Saint Mary's Men's Basketball 2016 NIT Tournament Capsule

Saint Mary’s Gaels
West Coast Conference (27-5, 15-3)
The expectations for Saint Mary’s this season were quite low. They lost just about everybody from a team that was supposed to be great but ended up losing in the first round of the NIT. So after losing so much from an NIT team, many picked the Gaels to take a pretty big step down the WCC pecking order. Instead, Coach Randy Bennett reinforced his team and the Gaels played well from day one. They beat Stanford in November and their only nonconference loss was at California and that was just a four point loss. And then Saint Mary’s went out and beat Gonzaga twice and usually looked like the best team in the conference.
Big Wins: 11/22 Stanford (78-61), 12/31 BYU (85-74), 2/20 at Gonzaga (63-58)
Bad Losses: 1/9 at Pepperdine (64-67), 2/4 at BYU (59-70), 2/11 Pepperdine (63-69)
Coach: Randy Bennett
Why They Can Surprise:
This Saint Mary’s team may not have a dominating interior force like years past, but they do a lot of the same things otherwise. And they do them very well. This is a Gaels squad that refuses to turn the ball over and they knock down shots from everywhere. Emmett Naar and Joe Rahon are the best duo point guards in the country. Those two combine to dish out 11.8 assists per game and they do it while ranking in the top ten in the country in fewest turnovers per game. Naar is just a sophomore and Rahon a junior who is spending his first season with the Gaels, but they have stepped into leadership roles. The efficient shooting mostly comes from the frontcourt, but Naar deserves a lot of credit for shooting 44.5 percent from long range. Small forward Calvin Hermanson is not as effective of a shooter as Naar, but he still knocks down 40.8 percent of his attempts from long range.
Why They Can Disappoint:
This team shoots the ball amazingly well and big men Dane Pineau, Evan Fitzner and Jock Landale deserve a lot of the credit. Pineau is the most effective interior scorer of the bunch, while Fitzner, a 6-10 freshman, can stretch the defense with his outside shooting. Kyle Clark is another big man who can stretch the floor, while Landale is more like Pineau and prefers to battle in the paint. Together, this is a very good frontcourt, but there is not that Brad Waldow type of player…at least not this season. There is also not a great shot blocker. Pineau is a presence in the paint and will block a shot or two and it is not like Saint Mary’s has been known for blocking shots, but some teams can get into the paint and do damage against the Gaels. A team like Pepperdine, who beat Saint Mary’s twice during the regular season, was able to shoot well from the floor and not let the Gaels’ get too much of an advantage in the turnover department. That is the recipe for success against Saint Mary’s.
Probable Starters:
Emmett Naar, Sophomore, Guard, 14.3 ppg, 6.3 apg
Joe Rahon, Junior, Guard, 10.7 ppg, 5.5 apg, 4.5 rpg
Calvin Hermanson, Sophomore, Forward, 11.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Dane Pineau, Junior, Forward, 11.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Evan Fitzner, Freshman, Center, 8.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Key Roleplayers:
Kyle Clark, Freshman, Forward, 5.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg
Stefan Gonzalez, Freshman, Guard, 3.8 ppg
Jock Landale, Sophomore, Center, 8.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.7 (141st in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.0 (4, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 50.9 (1, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.3 (39, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.8 (39, 3)   
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 41.3 (7, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.4 (187, 5)
Rebound Margin:  6.2 (31, 2)
Assists Per Game:  17.1 (15, 1)
Turnovers Per Game:  9.7 (6, 1)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2015    NIT      First Round loss to Vanderbilt
2014    NIT      First Round win over Utah
2014    NIT      Second Round loss to Minnesota
2013    NCAA First Round win over Middle Tennessee
2013    NCAA Second Round loss to Memphis
2012    NCAA Second Round loss to Purdue
2011    NIT      First Round loss to Kent State
2010    NCAA Round of 64 win over Richmond
2010    NCAA Round of 32 win over Villanova
2010    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to Baylor
2009    NIT      First Round win over Washington State
2009    NIT      Second Round win over Davidson
2009    NIT      Quarterfinal loss to San Diego State
2008    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Miami
2005    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Southern Illinois
*all team stats through 3/6