What Gonzaga’s Loss Means for the NCAA Tournament

If someone told you two days ago that Gonzaga wouldn’t win the West Coast Conference tournament you would have laughed in their face.

If someone had told Gonzaga they weren’t going to get the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, they might have laughed too.

The Bulldogs dropped their final non-tournament game of the season on Tuesday in Las Vegas to Saint Mary’s 60-47. Gonzaga’s west coast winning streak is over after they went 16-0 in conference play during the season. The win came after Saint Mary’s dropped a home game to Gonzaga by a score of 69-55.

The Zags didn’t score more than 24 points in a quarter and were held to their lowest point total of a season by far. Saint Mary’s was able to stifle the Zags best shooters as only two of Mark Few’s players scored in double figures.

The loss for what may have been the overall number one seed in the tournament has a domino effect on the rest of division one. Saint Mary’s now occupies a spot in the tournament that they wouldn’t have taken up if they had lost. This means the bubble for teams searching for an at-large bit has shrank one spot.

The biggest losers of St. Mary’s upset are bubble mid-major teams. Conference losers like UNC Greensboro, Furman, Libscomb and Belmont are all tournament worthy teams that may not get a chance due to a smaller bubble. Power conference teams like Temple, Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Clemson and nearly half of the big east all see their spots now see their spots at risk as well.

Saint Mary’s deserves a spot in the tournament after beating a monster in Gonzaga. Other teams now have to sit and wait until Sunday to hope their resumes are strong enough to join St. Mary’s in the field.

photo via: Las Vegas Review-Journal


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