Saint Mary’s Confident Heading To NCAA Tournament

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Saint Mary's Gaels

(L-R) Rob Jones #22, Clint Steindl #11 and Stephen Holt #14 of the Saint Mary’s Gaels celebrate after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 78-74 in overtime to win the championship game of the West Coast Conference Basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena March 5, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

MORAGA (KCBS) – After missing the NCAA Tournament last year, the Saint Mary’s men’s basketball team is looking for a bit more success as they are headed off to Omaha for their first game on Friday.

The team was showered with adulation at the Moraga campus Wednesday. Saint Mary’s students and Gaels supporters crammed into McKeon Pavilion Wednesday for a rally and send-off for the team.

The Gaels have had some recent success, making the NCAA Tournament field in both 2008 and 2010. In 2010, Saint Mary’s won two games as a #10 seed, reaching the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history.

KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:

Saint Mary’s was both the regular and postseason champion in the West Coast Conference this season, finishing with a 27-5 record, earning them the seventh seed in the Midwest region and a first round date with the Purdue Boilermakers.

Purdue finished with a 21-12 record and finished in sixth place in the Big Ten.

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Head coach Randy Bennett said he knows the Boilermakers will be a tough first round foe, but the Gaels are ready for the challenge at hand.

“I think we’re a very efficient offensive team and we’ve been good on the boards all year,” Bennett said. “Our team is pretty mentally tough and those are the qualities you need to have a chance to win the game.”

Friday’s game against Purdue takes place at 4:27 p.m.


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