Saint Mary’s résumé drastically lacking
by Patrick Stevens, Special for USA TODAY Sports
Days until Selection Sunday: 5
The big picture:
Let’s spell it out one more time.
Gonzaga did pretty much everything it could to secure a No. 1 seed, blasting Saint Mary’s in the West Coast Conference title game.
But no team, not even a 30-2 juggernaut like the Bulldogs, exists in a vacuum. And so a No. 1 seed is hardly a sure thing.
Not if Georgetown or Louisville wins the Big East tournament and Kansas coasts through the Big 12 tournament. Toss in Duke and Indiana, and it’s plausible Gonzaga is bumped to the No. 2 line.
Then again, it only matters so much. The Bulldogs will play the first weekend of the NCAA tournament at a western site, probably Salt Lake City. They’ll presumably be assigned to the West regional and a trip to Los Angeles for the second weekend.
So a No. 1 seed, while a nice potential accomplishment and surely not something the Bulldogs backed into, doesn’t change a whole lot — besides perception from casual fans just tuning in to find out how good this edition of Gonzaga really is.
Also hardly a sure thing: Saint Mary’s NCAA tournament invitation. The Gaels are sporting a 26-3 record against every team outside of Gonzaga, but there’s only so much substance to that résumé. Saint Mary’s has only lost to one team since Christmas and granted most teams can’t say that. But the Gaels will find themselves right around the NCAA tournament cut line all the way up to Sunday. Here’s a look at the résumé:
Résumé worth dissecting: Saint Mary’s
Record: 27-6, RPI: 30
Plus: Beat Creighton, swept BYU, 9-2 on the road
Minus: 1-3 vs. T50, 23 wins vs. 100+/Non-Division I
At-large ranking: 35
Next game: Regular season complete
Outlook: The wait begins for Saint Mary’s after its third loss to Gonzaga, the latest coming in Monday’s West Coast Conference title game. The Gaels might be OK if no bid thieves emerge in power conferences (or the Atlantic 10, Conference USA or Mountain West) in the next week, but there will be some uneasy feelings in the Bay Area. The general malaise of borderline teams across the … [For more on Bubble Watch: Saint Mary's résumé drastically lacking substance, click here.]