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Tag:Saint Mary's
Posted on: March 6, 2012 12:08 am
Edited on: March 6, 2012 12:20 am
 

Tiny Dancers: Saint Mary's Gaels

For the first time in program history, Saint Mary's takes home the regular-season and postseason championships in the WCC. It was the third WCC title for the Gaels overall, as they won an epic overtime game and WCC final against blood rival Gonzaga Monday night. No matter what happens in the NCAA tournament, this is a huge year -- more than just a double-banner one -- for SMC, which for so long has fought to catch up to Gonzaga. Within the conference, it achieved that with this title. Saint Mary's has traded and landed enough blows to be side by side with Gonzaga in stature for the near-future.

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.

The Vitals:

  • 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. 
-- Matt Norlander

Posted on: February 28, 2012 10:00 am
Edited on: February 28, 2012 10:00 am
 

What-to-know tourney previews: West Coast

Only once before, in 2008, has West Coast Conference earned three bids to the Big Bracket.

It could and should happen again this year.

Brigham Young, the newbie on the block in its first year as a WCC rent-paying member, is the team with the hazy postseason future (Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga are definitely seeing their names on CBS the night of Selection Sunday). BYU likely needs to get to the conference title game in order to make a good claim at entering the field. I think it will do that, because what the hey, this is a league tournament preview and we’re supposed to be optimistic about these things.

The WCC bracket actually stands a decent chance at getting hairy, too, and no that’s not an excuse for you to take off your shirt while you watch the late-night games beginning on Wednesday. It’s also got nothing to do with the conference taking its championship to Las Vegas for the fourth straight year, a continually smart move by the WCC. If things truly do go to plan, we’ll see leaked photos of Gonzaga’s Robert Sacre owning the craps tables at The Cosmopolitan.

The past three years have been a tune-up to BYU’s arrival in the sense that Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s have tussled between winning the titles — and now we’ve got a viable third option to take it all. But — and I swear this isn’t just empty prognostication — Loyola Marymount could be a spoiler in some sense. It finished 11-5 in the league and did beat BYU and SMC. The Gaels and Lions would meet in the semis if chalk won out.

Gonzaga won it all in 2011 and has taken 10 of the past 13 WCC tourney titles. (AP)

The bottom half of the league (San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, Santa Clara, Pepperdine) isn’t that intimidating. Santa Clara was winless this year, and USF has the best record of the crop with an 8-8 league record. None of the teams are top 140 in KenPom and every single one of them is brutal defensively, easily allowing more than a point per possession.

So it’s the top three and LMU as the wild card. Gonzaga’s won this league championship 10 of the past 13 years. And how about a crazy stat? Only two teams the past five years have won 25 games in every season. Duke and Saint Mary’s. Just as nutty: Gonzaga and BYU will equal that mark if Gonzaga wins two and BYU wins one in the bracket. Going to be a good one; the WCC field usually gives an enthralling game or two, and seven of the eight contests will be on television this year.

****

TOURNAMENT BRACKET

Schedule: Feb. 29-March 5
Title game:
Monday, March 5, ESPN2.

BEST PLAYERS  

  1. Matthew Dellevadova, Saint Mary’s
  2. Elias Harris, Gonzaga
  3. Robert Sacre, Gonzaga
  4. Brandon Davies, BYU
  5. Noah Hartsock, BYU

Conference RPI: 11

KenPom.com rating: 11

Sagarin rating: 11

NCAA Tournament Locks: Saint Mary’s, Gonzaga

NCAA Tournament Bubble Teams: BYU

Last NCAA Tournament Appearance:

  • Brigham Young Cougars: 2011, 3 seed, won second-round game over Wofford, 74-66. Won third-round game over Gonzaga, 89-67. Lost in Sweet 16 to Florida, 83-74.
  • Gonzaga Bulldogs: 2011, 11 seed, won second-round game over St. John’s, 86-71. Lost in third round to Brigham Young, 89-67.
  • Loyola Marymount: 1990, 11 seed, reached Elite Eight, lost to UNLV, 131-101
  • Portland Pilots: 1996, 14 seed, lost in first round to Villanova, 92-58.
  • Pepperdine Waves: 2002, 10 seed, lost in first round to Wake Forest, 83-74.
  • Saint Mary's Gaels: 2010, 10 seed, won first-round game over Richmond, 80-71. Won second-round game over Villanova, 75-68. Lost in Sweet 16 to Baylor, 72-49.
  • San Diego Toreros: 2008, 13 seed, won first-round game over UConn, 70-69 (OT), lost second-round game, 72-63, to Western Kentucky.
  • San Francisco Dons: 2008, 14 seed, lost first-round game to Utah, 85-68.
  • Santa Clara Broncos: 1996, 10 seed, won first-round game over Maryland, 91-79, lost in second round to Kansas, 76-51.

By Matt Norlander

Posted on: February 28, 2012 8:45 am
Edited on: February 28, 2012 8:57 am
 

Wakeup: Ultimate reference list to conf tourneys

Hoyas fans dressed proudly and in unison for Senior Night. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander


Time-traveling hipster will be all over your Tumblrs and Facebook feeds by Wednesday afternoon. // Volcano eruption imminent. // Seems like such a nice guy. // One of my former colleagues helped write a riveting story about a cannibal. Read it ...

★ Marcus Morris allegedly got punch-happy at a bar after Kansas knocked out Missouri.

★ Wow. This is an incredible piece of reference. It has every single school playing in conference tournament with links to online streams, radio stations. Very valuable.

Derek Needham done for the year for Fairfield, which means the fourth-seeded Stags' hopes to win the MAAC just became realllly slim.

★ I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS PHOTO OF MICHAEL SWEETNEY.

Depressing but not at all surprising.

★ Heady analysis here by Jason Lisk; his definition of the bubble completely matches mine.

★ This Dan Hanner chunky soup of a column reinforces my undying love for college basketball. Sorry to get crude, but it's a terrific poop-and-read.

★ Yes is this a superb column from Pat Forde on Sean Woods.

★ The best big man you've never seen play.

★ This column on Calipari from Doyel makes you think.

★ Keiton Page is now the 3-point leader for Oklahoma State, all-time.

Duke as a No. 1 seed is an impossibility to get a handle on until the Blue Devils' home game against the Tar Heels completes this Saturday.

★ Montana and Weber State play tonight. That game has big implications.

★ Thinking this Kindle/eBook on college basketball tournament trivia is the perfect thing for you.

★ Really like the assortment of good reads in today's Wakeup Call. Scott Powers put together this piece for ESPNChicago.com.

★ New Orleans begins its prep for the Final Four.

♬ The best radio hit OK Go's had is "Do What You Want." Good power pop band. Feel better about yourself; it's Tuesday.

Posted on: February 20, 2012 6:27 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 6:32 pm
 

The Poll Attacks: IU belongs on everyone's ballot

By Gary Parrish

Did you include Indiana on your Top 25 ballot?

If so, you're cool.

If not, you're Poll Attacked.

Associated Press poll: Indiana's loss at Iowa was bad. No denying that. But should it have been enough for some voters to omit the Hoosiers from their ballots? Absolutely not. And yet 15 AP voters -- including my pals Seth Davis and Dick Vitale -- left Indiana off their ballots, which is confusing because there's no way to conclude Tom Crean's team doesn't have one of the nation's best 25 bodies of work. They own wins over No. 1 Kentucky, No. 8 Ohio State, No. 11 Michigan, No. 20 Notre Dame and NCAA hopefuls Purdue, Northwestern and North Carolina State. Meantime, four of their seven losses are to teams currently ranked in the top 16. So they really only have three bad losses.

Iowa was one of them.

Again, that's an undeniable statement.

But almost everybody outside of the top 15 has at least three bad losses, and almost nobody outside of the top 15 owns the wins Indiana owns. Bottom line, what happened here is what happens too often in college basketball, i.e., a total overreaction based on the outcome of one 40-minute game that happens to be the most recent thing we've seen. The Iowa loss cost Indiana a few spots in our Top 25 (and one), as it should've. But it should not have cost the Hoosiers as much as some voters made it cost them. They're 15th at KenPom.com and 19th at CollegeRPI.com, and I think that's about right. They belong in the 15-to-20 range. Any formula suggesting otherwise is a bad formula. Any ballot suggesting otherwise is a bad ballot.

Coaches poll: I like Saint Mary's and think the Gaels will be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament. But that doesn't mean they should be ranked 23rd in the latest coaches poll. Or 24th. Or 25th. Or at all. Saint Mary's is 23-5 against a schedule that ranks 108th at CollegeRPI.com and 185th at KenPom.com and features two non-Division I opponents. The Gaels have three losses to unranked opponents. They are 0-2 against currently ranked opponents, and both of those losses (to Baylor and Murray State) came by double-digits.

Are they playing well now?

No.

They've dropped three of their past four.

Are they healthy?

No.

Both starting guards are hobbled.

So there is literally nothing tangible on which to base SMC's ranking. The Gaels might well win the WCC title, and that'll be a nice accomplishment. But at this moment, as I type, they're just a banged-up team lacking quality victories that's lost three of their past four games. The coaches voting for them must be the same coaches who are still voting for Mississippi State -- that SEC outfit that's dropped three straight to unranked opponents.
Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:00 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 12:07 pm
 

Saint Mary's could be without Delly at Murray St.

Saint Mary's guard Matthew Dellavedova (ankle) will be a game-time decision against Murray State. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Goodman

You know that huge matchup we were all excited about between Saint Mary's and Murray State. It's turned out to potentially be a yawner like most of the other BracketBusters. 

Murray State is no longer undefeated, but this was still supposed be a measuring stick for a Racers team that remains somewhat of a mystery. But now the Gaels limp into the CFSB Center in Murray without starting guard Stephen Holt and potentially without star guard Matthew Dellavedova. 

Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett told CBSSports.com that Dellavedova, the team's top player, will be a game-time decision with an ankle injury, and as of now it looks "doubtful." Holt, one of the team's most complete players, is out for the next couple weeks after suffering a partially torn MCL. 

Saint Mary's comes to Murray on a two-game losing streak following a 11-0 start in WCC play. There was the setback at Gonzaga, which wasn't much of a surprise, but then came a home loss to Loyola Marymount. The Racers are 25-1 with the lone loss coming earlier this month at home against Tennessee State. 

When this matchup was announced, it was the heavyweight bout for the BracketBusters. The WCC's elite team and one on the verge of cracking the Top 10 against the nation's last remaining team without a loss. 

The Gaels are struggling, No. 16 Murray State is no longer unbeaten and we may not even have the stellar point guard matchup between Racers guard Isaiah Canaan and Delly. 

However, it's still an important game for both teams -- maybe more so for host Murray. The Racers will need to win this one, especially if Dellavedova doesn't play. Despite its lofty ranking, Canaan & Co. can ill-afford a slip-up here with road contests against Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech to close out the regular-season. 

A couple more losses, in addition to coming up short in the Ohio Valley tournament, could mean sweating it out on Selection Sunday. 

Posted on: February 16, 2012 5:00 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 5:56 pm
 

Saint Mary's loss gives more hope to Zags Streak

By Jeff Goodman

Gonzaga still has a shot to extend The Streak. 

After last night's shocking loss by Saint Mary's at home against Loyola Marymount, the 'Zags can move within a half-game of the Gaels with a road victory tonight against a Santa Clara team that is winless in WCC play. 

Just a week ago, it seemed far-fetched to think Mark Few could run the program's streak of consecutive WCC regular-season titles to a dozen. Then the Zags took care of Saint Mary's in Spokane -- and the Gaels lost at LMU and also may have lost key starter Stephen Holt, who suffered a knee injury and won't play against Murray State this weekend. 

As I noted last week on my trip out to Spokane, this is a Gonzaga team that has found a way to remain under the radar despite being 20-4 overall (it's the 15th consecutive season the Zags have won at least 20). Maybe it was the losses to Michigan State and Illinois -- or the league setbacks at Saint Mary's and BYU (two difficult places to play). Or maybe it was the fact that the Gaels were dominating the WCC and unbeaten at 11-0 until last week. 

But Gonzaga's freshmen guards -- Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell -- have matured  and the Zags have a couple of experienced guys up front in Robert Sacre and Elias Harris that are capable of playing with just about anyone. Pangos averaged 24 points, 5.5 assists and didn't turn the ball over at all in the last two wins against Saint Mary's and LMU. 

The Zags, with a strong finish in the final five regular-season games, can make it 12 consecutive seasons. 

Just one shy of UCLA's record of 13 straight league crowns back in the glory days from 1967-79. 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 10, 2012 1:06 am
Edited on: February 10, 2012 1:17 am
 

Gonzaga keeps The Streak alive

By Jeff Goodman

SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga's streak isn't over yet. 

A year ago, the Zags made a late run after trailing Saint Mary's by three games to claim a share of the WCC title. It was the 11th consecutive season that Mark Few's team had sat at the top of the WCC, just two shy of UCLA's record of 13. 

Few and his team got blasted by 21 at Saint Mary's last month and then dropped one a couple weeks ago in Provo to BYU while the Gaels rolled through the league slate, winning their first 11 games. 

A two-game edge with five to play. 

But the 'Zags kept their hopes alive on Thursday night in front of a sold-out crowd at the McCarthey Athletic Center -- and one of the most rabid and entertaining student sections I've ever seen. 

It was freshman point guard Kevin Pangos, who has fallen off the national radar since his nine-trifecta performance against Washington State on Nov. 15, who led the 'Zags to a 73-59 win over Saint Mary's. 

Few was upset that his team didn't play tough against BYU -- and they were manhandled on the road in Moraga. But they came out with plenty of intensity in what was the most important game of the season -- and knocked off a Saint Mary's team that came in with a No. 13 ranking and a 12-game winning streak.

That streak is now history. 

But The Streak remains alive.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 7, 2012 12:57 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 2:21 pm
 

Tuesday poll, here we go

By Matt Norlander

You know what to do. Here we are again, voting on the outcomes of games. The results will air on "Courtside with Seth Davis" Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET, as well as "Inside College Basketball," which goes live at 11 p.m. ET later that night. Both shows, of course, are on the CBS Sports Network.



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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com