WASHINGTON (AP) -- Everybody appreciates an underDawg, including
Stanley Burrell and his Xavier teammates.
So Burrell and the rest of the Musketeers, members of the not-enough-respect Atlantic 10 Conference, gathered at coach Sean Miller's home last weekend to watch the SEC tournament final, rooting for Georgia to complete its out-of-nowhere surge to that title.
That's when Xavier's love for Georgia ended, of course. The Number 3-seeded Musketeers (27-6) face the Number 14 Bulldogs (17-16) tomorrow in the first round of the West Regional.
There was little sign that Georgia was capable of doing what it did to make it to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002.
After all, the team won a total of four SEC games throughout the entire regular season, and entered the conference tournament three games under .500 overall. There was talk that coach Dennis Felton was on the way out, talk of which he and his players were all too aware.
That the Bulldogs would have trouble on the court might not have been all that surprising given how the season began.
Back in October, before a game was played, three players -- including the team's top two returning scorers -- were suspended for violations of the school's new class-attendance policy for athletes. In November, junior guard Billy Humphrey was suspended for possession of a knife on school property.
Still, back in late February, after a loss to Vanderbilt that was part of a 1-10 rut, Georgia's players gathered to discuss what they needed to do to turn things around.
The message, full of optimism, was that if they could stick together and play hard over their next four games, they could -- some way, somehow -- make a crazy dream come true: reach the NIT.
Now look where they are.