it," said UALR's Steve Shields. "George Mason showed us that the team that gets hot can go really far and play with anybody. We've got great senior leadership, a really tough schedule, and if we get a like mindset, we'll see what happens."

As said in an earlier article, Arkansas State's Dickey Nutt also talks to his team about it.

"There's no reason why we can't be the next Cinderella," Nutt said.

Just about every coach in the league had talked to their team about George Mason's success, and how they, if the team worked hard and came together at the right time, could repeat the Patriots' success.

All but one.

"We don't talk about it at all," said Western Kentucky's Darrin Horn. "George Mason proved they could play for anybody. But it's dangerous to talk about being 'the next George Mason'. What I want to stress is that George Mason got the chance to play in the tournament. They didn't win their conference tournament; they got in as an at-large bid. We were left out last year, so we stress more about getting the opportunity to play."

But for the most part, there are many schools deep in the Sun Belt that dream about wearing that glass slipper in March.

Posted by Jean Neuberger at 07:54 PM on October 24, 2006

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