24. Saint Mary’s Gaels - 18-6 (9-0 WCC)
After losing at home to Missouri State in the non-con, Saint Mary’s looked to need to almost run the table in WCC play to have a shot at an at-large bid. To their complete credit, that’s what has been happening, winning their last 10 games.
Against the top two opponents in the WCC, the Gaels were able to make a big statement as to who is the best team. They were at home against Santa Clara, starting with a 16-0 run. They were able to survive a late run by the Broncos to win 82-77, with all five starters in double figures. Augustus Marciulionis led the team with 20 points and six assists.
Saint Mary’s then took on rival Gonzaga, with first place on the line. In a desperate game for both sides, it remained a 1 or 2-possession game throughout the game, before the Gaels made a late push to hold on for a 64-62 win. Four players combined for all but two points, led by 20 points from Aidan Mahaney and 16 points and 11 rebounds from Joshua Jefferson.
With a two-game lead in the WCC standings, Saint Mary’s is the clear best team in the WCC. And as long as they don’t take a bad loss, they should be fine when it comes to March. They’ll have to be careful though, as they’ll be on the road this week for games against Pacific and Portland.