In an amazing upset against the No. 2 seeded Villanova Wildcats on Saturday, we learned a lot about how scary of a team Saint Mary's can be for the rest of the tournament.
With an impressive 75-68 win against the Wildcats, we have found out for sure that the Gaels can play and we have learned quite a lot about them after this win. Here are a few things we have learned after the victory:
Omar Samhan is the best Center in this years tournament
Yes, I know that this is a long shot to say that he is the best center in the tournament just after two impressive games, but have any other centers made this much of an impact on a team as he has? He is undoubtedly the best player and the leader on this Cinderella team.
During the season as well, he was also the center who made the biggest impact on his team. In these two games, he has averaged 30.5 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game. He has also been just dominating games and has made sure to not get enough fouls to foul out of the game, which is one problem he has.
Even though he does look very wide, he still can play and he does remind me of a young Shaq or a young Dejuan Blair. After seeing his two big performances I can guarantee you that his draft stock is rising and a lot of NBA scouts will be looking at drafting him.
The Australians "got game"
Throughout the game I was hearing quite a lot about the Australians who are playing in the Gaels' starting lineup (Ben Allen, Clint Steindl, and Matthew Dellavedova). At first, I was a bit skeptical of how good the Australians were going to be. But after seeing the three Australians play today, I can see why Saint Mary's coach, Randy Bennett, would go so far away to get stellar talent.
On the offensive end, only the freshman Dellavedova was hot from the field, with 14 points and some good 3-point shooting during the game. But the most impressive part of the Australians' game was their defensive gameplay, as all three Australians in the starting lineup held Villanova to 36 percent shooting in the game. Also, the Australians held Villanova's big three (Fisher, Redding, and Reynolds) to only 22 points combined throughout the afternoon.
Saint Mary's can beat Baylor in the next round to get to the Elite Eight if Baylor beats Old Dominion
Yes, I know what your thinking: that if Baylor wins against Old Dominion, it will be the end of the Cinderella story for Saint Mary's. But by seeing the Gaels win these last two tough games, anything is possible for Saint Mary's.
First of all, there are some key things that Saint Mary's will have to do if they want to beat a team like Baylor or Old Dominion in the next round. The key to winning the game is defense, defense, and defense. I know it sounds corny, that defense wins games, but that is how Saint Mary's beat Villanova. The reason they won was that they tried to stay out of foul trouble and held Villanova best players to all under 10 points.
With Samhan, Dellavedova, and Micky McConnell scoring well on the offensive end, then all the Gaels will need to really worry about is stopping the good scorers on Old Dominion or Baylor. If Old Dominion wins, then Saint Mary's will need to have Ben Allen especially step up because Old Dominion's big men (Frank Hassell and Gerald Lee) are really good scorers.
If Baylor wins, then the big three of Saint Mary's (Samhan, Dellavedova, and McConnell) really need to step up to stop Baylor's big three, with guards LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter, plus Center Ekpe Udoh.
It'll be a tough road for Saint Mary's to beat either team, but with Samhan playing outstanding on the offensive and with some really good defense by the rest of the team, Saint Mary's will have a date against the other team in the South in the Elite Eight.
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