Last season, Gonzaga’s run to the Sweet 16 overshadowed the reality that this team was far from a lock for the NCAA Tournament in the first place. Had they not won the West Coast Conference Tournament, they might have been in the NIT, as it was not typical of the seasons the program has had the last two decades.
The Bulldogs didn’t run through the WCC as they often have over the past couple of decades. Saint Mary’s actually had the top seed in the conference tournament via tie-breaker after sweeping them during the regular season. In non-conference play, it was debatable whether or not wins over Washington and UConn (both in the Battle 4 Atlantis) would be enough. They whiffed on their other chances, dropping close ones to Texas A&M (also at the Battle 4 Atlantis), at home against Arizona and at SMU, all by single digits.