MORAGA, Calif. -- The time for prediction and prognostication is finally over, and the Saint Mary's men's basketball team is ready to get its 2012-13 season underway when it hosts Sonoma State on Saturday at 7 p.m.
The game will not be televised, but a live audio broadcast, featuring new play-by-play man Alex Jensen, will be available via the Gaels Live subscription service on SMCGaels.com. Live statistics will also be available on the site and frequent Twitter updates will be posted throughout the game (@SMCGaels).
A limited number of tickets are still available to the season opener, and can be purchased by visiting the tickets link on SMCGaels.com or by calling the SMC Athletic Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx (4689).
Saint Mary's enters the season with plenty of reason for optimism after winning both the West Coast Conference regular season and conference tournament titles last season.
The Gaels finished 27-6, and made their second NCAA Tournament appearance in three years.
The majority of that team returns, led by WCC Player of the Year Matthew Dellavedova. The 6-foot-4 native of Maryborough, Victoria, Australia enjoyed a busy summer, starting for the Australian Olympic Team in London, and returns as one of the top point guards in the nation.
Saint Mary's returns plenty more talent in addition to Dellavedova. Backcourt mates Stephen Holt and Jorden Page both return, and will be joined by newcomer James Walker III and redshirt freshman Jordan Giusti.
Up front, Brad Waldow returns with an eye on improving on a freshman season that netted him All-WCC Freshman team honors a year ago. Mitchell Young, Matt Hodgson, Beau Levesque and Kyle Rowley will all see minutes as well, giving the Gaels plenty of depth in the paint.
Sonoma State enters under the direction of longtime head coach Pat Fuscaldo, who is entering his 19th season in charge of the Division II Seawolves. He is Sonoma State's all-time winningest basketball coach, and brings a squad that last year went 17-11 overall and 14-8 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
The Seawolves return three starters, led by guard Will Olsem, who averaged 12.1 points per game last season. Also returning to the lineup are swingman Patrick Scott and guard Sterling Arterberry.
Sonoma State began its exhibition season on Nov. 3 with a trip to St. John's, and hung tough with the Red Storm before ultimately losing 73-55. The Seawolves trailed by just four at halftime, and Scott led all scorers with 22 points in Sonoma State's first-ever trip to the East Coast.
Saturday's game will be the 13th meeting between Saint Mary's and Sonoma State, with the Gaels owning an 11-1 edge in the series.
The two last played in 2007, with Saint Mary's winning 82-57 behind 18 points and 11 rebounds from Diamon Simpson.
That game was also notable for being the Saint Mary's debut of Patrick Mills, as the freshman from Canberra, Australia scored 17 points in his first collegiate game.