Under Phase 3 of Virginia’s reopening guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic, sports venues are allowed to operate at 50 percent occupancy or with 1,000 patrons, whichever figure is lower.
The men’s team returns five starters and 12 players from last season, when the Patriots finished 17-15 overall and 5-13 in the Atlantic 10. In the A-10 preseason poll, they were picked 10th out of 14 teams. (Richmond is the favorite.)
The Patriots will open the season later this month in the D.C. Paradise Jam at Washington Convention Center, joining Howard, Northeastern and Belmont. Fans are not allowed. The tournament was moved from the U.S. Virgin Islands.
George Mason’s nonconference games include a Dec. 4 visit to Maryland and a trip to Richmond for Dec. 12-13 games against James Madison and Old Dominion. The Patriots will host Coppin State on Dec. 16 and Towson on Dec. 22.
Their 18-game conference schedule is slated to begin Dec. 30 at Massachusetts, the A-10 announced Wednesday. George Mason’s conference home opener is Jan. 6 against longtime rival Virginia Commonwealth. The annual two-game series with George Washington is scheduled for Jan. 27 in Fairfax and Feb. 27 at the Smith Center.
The George Mason women’s team, which will open the season Nov. 25 at Pittsburgh, was picked to finish last in the conference. (VCU is favored.) The Patriots were 9-21 overall and 3-13 in the A-10 last season.