For teams from smaller conferences that are facing the big guns, belief can be critical. Davidson coach Bob McKillop, whose 2008 team made a surprising run to the Elite Eight, notes that earlier that season the team got invaluable experience through competitive losses to North Carolina, Duke and UCLA. “It showed them that we could at least stay in the game for a significant amount of time,” he says.
Gonzaga coverage: Two years ago, as a No. 7 seed, they went to Raleigh, N.C., to discover the wonders of Stephen Curry 160 miles from his campus at Davidson.