St. Mary's Not Invited to the Dance

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 06: Head coach Randy Bennett of the Saint Mary's Gaels watches his team during a semifinal game of the Zappos.com West Coast Conference Basketball tournament against the Santa Clara Broncos at the Orleans Arena March 6, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Saint Mary's won 73-64. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    One of the best sports stories in the Bay Area last year won't be performing an encore.

    The Saint Mary's Gaels were not invited to the NCAA tournament despite a 25-8 record.

    The Gaels, one of the darlings of last season's tournament after advancing to the round of 16, were hoping for back-to-back trips to the NCAAs for the first time in school history after earning a share of the West Coast Conference regular season title.

    Instead they will have to settle for a spot in the NIT after being passed over by the NCAA selection committee Sunday.

    Saint Mary's lost in the conference tournament final to Gonzaga and hurt its chances of making this year's field of 68 by losing four of its final seven games, one of those defeats coming against San Diego, which finished 6-26.

    As the WCC's regular season co-champion and top seed at its conference tournament, Saint Mary's earned an automatic bid to NIT after being left out of the NCAA tournament.