South Sub-Regional Notebook
March 16, 2001
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - There may be some doubt about how Alabama State willperform in its first NCAA tournament. That's especially true considering the16th-seeded Hornets are facing defending national champion Michigan State inFriday's opening round.
There is no doubt, however, about how coach Rob Spivery will look at tipoff.
Just like he has in every game since early December, the fifth-year coachwill be wearing the same black, pinstriped suit and tie.
'It's something that just came about, around the fourth or fifth game ofthe season. We started to wear that suit and win and we just stuck with it.There's no need to change when something is working,' Spivery said.
The suit's record is 20-4. The other outfits are just 2-4.
'I just figured the players wear a uniform when they're performing out onthe floor, then I just took that as my game uniform,' Spivery said, adding thesuit has been to the dry cleaners.
One Internet site selected Spivery as the best-dressed coach in theSouthwestern Athletic Conference.
'We'll wear it on out,' he said. 'I know people are probably tired ofseeing me in this same suit and tie, but I don't mind as long as we're on thepath we're on.'
DIFFERENT ROLE: Jason Richardson's first NCAA tournament turned out to bea great one as Michigan State won the national championship in his freshmanyear.
Richardson has gone from a role as a key reserve to a second-teamAll-American for the Spartans, and his second NCAA tournament has somesimilarities to his first.
'It's been very different, but I'm still learning and I still come here inawe like the freshmen,' he said before crediting the Spartans' senior classwhich has won four Big Ten titles, been to consecutive Final Fours and won itall last season. 'Guys like Charlie (Bell), Andre (Hutson) and D.T. (DavidThomas) keep us focused, so all we have to do is get ready to play.'
NO UPSETS: Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson wasn't going to get caught up inthe upset uproar Thursday as the first scores of the NCAA tournament started tofilter in.
'There's a terrible misconception about teams you never see on TV. GeorgiaState beat Wisconsin. Utah State beat Ohio State. From a coach's standpoint,those aren't huge upsets,' he said. 'Those games were played on neutralcourts with neutral officials, and those two things are big. During the yearwhen you play at home it's usually with conference-assigned officials and thatis a big factor in a lot of team's non-conference games. People don't like totalk about it, but it is. When you get to the NCAA tournament, it's a levelplaying field. When you look at players on both teams, they're pretty even. Thedifference is the name on the front of the uniform.'
ELVIS GILLEN: Virginia coach Pete Gillen is an unabashed fan of ElvisPresley, and he proved it at Thursday's news conference, the day before hisCavaliers played Gonzaga in the city 'The King' called home.
'I love Elvis. My players don't know who he is. They listen to reggae andthat's OK,' he said. 'Don't be cruel. That's what I have to say to Gonzaga.'
FAMILIAR FOES: California's Sean Lampley and Fresno State's Melvin Elywill have no trouble picking each other for a pregame handshake on Fridaynight.
The Chicago-area natives played against each other in high school and wereon the same AAU team. They wound up in northern California and each was hisconference's player of the year this season, Lampley in the Pac-10 and Ely inthe Western Athletic Conference.
'Our AAU team was just a group of stars and nobody really got to shine,'Ely said. 'Right now he's the key to his team. You see the maturity in him. Hetakes all the big shots. He does everything the coach asks him.'
TIMELY BLAME: Indiana State coach Royce Waltman has the Sycamores in theNCAA tournament for the second straight year and for the third time in schoolhistory, with the other being when a forward named Larry Bird led them to theFinal Four.
Waltman, a former assistant to Bob Knight at Indiana, has been credited withturning the program around quickly, reaching the tournament in his thirdseason.
'Some say it was fairly quickly, but in actuality a new coach has onlythree years to turn it around because that's how long you can blame the guybefore you,' he said.
BUGLE BOY: Gonzaga center Casey Calvary has the reputation around his teamas non-morning person. The subject came up because of the local start time of11:25 a.m. Friday, in a time zone two to the east of his usual Pacific Coastsetting.
'Any time we're playing basketball is my favorite time,' he said. 'Evengetting up early not on Pacific time, that's OK.'
Gonzaga coach Mark Few, the man who let the world in on Calvary's a.m.grouchiness, feels there might be a silver lining to the early start.
'It might not be a bad thing if he is in one of his surly moods,' Fewsaid.
By JIM O'CONNELL
AP Basketball Writer