Two years ago Saint Mary’s shocked the country in the NCAA tournament when, as a No. 10 seed, it upset Richmond and Villanova on its way to the Sweet 16. If the Gaels shock anyone in the tournament this year then it’s because of negligence because they might be the best team on the West Coast.
The Gaels are currently undefeated in the West Coast Conference, including an impressive 3-0 over Gonzaga and BYU. In those three wins, the smallest margin of victory was 14 points.
Leading the Gaels is Australia native Matthew Dellavedova who played a key role in that Sweet 16 role two years ago as a sharpshooting roleplayer. He’s still a sharpshooter, but now he’s one of the best guards in the country.
Complimenting Dellavedova is Rob Jones who’s averaging a double-double with 14.3 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. This is a dangerous team and clearly a top-25 squad.
Stock Up: Florida St. Earlier in the season it looked like the Seminoles were in serious trouble of making the tournament. However, they turned it around and are looking like legit contenders for the ACC regular season championship. More than the wins over North Carolina and Duke; the Seminoles are staying focused and taking care of the Maryland’s and Wake Forest’s of the world. That shows staying power at the top of the conference.
Stock Down: Pac-12. The conference has been struggling for a few years now, but at least last year it had a few good teams. This is the worst I’ve seen a power conference. This week I only have one Pac-12 team in the bracket and that’s a shame. UCLA is down, Arizona is struggling. Those are the two bell cows for this league and it won’t get back right until they do.
Stock Up: Notre Dame. Mike Brey might be doing it again. People seem to count his teams out every year yet he manages to get them going again. The Fighting Irish are in a three-way tie for third place in the Big East with Georgetown and South Florida due to a three-game winning streak over Syracuse, Seton Hall and Connecticut. Notre Dame is young and lacking star power, but make no mistake about it, its ready to make another run at the Big Dance.
Stock Down. A-10 contenders. What’s going on in the Atlantic 10. St. Joseph’s, St. Louis, Dayton, Xavier and Temple are all taking turns proving that they can’t handle success. Despite impressive non-conference resumes, none of them seem to want to win the regular season conference title. This has resulted in a three-way first place tie between Massachusetts, St. Bonaventure and La Salle. Stretch run in the A-10 looks to be fun, but it may not be pretty.
This Week’s Bracket Projections:
Last Four In: BYU, Arkansas, Colorado St, Alabama
Last Four Out: UCF, Washington, Wyoming, Mississippi
Good for games through 1/29
1.Kentucky16.UNC-Asheville/Mississippi Valley St Louisville
5.Gonzaga12.Seton Hall Portland
4.Florida St13.Oral Roberts
6.Mississippi St11.Minnesota Albuquerque
1.North Carolina16.Texas-Arlington/Stony Brook Greensboro
4.Marquette13.Long Beach St
8.Southern Miss9.Kansas St
5.San Diego St12.Purdue Nashville
6.Murray St11.Massachusetts Columbus
7.West Virginia10.Iowa St Greensboro
1.Ohio St16.Norfolk St Pittsburgh
5.Georgetown12.Colorado St/Arkansas Columbus
4.St. Mary’st13.Middle Tennessee St
6.Indiana11.New Mexico Louisville