Really, it wasn’t that hard for Saint Mary’s.
Just play Gonzaga close. Just have Patrick Mills look competent.
It didn’t happen last night, and Mills played poorly. The Gaels got run out of Vegas, and now sit at 25-6, with an RPI of 46, a 3-4 record vs. the top 100 and no road victories against the top 130.
They beat Utah State (without Mills), San Diego State (with Mills) and Providence (back in November on a neutral floor).
Those are solid wins, but they aren’t gaudy.
So Saint Mary’s will be the big question come Sunday. It’s going to be pure guesswork trying to figure out where the Gaels wind up. Assuming they beat Eastern Washington on Friday, this will be the most troubling team to consider for the rest of week.
My inclination is to say the Gaels are an NIT team, simply because it’s clear Mills isn’t himself. For now, they’re the last team in my projected field, with a new at-large board coming shortly.
* VCU locked up the CAA title, and George Mason sure looked like an NIT team in the process.
* Siena silenced some squawking by dispatching Niagara at home, and Kenny Hasbrouck and the Saints will be no fun at all to contend with in a 6-11 game next week.
—- Patrick Stevens