Can't stop humming this:
bah-da-da-dum dum-DUUUUM dum-dummm. da-da-da-dum da-da. da-da-da DA-DA-DA-DUM. DUM DUM!
It's gameday here and the vibe is good. Yesterday was an open practice and the Gaels took the CenturyLink Center floor for the first time. Coach and players talked to the media and the team held a light practice that was more like a shootaround. Players joking, laughing, holding a bit of a dunk contest. It was open to the public and about a hundred Jayhawk fans were in the hosue, cheering for the Gaels. But those cheers might turn to boos in a few hours.
The team was relaxed, enjoying the time in the spotlight. But stayed serious, knowing that this was a brief interlude of fun between preparing for the Boilermakers.
Stephen Holt, the sophomore guard, says he's back to 100% and looked strong in the knee brace. He said he'll be coming off the bench, which is a change for him. Ever the team player, he says his role's changed but his attitude hasn't.
When asked about the extra national (and thanks to the Aussies, international) attention the Gaels are getting, he said it's what comes with being a successful program. But the Gaels are still in control of what comes next. "We're gonna keep writing our story."
What's different about this team than the 2010 Gaels is a loss of that wide-eyed, lucky-to-be-here feeling. Those Gaels had spent a few years building a team to dethrone Gonzaga and finally did it. There was a bit of an adrenaline rush from that achievement.
This team has 7 players from that Sweet 16 team who have been here. Who are hungry for more.
This year, we won the regular season outright and took the conference championship. We've earned this. We're not a cinderella. We're not here to get our name out there and show what mid-majors can do.
We're here to win.
There's no Omar Samhan, a media darling with a mouth to brag and boost awareness. This team does it's talking on the hardwood.
Maybe it's better that way.
Omar's antics got our foot in the door and now people know that Saint Mary's existed. But the past two years have shown that we're a program that's growing and developing and should be taken seriously.
I think that's the focused motivation behind the Gaels this March.
We'll see how it plays out.
The first games of the day are starting across the country and in about 90 minutes the game in Omaha will start. I'll be heading over to watch the action in person.
Florida takes on Virgina. Then, Mizzou against Norfolk State.
A great chance to see some great basketball in person.
But then it's our time.