The SportsTalk Shop: Colonials Rising

Without question one of the top turnaround success stories on the NCAA basketball court belongs to Head Coach Mike Lonergan and the George Washington men’s basketball program.

After a highly successful tenure at Vermont, Coach Lonergan’s Colonials posted back-to-back 20-plus win seasons for the first time since 2006-07 and have gotten off to an incredible start in the 2015-16 campaign.

After consecutive seasons of NCAA or NIT post-season entries, anyone thinking of a letdown this year has been sadly mistaken.

George Washington came out in mid-November and provided the nation with one of college basketball’s first big losses to a team ranked in the top 10, with a 73-68 win over Virginia.  The Cavaliers were the sixth-ranked team in the country at the time of that contest.  The Colonials continued their dominating performances by winning ten of its first 11 ball games (a perfect 8-0 at home), with many victories coming by a double-digit margin.

Moreover, Lonergan’s guidance has led to a resurgence among the Colonial fan base and an extra level of excitement to his team’s contests at the Smith Center.

We had the opportunity on “RCN SportsTalk” to talk with Coach Lonergan about his GW men’s basketball program, their previous years’ successes and about his team’s hot start to the current season.

Before coming to George Washington, Coach Lonergan had great success at Vermont. His teams compiled a .700 or better winning percentage in four of his last five seasons and qualified for the NCAA tournament in 2010 (overall record 25-10).

Before this season started, George Washington had two players, Patricio Garino and Kevin Larsen, named to the All-Conference Second Team, with Garino also named to the A-10 All-Defense Team.  The Colonials also were picked by A-10 experts to finish in the top four spots in the league this winter.

Pre-season Atlantic-10 Poll

  1. Dayton (12 first place votes) – 352 total points
  2. Rhode Island (8) – 347
  3. Davidson (6) – 329
  4. Washington (1) – 285
  5. VCU – 277
  6. Richmond – 262
  7. Saint Joseph’s – 194
  8. Bonaventure – 177
  9. La Salle – 164
  10. Massachusetts – 142
  11. Duquesne – 113
  12. Saint Louis—96
  13. George Mason – 52
  14. Fordham — 45

The Colonials are looking to continue their current four-game winning streak through the holiday season, with some intriguing match-ups on the horizon.

Upcoming Schedule

Dec. 22nd              at DePaul
Dec. 29th               at UCF
Jan. 3rd                  vs. Fordham*
Jan. 6th                  at Saint Louis*
Jan. 9th                  vs. Duquesne*
Jan. 12th              at UMass*
Jan. 15th                at Dayton*
Jan. 22nd               vs. Rhode Island*
*Atlantic-10 Conference games
All home games are played at the Smith Center

We hope that basketball fans check out the Colonials in action as they’ll look to have a number of exciting match-ups coming up over the next few months.  Also, keep checking back to the “SportsTalk Shop” and the “RCN SportsTalk” show for more great guests and insights on this winter’s NCAA basketball season.

Chris Michael About Chris Michael

Chris handles play-by-play for RCN sports events, including baseball, football & basketball games and produces/hosts the station’s 60-minute live call-in show. Among Chris’s other responsibilities include reporting on local news & sports stories, conducting “Take 5” interviews with community and political leaders, producing commercials, voiceovers and promos; and generating blog entries and videos on the internet. Click here to listen to the weekly Sports Talk podcast.

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