Now it's on to the bracket that matters most, so where can you expect to see the Gaels seeded? A five seems likely, but the team's overall profile actually feels more like a six. While Saint Mary's looked good for most of conference play, the team didn't greatly challenge itself outside of the WCC, and when it did, it lost (72-59 to Baylor; 65-51 at Murray State). It only has four top-100 wins, all coming against Gonzaga and BYU.
It's a very fun team, though. They will be in, from start to finish. whatever game they're slotted with. Remember the 2010 Gaels with Omar Samhan? That team wasn't quite as good as this one, and even if it had more entertainment value, this batch of Gaels comes close. Point guard Matthew Dellavedova, a guy who looks like he wouldn't back down from anyone in a bar fight, is the spark. Rob Jones is pound-for-pound one of the toughest 6-6 guys in the sport. It's a group that doesn't ooze talent but shoves and elbows its way to victories. It truly earned its conference championships this season.
|Matthew Dellavedova and his patented massive mouthguard look will be a five or a six seed. (Getty Images)|
Player to know: Dellavedova. He's the league's best player, a very creative guy on the court and the one who will be responsible for getting this team to the second weekend -- which could be a challenge. He's a danger whenever he's got the ball because he's liable to shoot it, drop a nasty dime or fool you into a helpless defensive position that allows him to get off a quirky shot. There aren't five players in the country more fun to watch play than Delly.
- Record: 27-5 overall, 14-2 in MAAC
- Most recent tournament appearance: 2010, No. 10 seed, reached the Sweet 16, where it lost to No. 3 Baylor, 72-49.
- We’re thinking: 5 seed
- KenPom ranking: 44
- Sagarin ranking: 35
- RPI: 31
- Best wins: at BYU, vs. Gonzaga
- Worst losses: vs. Loyola Marymount, at Denver
- Notable stat: The secret weapon for Saint Mary's is Clint Steindl. The senior forward isn't a focal point of the offense, but he averages more than 1.3 points per possession -- a top five rate in the nation.