What Loyola Marymount has accomplished in the past three nights is nothing short of remarkable. This is a team that went 8-22 in the regular season, including 1-15 in the West Coast Conference. They went 1-1 vs Division II teams! They had two two-game win streaks, and they beat one team which finished with a winning record. So it's safe to say that rattling off back-to-back-to-back wins in the conference tournament was unexpected.
Now, they'll face Gonzaga, who beat them twice this season by an average of 32 points.
The game vs the Zags is officially the semi-finals. St. Mary's will play the winner of BYU/San Diego in the other semi.
The West Coast Conference is a 9-team league. This means that LMU has already beaten a third of the conference, and they've only advanced to the semis. If they beat Gonzaga they'll have beaten four of nine. To win the tournament they need to beat more than half of the conference, which is just ridiculous.
I'm not a fan of NCAA oversight, as they typically just turn to shit whatever they touch, so the WCC can do whatever they want*. But the use of double-byes in a 9-team tourney is stupid. Why not have an 8/9 play-in game and then go straight to true quarterfinals? Why protect the top two seeds by guaranteeing that they reach the semis?
This is college basketball.. They are already rewarded by facing lesser teams. In the quarterfinals Gonzaga would be facing the 8/9 winner, while St. Mary's would be facing the No. 7 seed (Pepperdine, in this case).
So good luck tomorrow to Max Good and his LMU Lions. It's not your fault you have to win five straight to go dancing.
*the format is tentatively scheduled to go back to the side of reason next year, but with the rate that teams are changing conferences, there is no guarantee that the WCC will have 9 teams.