Saint Mary's Gaels are on thin ice
The Gaels' matchup against the Gonzaga Bulldogs this week looks like a must-win
As recently as Feb. 11, the Saint Mary's Gaels were 21-4 and ranked 28th in the RPI. With a 9-1 record in the West Coast Conference, Saint Mary's looked to be on the fast track to an NCAA tournament bid.
But the last week has been a rough one for the Gaels. Last Wednesday, they jumped to an 11-point lead on the road at the WCC's last-place team, the San Diego Toreros. But in the second half, Randy Bennett's squad couldn't hold off the deep-bombing Toreros, who drained eight of 12 3-pointers during a shocking 74-66 victory. By losing to 316th-ranked San Diego, SMC earned the dubious distinction of having the worst loss of any RPI top-50 team this season.
Saint Mary's had a chance to bounce back in its BracketBusters matchup with the Utah State Aggies on Saturday in Moraga, Calif. This time, the Mickey McConnell-led Gaels jumped to an early 12-point advantage against the Aggies. In the second half, though, USU pounded SMC inside behind the tough interior play of Tai Wesley. That dozen-point lead evaporated into a 10-point deficit, and the Gaels ended up losing 75-65 at McKeon Pavilion to the 20th-ranked Aggies.
Just like that, the Gaels went from a shoo-in tourney team to one with plenty of reason for doubt.
To read more about why the Saint Mary's Gaels could be in trouble come Selection Sunday, become an ESPN Insider today.
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- No. 1 Florida wears down Tenn., in SEC final
- No. 6 Virginia holds off Pitt to reach ACC final
- Michigan holds off comeback-minded OSU
- Michigan's McGary ups rehab, runs on hard court