Saint Mary’s is in.
It makes two straight tournament appearances for Saint Mary’s, the first time in school history, and marks the third time in four years the Gaels will be dancing.
“It felt great,” Saint Mary’s forward Beau Levesque said. “The uncertainty was always there. We felt like we deserved a little higher seed but we’re excited to be in.”
There have already been great moments from teams in the First Four. Only two years ago, VCU ran all the way to the Final Four as the same 11-seed.
The premier NCAA Tournament moment for Saint Mary’s remains its upset victory over Villanova in 2010 to reach the Sweet Sixteen.
It was unexpected and filled with memorable moments from Omar Samham, Mickey McConnell, and Matthew Dellavedova. That season, Dellavedova, Beau Levesque, Jorden Page, and Mitchell Young were all freshmen on that team. Now these four are the key cogs for the Gaels.
Four years later, Dellavedova has his name splattered all over the Saint Mary’s record book. In the two full seasons Levesque and Page have played in, the Gaels have reached the NCAA Tournament. Both missed the 2010-11 season with injuries.
Now with time running down this group has one last chance to make an impression and stamp its place in not only Saint Mary’s but NCAA lore.
“I’ve been really fortunate to play on some great teams that have gotten in the tournament and even gone pretty far in the tournament,” Levesque said. “We’ve had guys who have won in March and won in the tournament. I feel that experience is invaluable. That will help us a lot.”
When the four have been active members of the team, they have reached three NCAA Tournaments, won two WCC tournament titles, two WCC regular season title, and have accumulated at least 27 wins in each of those seasons.
This is the most decorated group of players in school history and their season won’t end in McKeon Pavilion but on the road in the NCAA Tournament, exactly where this class made its name.
Jorden Page, who injured his right knee during the WCC championship game on Mar. 11, is doubtful for the Gaels’ game against Middle Tennessee State. Saint Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett said the swelling of the knee has gone down but he likely won’t play.
Recent WCC history in First Four
BYU was in this same situation a year ago. The Cougars went to Dayton and had the largest comeback in NCAA Tournament history as they stormed back from 25 down against Iona to move onto the second round.