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.
4/07/2008 07:28:00 PM
Monday Night At The Dome
SAN ANTONIO -- A last look outside the Alamodome, 90 minutes before tipoff ...
Scalpers -- despite the strong market for tickets -- have gone mostly underground this week. The ducat below was an upper-level seat with a face value of $85; the seller, a Kansas fan, wanted $350. This clash of titans might just be worth that much.
Kansas -- mostly due to Bill Self's superstitious nature -- resisted switching locker rooms for the title game. The Jayhawks and Memphis were side-by-side in the bowels of the Alamodome for the Final Four, and the NCAA wanted to spread them apart, offering KU the digs previously occupied by UCLA. Is the locker room the Jayhawks' lucky charm?
I took Memphis this morning, and I'm sticking with it. Tigers 70, Jayhawks 66. Add your predictions -- and game chatter -- in the comments section.
SAN ANTONIO -- The final day is finally upon us. We've broken down five reasons why Memphis will win (that's from me) and five reasons why Kansas will win (that's from Stew Mandel). Our cadre of anonymous assistant coaches have given you the "books" on Derrick Rose and Brandon Rush, as well as full scouting reports of the Tigers and the Jayhawks. What, then, is possibly left to present? My last five things:
5. Derrick Rose does not eat as well as he plays. Memphis' MVP bailed out of Sunday's press conference before it even started, citing an upset stomach, and was absent from all interview sessions. To hear Joey Dorsey explain it, the reason might be that Rose rarely consumes a thing at team meals. Apparently coach John Calipari caught Rose trying to avoid eating any pasta after Saturday night's game, so, Dorsey said, "Coach went over and made a plate full of pasta and macaroni and put it in front of him. ... But he didn't eat it, he just played in it. He mixed the food around and spread it out, and he left, and coach [thought] he ate something."
He just played in it. Like a 5-year-old rather than a 19-year-old. If the Tigers were to move their buffet to a candy store, though, Rose would be fine. "He eats Gummy Bears and Starburst for breakfast, and Twizzlers and Honey Buns for dinner. That's why his stomach hurts," Chris Douglas-Roberts said. "We tell Derrick the whole year, 'Stop eating so many Gummy Bears and Sour Straws.' But he can't."
Part of me still wonders if Rose wasn't just trying to get a free pass out of the media availability time. He legitimately hates talking about himself -- hence this "Oh, sh--" slip during Saturday's press conference -- and must have been dreading the idea of sitting alone in a breakout room (each Final Four starter had his own presser on Sunday) for 30 minutes. I asked Dorsey whether Rose was faking, and he started laughing and said, "I can't talk about that." Then Dorsey went up to Memphis sports information director Lamar Chance and tried to feign a stomach ache, in hopes of avoiding an interview for CBS.
4. As much as Memphis seems to be on a mission, you wonder if the basketball fates haven't preordained a big title-game performance for Brandon Rush. He was devastated by an offseason ACL injury that kept him out of the NBA draft, but this Final Four trip has been the reward for returning for his junior year and becoming an aggressive scorer late in the season. "I've finally got it in my head that people want me to shoot the ball more," he said. "So I decided to shoot the ball more."
Surely he would not be getting as many good looks if he were, say, a reserve on the Nets. "If I was an NBA rook, I probably wouldn't get any playing time," Rush said. "I'd probably be riding the bench, probably on a losing squad. So I'm happy right now." Understandably.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
3. Dorsey might have Dwight Howard on the brain Monday night. Memphis' Gift That Keeps On Giving said Sunday that his motivation for big rebounding games would sometimes come not from his opponent or his coach, but an NBA game he watched the night before. "During the season I would watch Marcus Camby or Dwight Howard to see how many rebounds they had on one night -- then I'd try to go out there and top them, like I was playing against a pro," Dorsey said. "That's what the game is called, 'Playing Against A Pro.' Camby would have 19 rebounds and one game I had 22 rebounds, so I was happy that I had overcome him."
Howard had 15 boards against the Knicks on Sunday, and Camby had 13 against Seattle. Can Joey get 16 -- one more than the 15 (and zero points) he had against UCLA -- and take them both down? This would surely please his coach, John Calipari, whom Joey said "is always on my back."
2. This title game was made for fans of the 'oop. "If we don't lead the country in lobs, then Memphis does," Kansas coach Bill Self said. The Tigers' Dribble-Drive Motion offense keeps Joey Dorsey on the weakside block as their guards penetrate, and whenever opposing big men step up to help, Joey soars up to catch an alley-oop. It's how they keep him happy. The Jayhawks, meanwhile, love to slip their screening forwards to the basket, where they're delivered lobs from Rush, Mario Chalmers and Russell Robinson. Put the over-under on 'oops at four.
1. Memphis takes basket-attacking to a whole 'nother level. After talking with Tigers assistant John Robic -- who said of the Dribble-Drive Motion philosophy, "We want to shoot a layup every time we touch the ball" -- I went and made composite images of Memphis' shot charts from the Elite Eight game against Texas and the Final Four game against UCLA. The charts show that while the Tigers are prone to launching a a few ill-advised three-point attempts in the first halves of games, when they take a lead into the homestretch, they truly do only look for layups and dunks.
Against Texas, Memphis took only three shots from outside the lane area (the three-second zone plus the blocks) in the second half:
And against UCLA, the Tigers took only four shots from outside the lane area in the second half:
This, folks, is what happens when you have Rose and Douglas-Roberts slashing past every perimeter defender. And it's also why Kansas might be willing to get away from its bread-and-butter man-to-man, and settle in to a 3-2 zone.
The Kansas defense pounced on loose balls all night against North Carolina.
SAN ANTONIO -- Breaking down a title game between the bluebloods and the Blues Machine that just can't be a blowout ...
(Right? Basketball gods, are you listening?)
10. If the score is something like 68-64 on Monday night, don't be shocked. As much as Kansas and Memphis are labeled up-tempo teams because of their race-horse athletes, the real trait they share is elite defense. Coming into the NCAA tournament Kansas had the third-most efficient defense in the country (at 0.836 points allowed per possession) ... and Memphis had the second-most efficient (at 0.824). Only Wisconsin, which ran into the Stephen Curry Steamroller in the Sweet 16, had been ranked higher in points allowed per possession at .817.
As for the "speed" of our two finalists, the Jayhawks ranked 98th in the nation in tempo at the outset of the tourney, and the Tigers ranked 74th. That's a far cry from North Carolina's game-pace, which ranked seventh. The point here: The evidence is stacked pretty highly against this game reaching the 80s.
9. Kansas' defense was record-books good on Saturday, holding North Carolina to just 0.831 points per possession in an 84-66 win. Alone, that stat means little to most of you, so here's some context. The Tar Heels' next-worst offensive performance all season was 0.930 PPP in a win over Ohio State in November. Even that figure, projected out over a 70-possession game, is seven points better than UNC's efficiency against the Jayhawks.
To find another instance of the Heels' offense being rendered that ineffective ... you have to go back to a loss at USC on Dec. 21, 2005, when UNC had just 0.748 PPP in a 74-59 loss. That was Tyler Hansbrough's eighth game at Carolina.
8. The best non-numerical way to sum up the Jayhawk D, from Carolina's Wayne Ellington: "They just came out, they jumped on us. They hit us between the eyes." Thus the 40-12 start.
7. As long as Memphis keeps the ball in the hands of Chris Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose, free throws won't be a factor. The 12th-worst free-throw shooting team in the country -- tied with winless New Jersey Institute of Technology at 61.3 percent! -- had 23 attempts from the charity stripe against UCLA. The Tigers made 20 of them ... and every one was taken by either Derrick Rose (11-of-12) or Douglas-Roberts (9-of-11). Memphis coach John Calipari has long been espousing the theory that his team knocks them down when it counts. "Tough-minded players," he said, referring to his star guards, "will make free throws."
6. While we're on that free-throw subject ... it was first pointed out over at Basketball Prospectus that Memphis had a weird tournament identity for a team that was terrible at free-throws all season long: They've drawn fouls and got to the line at an absurd rate. The Tigers rank 186th nationally in free-throw rate -- calculated by made free-throws divided by field-goal attempts -- at 24.9 percent. Yet during the dance their free-throw rate has been off-the-charts high:
Rd. Opponent FT Rate Opp. FT Rate 1 UT-Arlington 64.8 38.2 2 Miss. State 50.8 33.3 S16 Mich. State 59.3 28.8 EE Texas 69.2 13.0 FF UCLA 35.9 20.3
5. Part of this is because Memphis has taken huge leads and forced teams (particularly the Spartans and Longhorns) to resort to hack-a-thons late in the game. But Calipari said their strategy, even against UCLA, was to get fouled. "We were trying to get our guys to beat people off the dribble, and not let them chest bump you," he said. "We tried to get by them, so if they pushed, it was a foul."
4. Another window into KU's defense from Roy Williams, explaining how the Heels were too flustered to stick to their game plan: "We talked about [how] we can't take quick shots. And we took quick shots. We talked about that you have to be strong with the ball. We let them take it away from us twice -- just reach in and take our ball. We talked about coming to meet the pass. We threw it to one of our post players inside. He just stood there. [Kansas'] guy came to meet it more than he did and got the ball. We said you can't dribble between two perimeter players because [KU] does a great job of getting back, getting their hands involved. We did that twice and lost it. We said if you're a post player, you have one dribble, that's it. Second or third play of the game, we have a post player that dribbles it the second time -- [and the] third time they're taking it to the other end."
Chris Douglas-Roberts has proven effective inside and outside the three-point line.
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
3. Chris Douglas-Roberts is insanely effective from inside the arc. He's made 58.2 percent of his two-point attempts on the season, which would be a good percentage for a center. Check out how the trendsetter for the Floater Generation stacks up against Kansas' more perimeter-oriented guards:
Player 2-PT% 3-PT% C. Douglas-Roberts 58.2 41.7 Mario Chalmers 56.8 47.3 Russell Robinson 55.2 31.8 Sherron Collins 53.6 36.6 Brandon Rush 44.0 42.3
2. Joey Dorsey can make one-dimensional basketball look beautiful. There were three occasions this season where he had 15 or more rebounds but not a double-double, but Saturday's 15-board, zero-point effort was a thing of beauty. (Even though, as he said, Calipari was yelling at him "the whole time.")
Joey Dorsey's best one-dimensional games Date/Opponent Rebs Pts 1/30 vs. Houston 22 6 1/23 vs. Tulsa 19 2 4/5 vs. UCLA 15 0
1. Two overlooked reasons why I think this game can avoid an early-death proclamation from Billy Packer: Memphis won't be able to guard Kansas like it did UCLA, just focusing on two players (Darren Collison and Kevin Love) while sacrificing D on everyone else. The Jayhawks have enough weapons other than Chalmers and Rush to keep defenses honest. On the other side, I don't think there's a chance of Kansas getting off to another big early lead, either. The Tigers have been a killer first-half team over the past two weeks, because, as Rose says, they don't hold back. "We just come out and attack."
(And if you were looking for a prediction ... be patient. It's coming on Monday morning.)
Derrick Rose helped the Tigers race to the NCAA title game for the first time since 1973.
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
SAN ANTONIO -- Thoughts on Memphis' 78-63 win over UCLA before I run to the locker room ...
• In the time it took me to write this, the Tigers' Derrick Rose could have run three laps around the Alamodome. It's clear by now that Rose is the most dangerous open-court guard in the country. He made UCLA's Darren Collison -- the son of two Guyanese track stars -- look as slow as Lorenzo Mata-Real. By the end of the first half Rose had already blown Collison away, scoring 11 points and dishing out two assists without a turnover. Collison had just two points on 1-of-4 shooting and three turnovers to go with his three assists. When Collison fouled out with 2:53 left in the game, and the Bruins down 63-52, he still had just two points. That was a single-game low on the season.
• In case you were keeping score, in the past two games, Rose has 46 points and 13 assists. Combined, the two point guards atop most All-America lists, Texas' D.J. Augustin and Collison, finished with 18 points and seven assists. How much NBA money did Collison cost himself on Saturday?
• Kevin Love really suffered from UCLA's lack of a second post player who could knock down jumpers. After Joey Dorsey went out with his third foul early in the second half, Love wasn't allowed to dominate -- because Sean Taggart and Robert Dozier were swarming around to double-team whenever he caught the ball. They chose simply to leave Alfred Aboya, Mata-Real and even Luc Richard Mbah a Moute wide open from time to time.
• By 13:32 in the second half, the score was 50-45 in Memphis' favor. Why was that significant? It was same score by which UCLA beat the Tigers in the 2006 Elite Eight. Two years ago, the Bruins were able to exert their will and turn the game into a defensive grinder. In 2008, with Rose streaking by them, Douglas-Roberts slashing for layups, and Dorsey cleaning the glass, UCLA lost all control.
• A guaranteed highlight for the One Shining Moment montage: Chris Douglas-Roberts' backdoor cut for a left-handed dunk over Love. CDR, if you aren't familiar with his game, is right-handed.
• Three straight Memphis blowouts -- the last two over really good teams -- in this NCAA tournament. Is there any reason to think the Tigers won't win the whole thing now?
SAN ANTONIO -- Our 10-part countdown to the tipoff of the Final Four, gathered from locker rooms and practices, press conferences and back-hallway interviews at the Alamodome:
10. Does a Final Four with four No. 1 seeds have a strong enough aura around it to make Kansas State's Michael Beasley think about staying in college for another year? Lil' Mike, who's in San Antonio as a Naismith Award finalist, created a commotion (at least among fans aged 10-18) at the Alamodome on Friday when he appeared courtside during Memphis' practice. He told me that someone back on campus in Manhattan had recently written THREE MORE YEARS (in an "artistic" way) on the back window of his Chevy Tahoe. The only possible reason he could cite for actually coming back, despite being the projected No. 2 pick in the NBA draft, was the event in which Kansas, UNC, Memphis and UCLA -- but not K-State -- were partaking in this weekend. "I don't have a championship," said Beasley. "This, the Final Four, I'd love to still be playing in it right now."
But Beasley also mentioned the possibility of holding a press conference early next week in Manhattan -- and said that he'd be interested in doing it jointly with fellow Wildcat and NBA prospect Bill Walker, because, "It'd be nice to knock it all out." Read into that what you will.
9. Russell Westbrook told me in the UCLA locker room that he'll be the one trying to lock down Chris Douglas-Roberts on Saturday, while Darren Collison will be on Derrick Rose. Since I took an extended look at Douglas-Roberts' game on Friday, I asked Westbrook, the Pac-10's Defensive Player of the Year, how you defend an opponent with a killer crossover. "Don't watch the ball," he said. "If you watch the ball, that's when you get lost defending. You just have to stay solid and look at something like his stomach, or his belly button."
8. Westbrook was kind enough to step away from a heated card game (of Thirteen) amongst mostly Bruin reserves. Upon finishing our interview, he immediately began harassing Nikola Dragovic to give him his spot back in the game's rotation.
7. The photo below was from Kansas practice beforeRodrick Stewart freakishly fractured his right kneecap while jumping for a dunk attempt. I was in the Memphis locker room doing interviews when it happened ... and it immediately became the talk of the 'dome. Sad that all Stewart was trying to do was entertain the horde of Jayhawks fans -- easily the biggest contingent in San Antonio -- with a bounce-to-himself slam. This won't hurt KU nearly as much as missing Andre Allen (for a drug suspension) will hurt Memphis, but it's still a devastating end to Stewart's tumultuous college career.
6. Even though the reason Allen isn't at the Final Four is because he reportedly failed a drug test, some Tigers players are treating him as some sort of martyr. Reserve forward Hashim Bailey had devoted most of the white space on his Memphis Adidas shoes (pictured first below) to messages about Allen, including "Dre Day" and a drawing of a hand sign that represents Allen's neighborhood, South Memphis. Apparently some players plan on making this sign for Allen during Saturday's game. Another reserve forward, Pierre Niles, also had his shoes (pictured second) decorated with devotional messages such as "This one for you cuz #15."
5. The biggest pack around any single player? Easily the reporters swarming North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough, a Naismith Award finalist who, unlike Beasley, still has business left to tend to. I still like Roy Williams' condensed scouting report on Hansbrough from the Final Four Salute: "Fairly mediocre player with poor work habits."
Williams was kidding, obviously. And in Friday's press conference, Roy got irked when someone asked why Psycho T's secondary nickname, "Spaz-Brough," hasn't stuck. (I believe the blog may have been the first to uncover this in March of 2007, a huge scoop.) "Probably the guy that gave him the "Spaz-Brough" thing really didn't think, because if you look at him, he is far, far from spaz. Even in the tournament last week, we come down the court, Ty makes a pass to him on the left wing, the guy stands up to take a charge, and he actually looks like Twinkle Toes, but he goes right by the guys. He is not spastic by any means. There's no way that one would stick. The only real way that one will stick is if someone is trying to be cute or harmful."
5. Larry Brown was haunting the hallways and locker rooms at the Alamodome, supervising the coaches and schools to which he has ties ... which meant all of them. He played at North Carolina, coached at UCLA and Kansas, and had John Calipari on his staff as an assistant in Lawrence. "I didn't want to come because I didn't think it was a good situation to be in," said Brown (show below with Memphis' Willie Kemp), "but my wife told me it was a win-win, and I think she's right."
In the 10 or so minutes I listened to reporters pester Brown during Memphis' practice, he was asked about the Memphis Grizzlies' job (dismissed the question) and what he'd tell Calipari if the Knicks offered him that job (which is so going to happen). To that one, Brown said, "I want John to do what he thinks is best. Right now he's got something really important to do. He's trying to win a national championship. I don't think there's anything else on his mind right now."
4. A Final Four weekend packed with Lottery Picks is probably an appropriate a time as any to get fresh stars shaved in your head. Memphis' Doneal Mack, who had let his barbershop designs slack a bit during the earlier stages of the tourney, was out in full force for Friday's media sessions.
3. Niles, one of our favorite Memphis interviews, gave us one Joey Dorsey story that slipped his mind during our Q&A in Houston: "Last year, after a practice, Joey ran to the locker room and took [reserve guard] Clyde [Wade]'s car to the other side of campus. Clyde came in and was like, 'Is somebody playing? Where is my car?' He ran around looking for it, but I don't think he found it until like 11:30 that night, and practice was at 2:30. He was mad. Joey finally had to tell him where it was, otherwise he wouldn't have found it."
2. Ben Howland is into Stevie Wonder. Apparently he's been listening to Ribbon In The Sky on occasion while watching basketball film. Said Howland: "I actually saw Stevie Wonder in concert this year at the Santa Barbara County Bowl. I've always loved Stevie. He actually sang that song this summer. He's improvising. He sang it for about, I don't know, 10 minutes. It was actually incredible. The recording I have, I listen to it when I'm watching film once in a while, does it no justice."
(Ribbon, incidentally, is the same Stevie tune that Vandy's Shan Fostermentioned in a Q&A earlier this year. How good would the Bruins be, by the way, if they had just one more great three-point shooter, like Foster?)
1. Finally, a few predictions: Memphis over UCLA, Carolina over Kansas. Two great games to make up for all the blowouts last weekend. Rose's speed > Collison's speed, by just a little. The Tigers won't miss Allen. Dorsey gets within two rebounds of Kevin Love. Hansbrough doubles Brandon Rush's scoring output, but Mario Chalmers has a huge night to keep the Jayhawks in it 'til the final minute. Ol' Roy has conflicted emotions about bouncing KU ... but just for the few hours up until he needs to start game-planning for Rose.
SAN ANTONIO -- We've made it sort of a tradition among the SI crew to hit up the Final Four Salute Presentation on Thursday night of game week. This is where various poobahs of the sport (selection committee members and assorted men in suits) as well as local business dignitaries get to see CBS' Jim Nantz introduce all of the players and have a sit-down panel interview with the four coaches. Mostly I just go because it's funny to see what the various teams roll in wearing: Not knowing what to expect out of the presentation, some of them show up dressed appropriately formal, and others sort of go uncomfortably casual (like Ohio State's Thad Matta last year, who had on a polo shirt and no socks).
We were hidden in the back row of the auditorium of a Riverwalk convention center for the event, so my Canon Elph lacked the power to properly capture the scene. The shot below is my best attempt at a montage of the four squads as they stood onstage.
As you can see, the team that's been to the Final Four the past two years, UCLA, was nearly all in suits. Lorenzo Mata-Real, ever the trendsetter, changed things up with the brightest white pair of shoes in the room -- but no over-ear headband. North Carolina, whose coach, Roy Williams, has been to a few of these things, was probably the best-dressed team. Nantz made a remark about Kansas' "uniformity," since they were all wearing polo shirts and khakis, looking like a pack of young golf pros. And Memphis, keeping it real, went almost exclusively for the button-up and jeans look.
The upset of the night? That the only Tiger with a semi-formal outfit on ... was none other than Joey Dorsey, with a sweater-and-jeans look. It's the kind of late-season maturity you'd like to see out of a senior. Especially since he's now the only senior on Memphis' Final Four roster, with Andre Allen left at home after failing a drug test. Nantz mercifully let John Calipari off the hook by avoiding the topic altogether. (This was a promotional event rather than a media one.)
The highlights of the event, beyond Joey's sweater:
• A predictably awkward interview between Nantz and Tyler Hansbrough, who said he did not fraternize with any of the teams during a dinner earlier that night, and was just trying to "stay focused." Said Nantz, "I have a feeling you'll stay focused, Tyler."
• KU coach Bill Self telling a story about milking sympathy from a knee injury he suffered at a Larry Brown summer camp into a graduate assistant job with the Jayhawks. "The worse [Brown] felt, the more I limped," Self said.
• Williams, when asked to do a brief breakdown of the main players in his rotation, said of Hansbrough, "Fairly mediocre player with poor work habits." Easily the best line of the evening.
• Calipari getting called out by his fellow panelists for trying to praise the refereeing in the tournament and laying groundwork for calls on Saturday. The coaches also had the opportunity to introduce their wives and have them stand up in the crowd, but Cal said his wife and kids were on the Riverwalk, because (and I'm paraphrasing here), "'She said I pat myself on the back enough to make my arm fall off, so she doesn't need to do it for me."
• A sneak peek at the first two minutes and 30 seconds of the One Shining Moment montage. Apparently it's about 3:02 long, with the early parts already locked on. One funny semi-spoiler: At the first run of the And when it's done line, a certain super-freshman who's expected to be one-and-done -- but hasn't declared yet -- is shown in the postgame handshake line. That's what you call suggestive imagery.
SAN ANTONIO -- Building up the body of the Final Four in eight parts (Andre Allen's vacant headspace not included):
Derrick Rose's Bandaged Eyebrow Rose is human after all: He's "terrified of needles," or at least the ones needed to give stitches, which he avoided after opening a cut over his eye against Michigan State in the Sweet 16. Rose had it glued together -- and then explained that the reason he could have tattoos (he has multiple) and not stitches was because the tattoo needle "doesn't go all the way in."
Mario Chalmers' Super-Steal Vision Chalmers, in this week's SI Final Four preview (by Grant Wahl): "I try to read people's eyes, to see what they're looking at and read their minds." That's how the Superintendent picks off so many passes, averaging 2.4 steals per game. It also doesn't hurt that he's lightning- quick and has a backcourt mate in Russell Robinson who's adept at harassing opposing ball-handlers.
UCLA's Banner Burden On Ben Howland's shoulders is a unique burden. The other three teams here are all relieved about finally breaking through; none of them would be satisfied with going home on Saturday, but reaching San Antonio in itself was a big deal. For the Bruins, who've been to the past two Final Fours and have 11 banners hanging at home, a title is the only positive outcome.
Tyler Hansbrough's Shotputting Shoulder Hansbrough averaged 22.8 points per game this season with a go-to move that Roy Williams even described as a "shot-put" -- a right-handed shot on the interior that starts below chin-level. As you can see from the photo at left, that leaves Psycho T's other arm to draw contact or merely just push away defenders. The shot is as effective as it is ugly, giving him no incentive to change.
Kevin Love's Hooking Elbow This is Love's greatest post move: sealing off his defender with a bent elbow, and then spinning to the basket for an easy two. It's the kind of trick a 15-year NBA veteran would use, and it's incredibly hard to defend -- or get the ref to whistle it as a foul. As an assistant said in our scouting reports, "it's just one of those things that [Love] has perfected over time."
Kansas' Backcourt Numbers I'm not referring to KU's actual jersey digits, but rather the sheer volume of quality guards on its roster. UCLA has three, UNC has three, and Memphis is down to four with Allen's absence, but KU has five options: The starting trio of Chalmers, Russell Robinson and Brandon Rush, plus Sherron Collins (a five-star recruit) and Rodrick Stewart (a four-star recruit) off the bench.
Chris Douglas-Roberts' Tripled-Up Socks Think Douglas-Roberts' perimeter moves are unorthodox? The way he wears his socks -- three Adidas tubes on each foot, rolled up over each other -- is even stranger. Memphis' All-America two-guard does this for a reason, though: "They get me loose, my calves and everything," he said last week in Houston. "They make e sweat more, and they warm me up."
Tywon Lawson's Fleet Feet (And Healed Ankle) Lawson's extended left-ankle injury prevented the country from getting a good look at the Tar Heels until late in the season. Now they have have the tournament's most high-powered offense, with his healed wheels running the show. He's often called the "fastest end-to-end" point guard in the country, but I'd like to see him and Memphis' Rose officially race for that title.