Saint Mary’s win bad for bubble teams

Any room to maneuver on the NCAA Tournament’s bubble has probably become a little tighter.

Saint Mary’s upset No. 1 Gonzaga 60-47 on Tuesday night in the West Coast Conference championship game to earn an automatic bid into the Big Dance and shake up the bracket . The surprising win was bad news for teams such as Belmont, UNC Greensboro, Alabama and Ohio State, who are fighting for the same shrinking pool of at-large bids in the 68-team field.

The Gaels (22-11, 11-5 WCC) had an outside shot at earning an invitation to the NCAA Tournament even if they had lost to Gonzaga, but now there’s no doubt that the WCC is a two-bid league.

Saint Mary’s has been a quality program for several years, but the win was a stunner considering the Gaels had already lost to the Zags twice this season, including one game by 48 points.

Gonzaga (30-3) had won 21 straight games before Tuesday’s loss and now its shot at earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament could be in jeopardy. The Bulldogs also had their run of six straight WCC Tournament titles snapped.