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NCAA Bubble Watch: St. Mary's Securing Their Position In Advance of 2011 NCAA Tournament

The NCAA basketball week generally focuses in on Wednesday/Thursday and then Saturday/Sunday. As each set of games passes we’ll be taking a look at updated NCAA Bubble watch projections, analyzing where the St. Mary’s Gaels are lining up. SB Nation released their latest NCAA Bubble Watch and the St. Mary’s Gaels are climbing the rankings. After coming in last week at 37th, Saint Mary’s finds themselves in the 34th position this week courtesy of their win at Santa Clara last night.

As we approach the West Coast Conference tournament, Saint Mary’s has a legitimate chance of securing a virtually guaranteed at-large bid with a few more key wins in the coming weeks. Their resume-building continues tomorrow as the Gaels travel to War Memorial Gym to face the University of San Francisco Dons. If USF wins, they throw the WCC regular season title race wide-open, while a St. Mary’s win will move them much closer to the regular season crown. Gonzaga faces both USF and St. Mary’s in the coming weeks, which means a USF win tomorrow opens the door to a potential three-way share of the regular season title courtesy of splits amongst all three.

If St. Mary’s can get past USF on Saturday, their remaining schedule includes a road game at San Diego, followed by three straight home games against Utah State (Bracketbuster Saturday game), Gonzaga and Portland. While no win is guaranteed, St. Mary’s will likely be favored in their five remaining games. It will be a close spread with USF, Utah State, and Gonzaga, but I think they’ll be favored in those games. If they win out heading into the WCC tournament, the Gaels will be in position to not only secure an at-large bid, but also boost their seeding if they can win the WCC postseason title.