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Davidson Rolls Into College Station For Super Regional



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COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Davidson head coach Dick Cooke was sitting on one of the couches in the Holiday Inn lobby at about 11:20 a.m. Central time. The Kentucky-Louisville super regional was playing on the television above him.

"It's funny," he said. "I went out to eat last night, and I was watching ESPN, and they had all the super regional games scrolling on the bottom. And I saw 'Davidson-Texas A&M' and I was like—"

He looked off into the distance, head titled, eyes squinted as if puzzled.

"I saw that, and I was like, 'Wait a second. That's us!'"

Much has been made of Davidson, the team that wasn't supposed to get here—to super regionals. The team that nearly missed the Atlantic-10 tournament, the team that had to win five games in that tournament just to win the conference's automatic bid—the first baseball championship in 115 years of baseball history at Davidson. It's the team that somehow went undefeated in the Chapel Hill Regional as the No. 4 seed, beating No. 2 national seed North Carolina, not once but twice.

It all seems a little far-fetched doesn't it? Even Cooke, when asked at the press conference Thursday if he envisioned a scenario in which his team would wind up in a super regional against Texas A&M, leaned forward into his mic at the dais and said, flatly, "No."

The Davidson players aren't oblivious to this. They know no one expected them here. And because of that, there's no pressure. The Wildcats are incredibly loose.

Team manager James Padley, who has eight "W's" shaved into his head—one for every win Davidson has this postseason—emerged from the hotel elevator this morning, yelling to the Wildcats, facetiously, "Wake up! We have a game today!"

That's been Davidson's refrain throughout the postseason. At random moments while practicing or even just goofing off on the team bus, a player will yell, "Wake up! We have a game."

This morning, as players boarded the team bus one by one, getting ready to head to the team's 2 p.m game against the Aggies, everyone yelled "Wake up!" in unison to each player who boarded.

There was laughter and chatter. No hint of nerves; at one point, a "Happy Birthday" song broke out.

Senior righthander Durin O'Linger, the team's heavily bearded postseason folk hero, looked as calm and confident as ever.

He walked out of the hotel, as he always does, with his glove not on his left hand, but resting on top of his head, above his hat.

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