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NCAA Tournament 2013: East Regional features Syracuse, Indiana, Marquette and Miami

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Wednesday night, just like seven years ago, George Mason University was in the final four of a basketball tournament.

But the similarities end there.

Wednesday, they were beating Western Michigan in the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational at the Patriot Center in Fairfax.

In 2006, GMU advanced to the Final Four after stunning number one seed Connecticut in an NCAA tournament game at the Verizon Center in Northwest.

That game is considered one of the great upsets in the tournament's history.

Starting Thursday, the 3rd and 4th rounds of the NCAA tournament will be back in DC for the first time since GMU's run seven years ago.

This year George Mason will not be there, but a key part of its history-making Final Four appearance will be -- Coach Jim Larranaga, who left to join Miami two years ago.

"I'm hoping he gets to the final four again," said George Mason fan Kristina Wilson of Arlington. "He was excellent here at George Mason, they should have paid him more money and kept him here."

A number of GMU fans ABC7 talked to at the Patriot Center Wednesday night agreed they'd be cheering for Larranaga this weekend.

"Big fan of Coach L," said John McCarthy of Tysons Corner. "I'm psyched. I'm rooting for Miami, I hope they win at all."

While some George Mason fans are still somewhat miffed that Larranaga left for a school in a big-time conference like the ACC, many say he will always hold a special place in their hearts for leading GMU to its finest hour on the basketball court.

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