Read through the rest of the NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheets here.
Coach: Randy Bennett
Record: 27-5, 14-2 (1st)
Rankings and Ratings:
– Kenpom: 43
– RPI: 30
– AP/Coaches: Unranked/18th
Seeding?: Prior to their win over Gonzaga in the WCC title game on Monday night, most people had St. Mary’s slotted as a seven or eight seed with Gonzaga as a six. But now that the Gaels have won both the regular season and tournament titles in the WCC and own a sweep of the Zags, it only makes sense they would move up, right?
Names to know: Matthew Dellavedova (15.6 ppg, 6.4 apg), Rob Jones (14.8 ppg, 10.7 rpg), Stephen (10.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg)
Stats to know: It sounds weird saying this considering who is on their roster and how many they take, but St. Mary’s is not actually a great three point shooting team. They’re good, they have one great shooter in Clint Steindl and another timely shooter in Matthew Dellavedova, but they don’t win because of their long range bombing. They win because they are very efficient shooting the ball inside the arc — no long twos for the Gaels — and they are solid when it comes to protecting the rock and getting to the offensive glass.
Tendencies: The Gaels are a typical Randy Bennett team. They aren’t looking to beat you down the floor, they are looking to win with offensive execution. When their sets break down, they rely on Dellavedova, and to a lesser extent Stephen Holt and Jorden Page, to make a play in a pick-and-roll setting.
Big wins, bad losses: The only bad loss that St. Mary’s had was against a Loyola Marymount team that was much better by the end of the season. They beat Weber State and BYU in addition to their two wins over Gonzaga.
How’d they get here?: The Gaels won the WCC outright, the first time someone other Gonzaga did that since 2000, and they rolled through the WCC Tournament as the No. 1 seed.
Outlook: St. Mary’s is a very good basketball team that will have the chance to spring an upset in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Obviously, they are going to have to get lucky with their matchup — I don’t think this team has the perimeter defenders to handle someone like Missouri, but I think they matchup well with Ohio State or Michigan State.