DAVIDSON, N.C. -- How two Kansas fans wound up in the only bar in town on the most important day in Davidson basketball history is less interesting than you might think.
Less than a mile away, on Davidson's bucolic, dogwood petal-covered campus, a stuffed Bucky Badger rested in the jaws of the Wildcat statue between the track and the student union -- a tribute to the greatest Davidson team since the bunch
A sextet of Davidson students joined the townfolk at the Brickhouse. Only one is from North Carolina; the rest hail from urban centers in the north and the Midwest.
The students love Davidson, they explained, because it challenges them and respects them at the same time. Students schedule their own exams, and they take those tests without proctors present. They don't need them, they said, because they all believe in the honor code. Unfortunately, that rigorous academic focus doesn't always allow students to blow off their scholastic responsibilities to go to a basketball game. Rogers stayed to work on her senior thesis, which had a long title that included the phrase "renewable resources" -- just the type of thing the professors love at small liberal arts colleges. Rogers' friend,
"That's just for exams," Jamouneau explained.
As tip-off neared,
Ray, whose grandfather was Davidson's mayor in the 1940s, loved those Driesell teams, but she fell in love with
A Davidson woman named
"I just drove past her old house," Ray said. "I was just thinking how excited she would be."
Shortly after tip-off, the rowdiest spot in the Brickhouse wasn't anywhere near the bar.
"DEFENSE!" she yelled. "COME ON! GO GET HIM! COME ON GUYS!" Kansas scored. "Dammit," she muttered.
Across the table, Felthaus' mother,
"You could tell him he won a million dollars," Felthaus said. "He'd be like, 'Great.' DEEE-FENSE!"
Shortly after halftime, the student union on campus was packed. Students, professors and townies watched the game on giant screens placed on each level of the union. A "Free Speech Board" featuring a lively debate on the war in Iraq stood next to a foosball table. Not far away, Cinderella hoped the ball wouldn't end.
"I actually comparison shopped for adult-sized Cinderella costumes on the Internet," said
Compeau would have been in Detroit, but he plays on Davidson's tennis team. The Wildcats had matches scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Sunday, so he stayed home. He'd played a doubles match before donning his gown and heading to the union. There, Compeau explained that athletes don't bond at Davidson the way they do at the athletics factories. Unlike at the schools the Wildcats faced this weekend, Davidson athletes are treated exactly like non-athletes. "Here, we're all students first," Compeau said. "The professors don't really cut [the basketball players] a break. They don't really cut any of us a break."
Minutes later, the Wildcats needed a break. Everyone in the union tensed as Kansas took a brief five-point lead. They broke that tension with an impromptu, a cappella rendition of
Before Davidson inbounded the ball, townie
Klein looked up only after
After the round of applause, the tennis-playing Cinderella and all the other fans of the small liberal arts college that could headed for the exits. One more round of