When Davidson made a stunning run to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2008 and almost upset eventual champion Kansas in the region finals, it featured shooting star/television darling Stephen Curry.
If Davidson makes a deep run this post-season, it will do so on the strength of five veterans who started in the NCAA last year.
Jake Cohen, a 6-foot-10 senior forward, said the Widcats' experience "is one of our biggest asssets. We're able to trust each other, and that trust breeds confidence. We have that kind of bond, and that can prove to be a game-changer for us."
Davidson, a No. 14 seed, will need all the intangibles it can muster when it tangles with No. 3 seed Marquette in Rupp Arena on Thursday.
While Davidson was dominating the less-than-stellar Southern Conference, Marquette was a beast in the power-packed Big East.
The Golden Eagles may be bigger, stronger and more athletic, but Marquette Coach Buzz Williams doesn't buy the notion that that his team has Davidson overmatched.
He pointed out that the Cats have the longest winning streak in the nation (17 in a row), four 1,000-point scorers in Cohen, JP Kuhlman, De'Mon Brooks and Nik Cochran; the Southern Conference Player of the Year and an ultra-skilled big man in Cohen, and a 48-percent three-point shooter in Cochran.NCAA Visitors Guide: Welcome to Lexington tournament-goers
"Davidson is not a 14 seed," Williams said flatly.
Marquette will try to win with muscle inside because, as Williams noted, "We can't shoot. Every team we've played knows we can't shoot. We understand that we can't shoot. That's why paint touches are so important."
Chris Otule, a 6-11, 275-pound senior, and Davante Gardner, a 6-8, 290-pound junior, are big on the blocks, but Vander Blue, Juan Anderson, Junior Cadougan and Trent Lockett aren't shy about going inside.
Davidson Coach Bob McKillop knows it will take a collaborative effort to keep Marquette from overpowering his Cats.
"They've clearly got people that can catch the ball in the paint. They've got people who can penetrate the ball to the paint. So we're going to have to rely on team defense," he said. "So, off-the-ball defense as well as on-the-ball defense will be significant."Marquette
Seed: No. 3 in East Regional
Coach: Buzz Williams, fifth year (119-53)
Record against NCAA field: 6-7
How they got here: At-large bid after sharing Big East regular-season title with Louisville and Georgetown.
NCAA history: Marquette is 38-31 in 30 previous NCAA Tournament appearances. It won the title in 1977.
Bracket busting: The bottom line on upsets in the early rounds of the NCAA Tournament according to Williams: "The higher-seeded team didn't make shots, and the lower-seeded team made a lot of shots. I know that's somewhat simplistic, but that's kind of how I am."
What Marquette must do to advance: dominate the paint, and slow down Davidson's up-tempo and limit the Cats' three-point shooting.
Seed: No. 14 in East Regional
Coach: Bob McKillop, 24 years (452-278)
Record against NCAA field: 1-3
How they got here: Won Southern Conference title. Its 17-game winning streak is longest in nation.
NCAA history: Davidson has an 8-12 record in 11 previous NCAA Tournament appearances.
Penny wise: When McKillop thinks his team has gotten better in practice or in a game, he'll give his players pennies to put into a jar. It signifies how small improvements can add up.
What Davidson has to do to advance: Play great interior team defense, and hit a high percentage of threes.