The Saint Mary's Gaels punched their ticket to the 2019 NCAA tournament with a 60-47 upset of the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs in the West Coast Conference championship game.
This is the first time since 2012 that Gonzaga has failed to win the conference tournament.
Gaels guard Jordan Ford was one of three Saint Mary's players to score in double figures. He led the team with 17 points, while center Jordan Hunter (12 points, 15 rebounds) posted a double-double.
The Gaels held the Gonzaga offense to nearly half its scoring average (90.2 points). The Bulldogs shot 38.3 percent from the field and went 2-of-17 (11.8 percent) from beyond the arc.
Although Brandon Clarke had 16 points in the defeat, fellow Zags stars Rui Hachimura and Zach Norvell Jr. were largely invisible. Hachimura attempted just six shots en route to a nine-point night, while Norvell shot 1-of-11 and finished with two points.
Tuesday's result is bound to have a domino effect on the seeding for the NCAA tournament.
From Gonzaga's perspective, the selection committee may not look kindly upon such a heavy defeat this close to the Big Dance. The Bulldogs might be the No. 1 team in the country, but their hold on a No. 1 seed is far from airtight.
While slipping to a No. 2 seed wouldn't be the worst outcome for Gonzaga, it would make the team's road to the Final Four a little more difficult.
The Gaels' win was the worst-case scenario for any at-large teams on the bubble. In his most recent edition of Bracketology, ESPN's Joe Lunardi projected Saint Mary's as one of his "next four out." Now, the squad is guaranteed a place in the 68-team field.
The Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, ACC, SEC and Pac-12 tournaments haven't even started yet, with all six set to tip off Wednesday. Bubble teams still have an opportunity to either impress the selection committee or claim a guaranteed tournament berth.
Conversely, a few more schools may emulate Saint Mary's and play the role of spoiler, shrinking the margin for error even further for those programs with work to do in the coming days.