UMBC's K.J. Maura celebrates after a basket against Virginia during...

UMBC's K.J. Maura celebrates after a basket against Virginia during the first half of a first-round game in the NCAA Tournament in Charlotte, N.C. on Friday. Credit: AP / Gerry Broome

PITTSBURGH — Before they went out and made history Friday night, players on the UMBC basketball team made music. They were in their locker room, actually singing the “One Shining Moment” theme, which always runs on the telecast at the end of the NCAA Tournament championship game.

“We were all singing the first line because that’s all we know,” Joe Sherburne, a forward for the team and 4.0 student at the school officially known as University of Maryland Baltimore County, said at the postgame news conference. “But I think we’re going to have to learn the rest of the song, too.”

That is everybody’s song today, at least everybody who is an underdog, now that UMBC has done the impossible. In trouncing Virginia by 20 points, the little team from the America East conference became the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in the history of the Big Dance. For the record, the lyrics go on to say, “One Shining Moment, you reached for the sky/ One Shining Moment, you were willing to try/ One Shining Moment . . . ”

Another little school that could — Loyola-Chicago — should start learning the lyrics, too. The No. 11 seed in the South Regional advanced to the Sweet 16 after beating Tennessee Saturday on a late shot, the same way it beat Miami in the first round. That means, with a win against Kansas State on Sunday, 16th-seeded UMBC will join the 11 seed as the final four teams standing in the South.

Talk about reaching for the sky.

Who knew it was even reachable? UMBC’s victory reverberated all over the country, from the college basketball behemoths who look at Virginia and say, “That could have been us” and all of the mid-major dreamers who look at coach Ryan Odom’s UMBC squad and say, “That could be us!”

Stony Brook coach Jeff Boals tuned in at the start of the second half, having been out with his son earlier on Friday night. His Seawolves had split two games against UMBC this season, having been the most recent team to beat the Retrievers, on Feb. 21. Boals noticed that his fellow America East squad was growing more and more confident by the minute.

“Number one, Coach Odom does a great job with those guys. Number two, they’ve got a guy in Jairus Lyles who can beat you in so many ways, he can shoot the three, he can score on transition defense,” Boals said, referring to the guard who scored 28 points and proved unstoppable by the nation’s top-ranked defense.

Boals cherished the final seconds, as did everyone else in the league, as did everyone in all of the non-power conference leagues. “It’s like what we say about Jameel Warney, he made the NBA out of Stony Brook. UMBC won a game and it gives you belief,” he said. “When you’re in a league like this you’re pulling for everybody. I’m so happy for Ryan because he’s done a great job. And you think about all the attention the program got, all the interest on social media. People are going to be talking about this for 30 years.”

UMBC’s profile has been raised forever. A tip of the cap to the person who runs the athletic department Twitter feed and was up to the demands of the shining moment. During the game, the account posted this: “Second Half about to start, no matter what happens we just want you all to remember......we are conveniently located just outside of Baltimore and have stellar academics.”

Odom almost surely will get a new better paying job, if not now, then someday. Kudos to him for putting the occasion in perspective that America East observers can appreciate: that winning the conference title on the road against Vermont was a miracle in itself. (How cool that a photo surfaced of him as a kid, during a stint at Virginia’s ballboy).

Huge kudos, too, to losing coach Tony Bennett for having been so gracious and classy in the face of history’s ultimate slap in the face. “Tony did such a great job after the game in expressing his feelings, and really what you should feel as a coach,” said his Atlantic Coast Conference colleague, Mike Krzyzewski of Duke. “We all understand that when we go into that arena, some great things can happen. But also, some really difficult things can happen.”

Who knows if UMBC can beat Kansas State Sunday? Most likely, the rest of the tournament will belong to the big boys.

But the little guys know now, better than ever, that they can have their own shining moment.