You could say today was the final day of normalcy for the SFA Lumberjacks. The Southland Conference champs took in one final practice on their home court this afternoon. Once the team lands in San Diego on Wednesday, the bright lights of the NCAA Tournament will turn on. The Jacks, though, feel ready for the show.
"We want to be the next Wichita State, we want to be the next Virginia Commonwealth," Athletic Director Robert Hill said back in April when new Head Coach Brad Underwood was introduced.
Here we are nearly a year later and SFA has a chance to be a Cinderella of its own by taking down a mid-major school that's been to a final four.
"Guess we will find out if the Cinderella shoe truly does fit," Underwood said. Thomas Walkup added," That's what we are dreaming for. We want to be the Cinderella this year."
Flying under the radar may not be possible come Friday. Several tournament analysts actually have the Jacks getting passed the Rams and advancing to the round of 32.
"I wish they would stop," Underwood said. "VCU doesn't need any bulletin board material from any of those guys." Desmond Haymon added,"Its an honor for them to pick us but that doesn't mean anything until we take care of business."
As a 12 seed, it's hard to fathom SFA being a favorite, especially since the Jacks are searching for their first ever March Madness victory. That's making it easier to take this national recognition in stride.
"We are staying humble with it, knowing that we can't get the big head," Haymon said. Underwood added,"What we have accomplished this year, its finally getting out there and I'm happy for our players."
Being at the Southland Conference tournament is one thing, but playing in front of a national audience with cameras galore is another. SFA though isn't worried about being bright eyed.
"With the leadership and coaching staff, everybody will just be calm and relaxed," Haymon said. Deshaunt Walker added, "We are just ready to play and to shock the world."
Taking down fifth seeded VCU, would indeed shock the world.