DETROIT -- North Carolina. UCLA. Kansas. Memphis. Texas. Xavier. Louisville.
It's not a collection of schools you'd ever expect to hear mentioned in the same breath. But after Saturday night, these are the eight teams left playing meaningful basketball in America.
And one of them is mine.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Herald
I'm sitting in a hotel lobby in Detroit, not far from the stadium where Davidson pulled off yet another upset to pull within one game of the Final Four.
The reality of my team reaching this point hasn't fully hit me, and I'm afraid it won't until the ride is over.
But what a ride it will have been. In the past month, I've traveled to Charleston for the Southern Conference tournament and then Raleigh for the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. During our win over Georgetown, I sat two rows behind Lefty Driesell, the legendary coach who got us to the Elite Eight in 1968 and 1969. Driesell, you may recall, later made Maryland a national power.
Two friends, Derek and Ashley Smith, and I left Thursday by car for Detroit, stopping in Ripley, W.Va., for the night before reaching the Motor City on Friday afternoon.
Destinations change, but the journey keeps getting better.
In the eight seasons since my freshman year at Davidson, I've seen memorable wins (North Carolina in the Dean Dome in 2001) and a few stinging losses (VMI in the Southern Conference tournament in 2003). Friday night was an entirely new experience, joining some 57,000 people inside massive Ford Field to watch the Wildcats take on Wisconsin.
Let me be clear: This wasn't some kind of magical upset. We punked the Big Ten champs on a neutral court with a superior game plan, solid contributions from everyone in our rotation and, oh yeah, a shooting guard you might have heard about by the name Stephen Curry.
Pretty much no one is giving us a chance today against Kansas, and that's fine with me. The underdog role seems to suit us well.
Today will be our toughest challenge yet because Kansas is a great team. Here's what I've been telling fellow fans here in Detroit: Hey, when the best player on the floor plays on your side, you've got a shot.
The theme song from "Hoosiers" has played in my mind all week, as I looked forward to the trip to Detroit, made the 10-hour trek north and watched Davidson bring down Wisconsin.
It hasn't stopped yet.