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Coaching elites litter courtside in Superdome

NEW ORLEANS -- Denny Crum sat two seats away from Eddie Sutton, and just down the line from Tubby Smith, while North Carolina coach Roy Williams showed up wearing a baby blue tie -- and no Jayhawks sticker.

Yes, there were plenty of high-profile coaches on hand to watch the Final Four on Saturday night.

Some of them with pretty apparent rooting interests.

Crum, who wore a red-and-white striped shirt, won a pair of national championships in the 1980s with Louisville. Eddie Sutton had a couple of wildly successful years with Kentucky, though they were no match for Smith's group of Wildcats, who won the 1998 national championship.

Of course, much of that team was recruited by current Louisville coach Rick Pitino, adding one more layer of intrigue to the Cardinal's national semifinal against Kentucky.

"It's healthy for college sports and basketball in particular," Smith said during halftime of the opening game. "Great atmosphere. It's two programs that love basketball."

Crum said that Kentucky was "tough. They're very athletic, very, very good." Sutton was more excited by his seat, the best he'd had at a Final Four since taking Oklahoma State in 2004.

"It's the best seat I've ever had except for the Final Four on the bench," Sutton said with a smile. "I don't know how I got down here. Both of these teams are very, very good."

Williams said he would be pulling for Kansas, the school he led to three Final Fours -- and the same school that knocked his Tar Heels out of the NCAA Tournament last weekend.


Louisville was sporting its infrared uniforms for the Final Four.

The Cardinals had been 5-0 in their orange, err, "red" uniforms, before Saturday night's 69-61 loss to Kentucky.

Wildcats coach John Calipari said this week that the uniforms had been outlawed and they wanted to wear blue. "As a matter of fact the higher seed has a choice of color, and we pick blue," Calipari joked -- though as the higher seed, the Wildcats had to wear home whites.

Louisville was one of several teams that made fashion statements -- if you can call it that -- in the postseason. Baylor did its best imitation of a highlighter with its fluorescent yellow uniforms, and its green camouflage combo can be re-used during hunting season. Cincinnati had some color combos that even the Crayola folks didn't realize existed.

And the Cardinals? They made everyone see red -- though not a hue anyone recognizes.

"I didn't think Coach P would like them," Cardinals point guard Peyton Siva said, referring to coach Rick Pitino, who has set the trend for coaches with his finely tailored suits. "Coach P doesn't like change."


Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis won the Wooden Award on Saturday, the latest honor in his accolade-filled season.

Davis becomes the second freshman to win the Wooden Award after Kevin Durant also accomplished the feat in 2007. Hall of Fame coach John Wooden's grandson, Greg, presented the award on behalf of the Los Angeles Athletic club.

Davis won AP Player of the Year on Friday.


The NCAA selected Les Jones, Doug Shows and Joe DeRosa to officiate the first game between Kentucky and Louisville.

Jones is leading the crew as part of his fourth consecutive Final Four; Shows officiated a Final Four game for the second straight year and DeRosa made his Final Four debut after a long career as an NBA official.

In the second game featuring Kansas and Ohio State, Jamie Luckie worked a Final Four for the third consecutive year. He was joined by Tom Eades, who is part of the Final Four for the third time in five years, and Patrick Adams, who is assigned for the second time in three years.

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