Dan Patrick recalls some emotional memories of his time with NC State coach Jim Valvano as the NCAA tournament gets underway. Valvano led the Wolfpack to a national championship over a heavily favored Houston team in 1983. He passed away of cancer ten years later in 1993. Since his death, his words in a moving speech at the ESPY Awards have remained a rallying cry in the hopes of raising money for cancer research.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
There’s no empirical evidence that ties the length of Carl Hall’s hair to the success of the Wichita State men’s basketball team, but it’s going to take some time to adjust to seeing the 6-8 senior with a buzz cut in this year’s NCAA tournament.
Hall unveiled the new look at a press conference Wednesday, trading what had become his signature dreadlocks for the much shorter buzz. But, Hall had his reasons.
“I just wanted to try something different. I wanted to get my hair cut to surprise the team,” Hall told Kansas.com. “They weren’t expecting me to cut it.”
In the video found here from Kansas.com, Hall tells a funny anecdote about going to a barber in Wichita to get the cut done. Hall says the barber recognized him and was tentative about following through with his request.
“He knew what I was asking, but he didn’t want to do it. He was like, ‘Carl I don’t want to cut your hair.’ He kept asking like, ‘Are you sure this is what you want to do?’ He asked me like 10 times and I was like, ‘Yeah, man, just cut it.’
Hall does admit that he initially had second thoughts about the drastic change, but he’s now moving on with his team to face No. 8-seeded Pittsburgh Thursday in the Round of 64 of the NCAA tournament.
Wichita State will have to deal with one of the toughest defenses in the country when it squares off against Pittsburgh, combined with one of the least-turnover prone offenses. When the Shockers struggled part of the way through their conference schedule, it was because Hall and Cleanthony Early were unable to get heavily involved in the offense. Pittsburgh will try to eliminate them again Thursday.
The winner moves on to play the winner of No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 16 Southern.
Perhaps LeBron James has better things to do than pick an NCAA tournament bracket, namely dropping a triple-double and leading his Miami team from 27 points down in the third quarter Wednesday against Cleveland to extend the Heat’s winning streak to 24 games. But few can resist getting in on the madness at least a little bit.
According to the Associated Press, James like many others sees this field of 68 as more or less wide open, prone to upsets, and difficult to predict.
“Everyone has a chance to win it,” James said when asked who would win in Atlanta. “Everyone.”
“There’s always going to be one sleeper,” James said. “There’s always going to be a VCU or a Butler or Norfolk State that’s going to be out there in the Elite Eight. We’ll see.”
The report says James had not filled out an entire bracket, but favors Louisville, Kansas, Indiana, and a team from his home state, Ohio State. Interestingly, he did not choose the Miami Hurricanes, a team that he and teammate Dwyane Wade have been photographed watching courtside.
Of the teams he chose, only Louisville is set to take the floor Thursday. Coach Rick Pitino’s Cardinals take on North Carolina A&T at 6:50 p.m. ET.