completed a historic upset over the top-ranked team in the nation when it defeated 60-47 to win the West Coast Conference championship on Tuesday.
Gonzaga has dominated the WCC Tournament over the past two decades, being crowned champions 16 times over the past 20 seasons.
The Gaels needed the victory to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the second time since 2014. The Bulldogs were a lock for the Big Dance but needed to win the conference tournament to lock up the No. 1 seed. Their ranking will likely heavily rely on the result of the ACC Tournament. The ACC could possibly finish with three top seeds (North Carolina, Virginia, and Duke).
Gonzaga has ranked no lower than No. 8 in the nation this season and spent the past three weeks as the best team in college basketball. It was the only school in the conference to earn a national ranking at any point over the campaign.
Saint Mary’s narrowly failed to reach the NCAA Tournament last year after falling to Brigham Young in the second round of the conference tourney. It finished the regular season with a 27-4 record but was forced to enter the NIT Tournament as a consolation.
The two schools have met twice this season, with the Zags winning both games by wide margins, including a 48-point beatdown on Feb. 9.
Prior to Tuesday’s loss, Gonzaga hadn’t suffered defeat since losing consecutive games to Tennessee on Dec. 9 and North Carolina on Dec. 15.
It reeled off 21 straight victories afterward, winning each game by an average of 30.6 points.
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