Here's Wednesday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: The NCAA claims it seeds based on players being hurt and players coming back. Like in 2001 when they gave Cincinnati a No. 2 seed because Kenyon Martin was out for the year. If they follow that trend, Saint Mary's has to be in. I think because it's a mid-major program they might not get the benefit of the doubt, but I will be rooting for them on Selection Sunday.
I've received a bunch of emails on my Saint Mary's column .
Some have been positive.
Some have been negative.
But I really don't understand the debate.
Again, there isn't a person in the world who would've told you Saint Mary's wasn't an NCAA tournament team when Patrick Mills broke his hand. The Gaels were 18-1 and -- here's the key, to me -- dominating at Gonzaga when Mills went down. And though I know the 18-1 wasn't against a tough schedule -- remember, I ripped Saint Mary's for its non-league schedule -- I think we saw all we needed to see in that one half of basketball at Gonzaga. Mills was the best player on the court, Saint Mary's was the better team, and suddenly it was clear that the 18-1 record belonged to a good team as opposed to an average team merely beating up on out-classed opponents.
So what the selection committee should do is ask itself the following questions:
1. When Mills was healthy, was Saint Mary's an NCAA tournament team?
2. Will Mills be healthy when the NCAA tournament begins?
If the answers to both of those questions are 'Yes' -- and they should be -- then it's nonsensical to keep Saint Mary's out because of the 6-4 record it managed in games where Mills played less than 20 minutes (i.e., the first Gonzaga game) or not at all because of the broken hand (i.e., every game to date since the first Gonzaga game). The Saint Mary's team that lost those games isn't the Saint Mary's team that'll play in the NCAA tournament any more than the Oklahoma team that lost to Kansas (sans Blake Griffin) is the Oklahoma team that'll play in the NCAA tournament.
Should OU be penalized for losing to KU without Griffin?
Based on that logic, Saint Mary's shouldn't be penalized for losing without Mills, either.
Swear to God, I will argue this point until I die.
And I don't plan on dying young.