It was only two weeks ago the case could be made Santa Clara had an outside shot of getting into the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid. After Saturday’s drubbing by BYU in the Leavey Center, there is more outside than shot for the Broncos.
The Broncos sat at 12-3 and had won its first conference since 2011. They had played well against Duke and had Gonzaga coming. Kerry Keating sent a message to the students and they responded.
Better yet, they had an RPI sitting in the 60s. All it would take is one win against either BYU or Gonzaga to truly solidify a shot.
Santa Clara fought hard and lost close to Gonzaga. No shame in that whatsoever.
All they had to do was take care of business against LMU and come home to face BYU. Instead it was LMU who took care of business by beating the Broncos. Then they returned home to lose by 18 to BYU.
What was once a RPI of 61 turned into one of 84.
There is a chance to redeem the RPI but they can no longer lose to the Pepperdine’s or San Diego’s of the conference. And, no, that is to meant to be a knock on either of those teams.
Saint Mary’s is in a similar boat right now (RPI: 76) and splitting with them would not hurt Santa Clara. But a win isn’t all that helpful as well.
Which means, of course, they will have to beat Gonzaga or BYU on the road.
The Broncos have shown the potential to stay in games with good teams. Now they need to show they can win one of these games.
I mean let’s go over those six losses: Gonzaga, BYU, Loyola Marymount, Duke, UC Santa Barbara, Utah State. The only one that sticks out as bad is LMU.
But when you go over the 12 wins, the only one there that sticks out is Saint Louis in November.
Don’t get me wrong teams have gotten in with that marquee win being in November against a team that looks better by the end of the year. It’s happened to Saint Mary’s once (2007-08).
Bottom line is Santa Clara has some work to do if they hope to have travel plans past the WCC Championships in Las Vegas.
Follow Zack Farmer on Twitter: @Zack_Farmer