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St. Mary's vs. Vanderbilt: Gaels Look To Remain Off NCAA Bubble Watch

The Saint Mary's Gaels take a brief detour from their West Coast Conference schedule to face a tough non-conference foe in the Vanderbilt Commodores. The Commodores are currently 13-4 and ranked 19th in the RPI and a St. Mary's win would put them in prime position for a quality spot in the NCAA tournament this March. The Gaels currently lead the WCC with a 5-0 conference record and are hoping to avoid worrying about NCAA bubble watch implications. If they can win their conference, a victory over a team like Vanderbilt will simply boost their resume for a higher seed. SB Nation currently has the Gaels listed as a seventh seed. A win over Vanderbilt would likely vault them to at least a six seed, if not higher in SB Nation's projections.

Saint Mary's is 17-2 and in the midst of an 11-game winning streak. Their only losses this season were at San Diego State and again BYU on a neutral court. Those two teams are both in the top ten at this point as the Gaels schedule has them currently ranked 42nd in the RPI. Their remaining conference schedule will not do much for their strength of schedule, which makes today's game all the more important.

The Gaels have been led this season by two-time WCC player of the week and one-time national player of the week Mickey McConnell. McConnell is averaging 15 points per game and 6.4 assists per game while shooting 48% from there and 91% from the free throw line. Junior Rob Jones leads the team on the inside with 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds, and has five double-doubles on the season.

The Commodores are led by sophomore John Jenkins who leads the SEC in scoring, averaging 18.7 points per game. He is also among the league leaders in three-point shooting. Jeffery Taylor is scoring 14.5 per gam, while Lance Goulbourne is sixth in the SEC with 7.9 rebounds per game. Guard Brad Tinsley is the league leader in assists at 4.6 per game.