After landing the No. 7 seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, the Saint Mary's Gaels will be playing the 10th-seeded Purdue Boilermakers to kick things off in the first round. The Gaels received an automatic bid from the tournament's selection committee after winning the WCC postseason tournament. That combined with the regular season conference title and a 27-5 record was enough to warrant a solid seed.
Althoguh Saint Mary's has been in the shadow of Gonzaga for many years, the 2011-12 squad finally broke through in claiming both the regular and postseason conference titles. SMC returns to the tournament for the first time since their Sweet 16 run in 2010. That year the Gaels were a ten seed and upset No. 7 Richmond and No. 2 Villanova before falling to the No. 3 Baylor Bears.
Purdue earned an at-large bid to the tournament following a 21-12 season and a second round Big Ten tournament loss to Ohio State. The Boilermakers biggest wins of the year included early season neutral court victories over Temple and Iona, and a late season road upset of the ranked Michigan Wolverines. The Boilermakers are led by senior forward Robbie Hummel, who leads the team with 16.3 points per game and 7.1 rebounds per game.
Brackets on the brain? Us too! Play Yahoo! Tourney Pick'em and be a part of the craziest month of college basketball. It is fun, easy, and free. For more coverage of St. Mary's in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, visit the SB Nation Bay Area NCAA Tournament Storystream. Click here for a link to our 2012 NCAA Bracket. And of course, make sure and get your printable bracket!