The Saint Mary's Gaels wrapped up another strong week of basketball on Saturday as they blew out the BYU Cougars at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. BYU has now lost two straight at home for the first time since Dave Rose took over as head coach. While the Cougars are not the same time that led Jimmer-mania last season, they are good enough that a road win in Provo still counts for something.
SMC improved to 21-2 overall and 10-0 in conference play with road wins over BYU and Loyola Marmount. This marks the best start in school history and the Gaels find themselves in a position not only to make the NCAA tournament, but to force the selection committee into providing the Gaels with a fairly solid seed. Joe Lunardi's Bracketology update last Monday had the Gaels as a six seed in the West. If SMC can keep up their hot streak, they could very well work their way into a three or four seed by season's end.
When the AP and USA Today/Coaches Polls come out later today, the Gaels will likely climb at least a couple spots in each ranking. They are ranked No. 21 in the AP Poll and saw No. 20 Michigan, No. 18 Mississippi State, No. 16 Indiana and No. 13 San Diego State lose this week. SMC is ranked No. 20 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll and saw No. 19 Connecticut, No. 17 Indiana, No. 16 Mississippi State and No. 12 San Diego State all lose.
While Saint Mary's likely won't climb past all four, they provide a chance for some significant gain this week. The Gaels head into this week with a fairly light schedule, hosting San Diego on Thursday and having Saturday off. A week later they travel to Spokane for a huge road showdown with the Gonzaga Bulldogs. A win over Gonzaga would just about lock up the conference regular season title.