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Semifinal loss for No. 20 Saint Mary’s will make for stressful week

Pepperdine v Saint Mary's

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 03: Jock Landale #34 of the Saint Mary’s Gaels walks on the court during a quarterfinal game of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament against the Pepperdine Waves at the Orleans Arena on March 3, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Gaels won 69-66. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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Selection Sunday is only six days away, but it going to feel like six weeks for No. 20 Saint Mary’s.

The Gaels lost to BYU in the semifinals of the WCC tournament on Monday night, and managed to put themselves in a position where getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament is legitimately in doubt.

Entering Monday, Saint Mary’s had just a single Quadrant 1 win on the season, and that came at Gonzaga, who ranks 29th in the RPI; ironically enough, losing to BYU made the Cougars jump into the top 75, meaning that the Gaels now actually have two Quadrant 1 wins. In a vacuum, that is something can be overcome.

But we’re not in a vacuum.

We’re living in a world where Saint Mary’s lost to Washington State on a neutral court and lost at San Francisco; in another ironic twist, the Gaels loss to Gonzaga on Monday night dropped them to 136th in the RPI, meaning that Saint Mary’s now has a pair of Quadrant 3 losses as well.

Regardless of the issues with grouping, what is clear is that at 28-5 on the season, the Gaels are nowhere near safe. They haven’t beaten a team ranked in the top 250 in the RPI in more than a month, and the last thing the Selection Committee is going to remember about this team is barely beating Pepperdine, who already announced the resignation of their coach, and then getting rolled out of Vegas by BYU.

Gun to head, I think they get in.

But there are going to be some anxious days coming up, and a lot of rooting against bubble teams.