Blog Entry

Tiny Dancers: Saint Mary's Gaels

Posted on: March 6, 2012 12:08 am
Edited on: March 6, 2012 12:20 am
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


Since: Oct 17, 2007
Posted on: March 7, 2012 5:48 pm

Tiny Dancers: Saint Mary's Gaels

Yes, the lost to a team that 30-1 after flying across the country while half the team was injured.

Meanwhile, UCONN went 8-10 in conference. They don't even belong in the tournament.  

Since: Feb 3, 2011
Posted on: March 7, 2012 4:27 pm

Tiny Dancers: Saint Mary's Gaels

There is no way they are seeded better then 8 or 9. Their schedule is terrible. They played no one all year outside of BYU and Zags.  They went to little Murray st and got throttled.    They cant be seeded better then Uconn, Cincinnati, west V, ND and the like no way inhell.

Since: Mar 6, 2012
Posted on: March 6, 2012 2:32 pm

Gaels will be a force come March

Don't forget, St. Mary's late season slip was caused by injuries to three starters.  Delly sprained an ankle against LMU and basically played on one leg against Murray State.  Their best big Waldow could barely walk around with bruised ribs, and starting guard (and best defender) Stephen Holt has been absent since then with a sprained MCL.  Now they're healthy and will finally get Holt back for the tourney.  Look out!

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