Given Butler's run to the precipice of a national title last season -- and oh, to think of what might have been -- it might be easy to lose Butler's predecessors in mid-major NCAA tournament brilliance to history. But before there was Butler '10, there was George Mason '06. Before Butler played the part of Cinderella -- even with a top-20 team and a No. 5 seed in the tournament -- the Patriots were the real deal. GMU barely sneaked in to the tournament as the Colonial Athletic Association's first at-large bid in 20 years, were criticized for their inclusion almost immediately during CBS' Selection Show, and got the kind of seed -- a No. 11 -- that rarely sees the Elite Eight, let alone the Final Four. George Mason went to the Final Four anyway.
Jim Larranaga's dream season ended there, but GMU is keeping the memory of its best team ever alive. How? With bobbleheads, naturally!
The George Mason Basketball blog has pictures and details; according to George Mason's promotional schedule, fans will be able to grab one of the five bobbleheads at various games throughout the season. Dec. 4 is Tony Skinn bobblehead night, Feb. 5 is Lamar Butler bobblehead night, and so on.
As someone who owns exactly one bobblehead doll (Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews), I can't say I truly understand the excitement these things generate, but if I'm a George Mason fan looking for a sweet piece of 2006 memorabilia, I think I just found my priority target.