Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
3/21/2007 01:01:00 AM
Style Archive Update: Tourney Edition
The stylish Jayhawks moved on to face Southern Illinois in the Sweet 16.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
It's been about a month since I last expanded the Style Archive, and so much has happened. Brent Petway shaved his head like a Michigan football helmet. Nike ran a questionable jersey experiment. Tyler Hansbrough was fitted for a mask. Most important, by being in Chicago on Sunday -- and lingering around the Kansas locker room, which was abuzz with talk about the diamond rims on Michael Jordan's Range Rover -- I was able to get the back-story on one of the Archive's previous entries: The shaved-in hair designs of Chicago-area products Julian Wright and Sherron Collins.
Wright, perhaps the season's best Q&A subject, was too mobbed by TV cameras to be bothered about barbers, but Collins took time out from throwing tape-balls at Mario Chalmers to answer. "Those designs are something we always used to do when we were little," he said, "so me and Ju thought it would be a real good way to bring back some Chicago flavor to Kansas."
Collins said he and Wright hit up Watson's Barber in Lawrence together "about every week and a half when it grows out," and usually let their go-to razor man, Marty, pick the designs. "They're just little graphics," Collins said. "Sometimes Marty just does them, or he draws them out for us on a piece of paper, and we go with it."
Both Collins and Wright were in need of fresh cuts. Let's hope we see something new on their domes in San Jose. While waiting for those games to begin -- and still laughing over the fact that KU's Brandon Rush actually said, "I saw [Jordan's] rims; I wanted to give him a good performance" -- we unveil 10 additions to the Archive:
(For the tourney-bandwagon readers unfamiliar with the Style Archive, this is its fifth expansion after opening on Dec. 4, 2006. It has grown to 44 exhibits, which can all be found here. Readers are encouraged to make archive nominations either in the blog comments or by e-mailing email@example.com.)
>> March 20 Exhibits <<
The Chicago Shave Julian Wright and Sherron Collins, Kansas Classification: Shaved-in hair designs Submitted by: Reader Dustin Fox Notes: It's good to now have the full scoop on the Wright/Collins barbershop work, and confirm that it was in fact "Chicago flavor." Collins also told me that his original Chicago barber went by the name of "Razor Red."
Dreadlock Duo Randal Falker and Jamaal Tatum, Southern Illinois Classification: Extra-long-dreads duo Spotted: While tearing up the Valley Notes: Falker, a Photoshop whiz and frontcourt menace, and Tatum, a clutch scorer, form the most hirsute 1-2 punch in college hoops. The Saluki is the Royal Dog of Egypt, and Falker actually appears Sphinx-like at times.
Plexiglass T Tyler Hansbrough, 6-9 forward, Soph., North Carolina Classification: Protective Face Mask Spotted: During the ACC/NCAA tournaments Notes: Psycho T went through two masks -- a god-awful one that crippled him during the ACC tourney, then a new one that he ditched vs. Michigan State -- after being clubbed by Duke's Gerald Henderson.
Nice 'Stache, Bro Jason Cain, 6-10 forward, Sr., Virginia Classification: Porn-style moustache Spotted: For about four seasons now ... Notes: The 2007 NCAA tournament was the farewell tour for the 'stache, which was such a phenomenon even back in 2004 that it inspired the creation of a UVA student group named The Assemblage of Cain.
Helmet Head Brent Petway, 6-8 forward, Sr., Michigan Classification: Winged-helmet shave Spotted: March 3 vs. Ohio State Notes: Brent isn't in the NCAAs, but the intricately-shaved Wolverine-helmet hair he sported on Senior Day at Michigan might be the single greatest style statement of the season. Air Georgia, the Tourney Blog salutes you.
The Classic Last-Name Tat Mike Nardi, 6-2 guard, Sr., Villanova Classification: Self-referential shoulder tattoo Spotted: Over Nardi's whole career ... Notes: Seeing UNLV's Wink Adams' "Wink" tattoo last weekend reminded me of Nardi's shoulder-ode to himself, which consists of a large "NARDI" somewhat crudely written over a basketball. It's beautiful.
Glitter City UNLV's Nike jerseys Classification: Numbers painted with silver glitter Spotted: On the road to St. Louis Notes: The Rebels are the only team -- to the best of my knowledge -- in college basketball with their numbers (on the front and back) displayed in glittery metallic paint. And really, why shouldn't they be?
The Rick Fox Curtis Terry, 6-5 G/F, Jr., UNLV Classification: Curly Locks Spotted: vs. Wisconsin in Round 2 Notes: Curtis is the little brother of Dallas Mavericks point guard Jason, and while he wears high, white socks like JT, he has apparently chosen to model his hair after the infamous recruiting host from Tech U.
Magic Shave Kammron Taylor, 6-2 G, Sr., Wisconsin Classification: Zig-zag curly-Q design Spotted: vs. UNLV in Round 2 Notes: Taylor, the Badgers' resident magician, usually sports a freshly shaved design in the front-left portion of his closely cropped hairdo. He also looks like a certain comedian, but that's so old by now.
Duct-Tape Shoulders Ohio State's new Nike jerseys Classification: Silver-ish shoulder flair Spotted: On the road to San Antonio Notes: The Buckeyes (along with Arizona, Syracuse and Florida) are participants in Nike's System of Dress experiment, which includes tighter tops, baggier shorts and, as far as I can tell, duct tape.
Memphis Mesa Andre Allen, 5-10 G, Jr., Memphis Classification: Mohawk-ish crop of hair Spotted: vs. Nevada in Round 2 Notes: Allen, who scored 10 points and dished out four assists in the win over the Wolf Pack, is sporting the edgiest shave by someone other than Brent Petway. It's like a mesa in the middle of his head.
Sidney Lowe is not hard to find on the NC State sideline.
Doug Benc/Getty Images
TAMPA, Fla. -- As NC State coach Sidney Lowe made his way toward the exit of St. Pete Times Forum on Friday night at around 9:50 p.m., the top item on his agenda was finding a dry cleaner. The bright red blazer he was wearing had been saturated with sweat during 10th-seeded Wolfpack's 79-71 win over second-seeded Virginia, and if he was going to sport it again in Saturday's ACC tournament semifinals, it needed to be laundered.
Three phenomena have defined the first two days of this event in Tampa. The first has been the success of underdogs, with NC State notching two of the tournament's five upsets by knocking off Duke and Virginia on back-to-back days. The second sensation has been Tyler Hansbrough's mask, which we've already covered. The third, and perhaps most talked-about, item is Lowe's red coat. A gaudy, sideline fashion statement has become the symbol for the Wolfpack's improbable surge from a 5-11 conference finish to the verge of stealing an NCAA tournament bid.
Lowe, who wanted to make it clear that he is changing everything else ("I've got four pairs of pants, got four shirts, got ties, and my undergarments"), had the coat made for him by Cary, N.C., tailor George L. Saunders. It was initially intended as "a one-time thing" to wear during NC State's home date with third-ranked UNC on Feb. 3, in which the Wolfpack pulled off a mammoth, 83-79 upset. After that, Lowe said, "I figured I should wear it in the ACC tournament, for the first game ... and then we won, so I thought I'd wear it again."
At this point -- as long as he can get it cleaned -- Lowe has no choice but to keep wearing it. And his team, as crazy as it would have sounded at the start of this week, has a legitimate shot of actually winning the ACC tournament. NC State swept its next opponent, Virginia Tech, during the regular season, and knocked off likely tourney-final foe UNC in the red coat's now-famous debut. In senior point guard Engin Atsur, the Wolfpack have a savvy veteran to keep an otherwise inexperienced team from crumbling under pressure. In sweet-shooting lefty forward Brandon Costner, the redshirt freshman who scored 30 points against the Blue Devils and 22 more against the Cavs, State has an inside-out threat who's been a matchup nightmare for 4s and 5s on the perimeter. (Costner, for the record, is no fan of the coat, but will tolerate it for the time being: "I don't really like it," he said. "It's kind of bright. But we're winning, so I'll let it go.")
Lowe's pick-and-roll-heavy offense has given Duke and Virginia headaches, mostly because the interior duo of Costner and the underrated Ben McCauley have been dominant forces. "The offense is designed to take advantage of mismatches," said guard Gavin Grant. "We know that Brandon is real mobile, and other 4s and 5s can't keep up with him, so we run a lot of screen and rolls with him going high and Ben going low." It clicked so well that NC State was able to shoot 73.9 percent in the second half -- including one streak of nine straight points by Grant -- and erase a 14-point halftime deficit.
What Lowe has done, more than anything, is make his team believe that its season doesn't have to end in the NIT. He was last at an ACC tournament in 1983, as a player under Jim Valvano -- the coach whom the red coat honors -- and the event served as the Wolfpack's springboard to a storybook national title run. "I told them that, every year in this tournament, something magic happens, whether it's a player that no one expected suddenly emerging as the MVP, or a team that surprises everyone," said Lowe. "I said to our guys, if it's going to be a team, then why not us?"
Indeed, why not NC State? With that kind of inspiration, this red coat craze might just carry on all the way into the NCAAs.