St. Mary's 2008 NCAA Tournament Capsule
St. Mary’s Gaels - West Coast Conference (25-6, 12-2)
Seed: #10 - South Region
Big Wins: 11/10 Drake (72-66), 11/20 Oregon (99-87), 2/4 Gonzaga (89-85)
Bad Losses: 12/11 Southern Illinois (56-71), 1/28 at San Diego (55-63), 3/9 vs San Diego (69-75)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2005, First Round loss to Southern Illinois
Coach: Randy Bennett (0-1 in 1 NCAA appearance)
Probable St. Mary's Starters:
- Patrick Mills, Freshman, Guard, 14.5 ppg, 3.4 apg, 1.8 spg
- Todd Golden, Senior, Guard, 7.0 ppg, 2.6 apg
- Ian O’Leary, Junior, Forward, 7.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg
- Diamon Simpson, Junior, Forward, 13.6 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.8 bpg
- Omar Samhan, Sophomore, Center, 10.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.4 bpg
Key St. Mary's Roleplayers:
- Tron Smith, Senior, Guard, 8.2 ppg, 1.6 apg
- Carlin Hughes, Junior, Guard, 5.9 ppg, 2.5 apg
- Yusef Smith, Junior, Forward, 4.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Why The Gaels Can Surprise:
They might not be household names, but St. Mary’s has a trio of superstars who will be known to all college basketball fans soon enough. Last year it was Diamon Simpson who led the way, but now he has some help. Still Simpson is a very important piece of the puzzle. The 6-7 junior is a great slasher and will use his amazing vertical to be a dominating force on the glass.
Center Omar Samhan went from a mere roleplayer as a freshman to a quality post player. At 6-11 and 265 pounds, he has the body to battle in the paint with just about anybody. Samhan has a nice touch on his mid-range jumper and his ability to stretch the defense sets him apart from most traditional big men. Yet, it is the addition of Patrick Mills that has turned St. Mary’s into a top 25 team most of this season. The freshman point guard turns the ball over a little too much and could be a little better outside shooter, but his value to the team is immeasurable.
Why The Gaels Can Disappoint:
With a freshman handling the ball most of the time, it is not too surprising the turnovers are a little high. However, the Gaels do have a couple other options in Todd Golden and Carlin Hughes who can handle the ball as well. The turnovers are not that big of an issue, but St. Mary’s will need to keep them relatively low if they want to win a couple of games. The other thing they will need to do down the stretch of close games is hit some free-throws. Mills, Golden and Hughes are solid from the charity stripe, but some others tend to struggle. Nobody is that horrible, but overall the team shoots under 67 percent and it has led to losses this year.
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Who To Watch:
Outside the big three, St. Mary’s has a few other players who will be crucial to the Gaels success. Forward Ian O’Leary and sixth-man guard Tron Smith have the potential to be the fourth scoring threat on any given night. O’Leary spends most of his time on the perimeter, while Smith provides a spark off the bench by getting to the basket. Golden and Hughes can do a little scoring as well, but they are most valuable supplementing Mills handling the ball.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.0 (52 nd in nation, 2 nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.2 (54, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.1 (71, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.4 (35, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.9 (58, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36. (124, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.5 (254, 7)
Rebound Margin: 3.8 (56, 2)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (90, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.7 (121, 1)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Second Round loss to Texas
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