Back on February 11, Western Carolina was just 10-17 and was suffering through a 4-10 Southern Conference record. Only three weeks later, and the Catamounts will get a chance to play one game for the right to go to the NCAA tournament.
On the other side will be Davidson, the best team in the conference and a squad that dominated its way to a 14-2 league record.
Western Carolina might be the hotter team, winning its last seven games, including three in the past three days. The Catamounts knocked off The Citadel to open the tournament, upset title contender Wofford by 23 and then handled division champion UNC-Greensboro on Sunday evening.
Davidson had far less excitement in its road to the title game, winning its two games by a combined 35 points without much of a sweat.
In the first meeting between the two teams, Davidson rolled to a 19-point win. But Western Carolina is a very different team than it was in mid-January. Against the Wildcats, the Catamounts will go as far as their 3-point shooting takes them. They shot 50 percent from deep in the quarterfinals against Wofford, and knocked down 10 3-pointers in the semis against Greensboro. Davidson is susceptible to prolific shooting teams, but will Western Carolina be able to stop the Wildcats at the other end?
Davidson is a very balanced team with five double-figure scorers and two very tough inside-outside scorers in De’Mon Brooks and Jake Cohen. Western Carolina only starts one player taller than 6-foot-4; Davidson’s entire lineup is at least 6-foot-3.
Bob McKillop’s team will be the heavy favorite, but Western Carolina has made a living off upsets this week. Can the Catamounts pull off one more?
-- Jeff Borzello