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Talk hoops all year long in Luke Winn's blog, a journal of commentary, news and reader-driven discussions about the college game.
2/17/2008 02:34:00 PM

The Weekend That Was: Four Parting Thoughts

Tigers win
Memphis is still unbeaten -- but only after Robert Vaden's last-second shot missed the mark for UAB.
AP
(Consider this a warmup for all the tourney blogging that awaits next month ... and beware, there's a minuscule Wire spoiler in part 2.)

1. If ESPN were to begin hyping up Tennessee-Memphis six days early, as if it were college hoops' Super Bowl, I wouldn't have any problem with it. Given what's on the line, the battle for Volunteer State supremacy feels about 10 times more important than the Nos. 2-vs.-3 Duke-Carolina game on Feb. 6. And yet I can't escape the feeling that if the Tigers were going to actually lose during the regular season, it would've happened in an out-of-the-spotlight, on-the-road situation like Saturday night's game in Birmingham.

Memphis-UAB was only televised regionally by CSS, and therefore most of the country only caught the Tigers' amazing comeback (and the ugly postgame melee, with classless Blazers fans throwing debris, and Joey Dorsey being restrained from attacking them) via highlight reels. Down 77-70 with 1:23 to go, the Tigers went on an 9-1 run -- with six of the points coming from All-America lock Chris Douglas-Roberts -- to close the game and save their undefeated season. Whereas Memphis has been prone to cold streaks from the field and the free-throw line in less-hyped Conference USA games, it has looked unbeatable in its marquee matchups at FedEx Forum. Just ask Georgetown, Arizona and Gonzaga how difficult it is to pull off an upset in that building.

(Update: Thanks to this photo posted on the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Web site Sunday, there's evidence of a player identified as Tigers forward Pierre Niles slapping a fan in the UAB student section. So it appears -- beyond what was presented in the highlights -- that there was a lack of class on both sides. Conference USA said on Sunday night that it was investigating the matter.)

2. Damn, Indiana. Did you really go from treating Kelvin Sampson like persona non grata when he walked onto Assembly Hall's court on Saturday night, to chanting his name with less than two minutes left in that 80-61 win over Michigan State? Sampson's entry was met with a mix of boos and groans and uncomfortable silence. Somehow he managed to walk off the court like Sen. Clay Davis emerged from this week's grand jury hearing in The Wire: gleefully victorious. I'm happy there will be no postseason ban for the Hoosiers. None of the players had anything to do with Sampson's deceptions and disregard for NCAA rules, after all. But letting Sampson continue to coach while IU sharpens the guillotine -- and athletic director Rick Greenspan figures out ways to suggest he wasn't solely to blame for Sampson's hiring -- just makes for sad theater.

3. Brook and Robin Lopez put on quite the show for Stanford on Saturday at Arizona, with Brook (23 points, 10 boards) hitting the game-winning free throws, and Robin (14 points, eight rebounds) swatting Chase Budinger's last-second layup attempt. Brook, who seems to get at least one touch on every Cardinal offensive possession, is already listed as the fourth pick in DraftExpress' 2008 mock, but you have to wonder: If there were just one Lopez, rather than twins, and he had Brook's offensive skills and Robin's defensive skills, would he be regarded as a better NBA prospect than Greg Oden was last year?

4. I just watched Notre Dame barely survive against Rutgers at the RAC, and was reminded of something that Irish guard Kyle McAlarney had pointed out after Wednesday's loss to UConn: That meeting with the Huskies -- which took place on Feb. 13, mind you -- was Notre Dame's first road game in an on-campus arena all season. How in the name of Kelly Tripucka could that happen? To start, the Irish didn't play a single true road game outside of the Big East: they played only neutral-site affairs in St. Thomas (the Paradise Jam) and New York (the Jimmy V). And then their first four Big East road games were all at off-campus, NBA-style arenas used by Marquette (Bradley Center), Georgetown (Verizon Center), Villanova (Wachovia Center) and Seton Hall (Prudential Center). The Irish are a high-quality team with a legit All-America candidate in Luke Harangody, but they haven't exactly been battle-tested away from South Bend.

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2/20/2007 03:22:00 PM

Style Archive Update No. 4

This is the fourth expansion of The Style Archive, which opened on Dec. 4, 2006, and has grown to 34 exhibits. It's a blog-museum college hoops style -- everything from hairdos, to flair, to YouTube-worthy moves. The eight new inductees appear below, and the complete Archive can be found here.

(Readers are encouraged to make archive nominations either in the blog comments or by e-mailing hoopstylesi@gmail.com, and will be credited on the site for any successful suggestions.)

>> Feb. 23 Exhibits <<

The Kill Bill
Dominic James, 5-11 guard, Soph., Marquette
Classification: Golden overdose
Submitted: by an anonymous reader (take credit in the comments!)
Notes: James periodically goes on a color-coordination binge, matching his arm sleeve and high socks with his gold jersey. He actually wears two arm sleeves, with the base layer handed down from Allen Iverson.

Over-Earband
Lorenzo Mata, 6-9 center, Jr., UCLA
Classification: Headband/earwarmer
Spotted: Feb. 10 at West Virginia by the blog
Notes: Mata has been wearing his headband like this for a long time -- it's even over his ears in his official UCLA pic. He was not wearing it poolside in his most famous image, though.

The Chicago Shave
Julian Wright and Sherron Collins, Kansas
Classification: Shaved-in hair design
Submitted by: Reader Dustin Fox
Notes: KU's Chicago duo had matching patterns in the front-right portion of their close-cropped 'dos in late January. KU readers: If you have any more information on the design's significance, leave it in the comments.

Dirk's Doppelganger
Kyle Wilson, 6-8 forward, Sr., Wichita State
Classification: The Nowitzki look
Spotted: Jan. 30 at Northern Iowa by the Blog
Notes: Wilson grew up in Dallas, not Germany, but bears a strong resemblance to the Mavs' MVP candidate. Also, like Dirk, Wilson is his team's tallest starter, top scorer and highest-percentage three-point shooter.

The .44 Special
Sean Singletary, 6-0 guard, Jr., Virginia
Classification: Absurd, reclining game-winner
Submitted: by a UVa alum in Duke grad school
Notes: Singletary's one-handed, one-footed, horizontal shot to beat Duke on Feb. 1 might go down as the YouTube clip of the year in college hoops -- and will surely be the season's coolest clutch shot.

The '90s Bowl
Lawrence Hill, 6-8 forward, Soph., Stanford
Classification: Classic bowl-shave 'do
Submitted: by Gonzaga alum Lawrence Cenotto
Notes: Hill, who's stepped up as a sophomore to become the Cardinal's leading scorer (at 16.1 ppg) and rebounder (6.1 rpg), is rocking a look from the early part of the Mike Montogmery Era.

PR Stunt
A.D. Vassallo, 6-6 G/F, Fr., Virginia Tech
Classification: Head-shave abbreviation
Submitted: by VT student Gregory Bringhurst
Notes: Vassallo, whose father was a 17-year star in the Puerto Rican pro league, shaved an homage to his homeland in the back of his head. A.D. has played for Puerto Rico's Under-21 national team.

Flow It, Show It
John Pelphrey, head coach, Southern Alabama
Classification: Grown-out sideline 'do
Submitted: by reader Rick G.
Notes: Former UK guard Pelphrey sported a standard, shorter cut during the Jags' NCAA tournament trip in March 2006, but has since grown out his (Goldi)locks -- and appears to have cut about 5-10 years off of his age.

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1/23/2007 08:00:00 AM

Style Archive Update No. 3

This is the third expansion of The Style Archive, which opened on Dec. 4, 2006, and has since grown to 26 exhibits. It's a blog-museum of sorts, dedicated to the most interesting stylistic elements of college hoops, from hairdos, to flair, to YouTube-worthy moves. Below are the six most recent additions; the complete Archive can be found here.

(Readers are encouraged to make archive nominations either in the blog comments or by e-mailing hoopstylesi@gmail.com, and will be credited on the site for any successful suggestions.)

>> Jan. 23 Exhibits <<

Yo, Vanilla!
Levon Kendall, 6-10 forward, Sr., Pitt
Classification: Retro Vanilla Ice 'do
Spotted: Jan. 16 vs. UConn by The Blog
Notes: Big ups to Kendall for bringing back the cut worn by Robert Matthew Van Winkle in the early '90s. Kendall is stopping, collaborating and listening on the hardwood (as well as averaging 5.7 points per game).

The No-Tie Look
Tony Bennett, head coach, Washington State
Classification: Semi-formal coaching attire
Spotted: Jan. 16 in Seth Davis' Hoop Thoughts
Notes: The 37-year-old Bennett took over the Cougars after his father, Dick, retired in March 2006. Will Tony's instant success -- he's led Wazzu from the Pac-10 cellar to the top 25 -- start a sideline style trend?

The Vault II
Deron Washington, 6-7 forward, Jr., Virginia Tech
Classification: Posterizing layup
Spotted: Jan. 6 at Duke by the Blog
Notes: The Blue Devils' Greg Paulus would like to forget what Washington did to him at Cameron -- a crotch-in-the-face vault for a clutch layup -- but this play will be immortalized on YouTube.

The Clarence Clemons
Warren Carter, 6-9 forward, Sr., Illinois
Classification: Messy, spiked-out hairdo
Spotted: Jan. 14 at Michigan State by the Blog
Notes: We're calling Carter's look the Clarence Clemons -- rather than the Ernie (from Sesame Street), as one friend suggested -- because it looks exactly like this photo of the E Street Band saxophonist.

The Frizzled Frosh
Robin Lopez, 7-0 center, Fr., Stanford
Classification: Unkept curly 'fro
Submitted by: Stanford student Michael Lazar
Notes: Lopez is, to our knowledge, the second player (after Wazzu's Derrick Low) who keeps his mane in check with an accessory running over, rather than around, his head. It's a good way to tell him apart from his twin.

The Dangling Mouthpiece
D.J. Augustin, 5-11 guard, Fr., Texas
Classification: Constantly visible mouth flair
Spotted: Jan. 20 at Villanova by the Blog
Notes: Augustin, Kevin Durant's partner in crime on the Baby 'Horns, is bringing back a look that Illinois' Dee Brown was known for in 2003-04: He uses a mouthpiece, but never keeps it completely inside his mouth.

UPDATED: The Polynesian Revival
Derrick Low, 6-2 guard, Jr., Wash. State
Classification: Hip-to-ankle tattoo
Spotted: Dec. 28 at UCLA by the Blog
Notes: Originally we called this a knee-length tat -- but in the process of writing this story we learned the real details on the traditional Hawaiian tattoo Low got in the summer of 2006.

UPDATED: Great Oden's Beard
Greg Oden, 7-0 center, Fr., Ohio State
Classification: Old-man facial hair
Spotted: Jan. 17 vs. Northwestern by The Blog
Notes: Oden began the season with a 40-year-old's grizzly beard, but shaved it in advance of the Buckeyes' Jan. 17 date against Northwestern. He's no longer being asked for his birth certificate prior to games.

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