Sweet 16 in St. Louis—Thursday notes
True story… we started our day at 5:30am to get to St. Louis in time for Tennessee’s practice at Edward Jones Dome. I noticed moments into the drive that the passenger side window of our car was coming down… on its own. Yup, broken window at the start of a 6 and a half hour drive. What did we do? Easy. Orange duct tape. Yup, we’re proud of our car in the heart in one of America’s great cities.
Onto less embarrassing stories. The Bucks’ practice at the Dome was, like the other practices Thursdsay, sparcely attended. But the tone for OSU’s workout differed from the others during they day, especially Tennessee’s. The Vols took a relaxed tone, shooting jumpers (shooting them well, btw) and growing accustomed to the rims in a cavernous building. OSU’s workout—an aggressive, loud, up-tempo display where players broke out in heavy sweats. It was impressive work and indicative that Thad Matta wants his team intently focused on Tennessee (hey, they beat UK and KU this season. ‘nuff said.“).
You may notice if you watch the game on TV Friday that Matta has a little blood vessel burst in his right eye. I asked him how he got it and he says he’s not sure… but he started by saying he had to break up a fight at practice and got caught in the crossfire. Didn’t happen—he’s actually quite clever with stories that did not happen. Wednesday he said the team had practiced at Ohio Stadium to get ready for the Dome setting. Guy’s funny.
The team’s been enjoying the restaurant tour of St. Louis. Wednesday the team ate at the Hard Rock and Thursday many players ate at Cheesecake Factory. David Lighty wrote on twitter that he was, in a way of speaking, cold at ‘the factory. Several players wrote notes about the Syracuse loss to Butler Thursday.
Final note… what it’s like to do interviews in the lockerroom. It is opened for 30 minutes either right before or right after practice, per NCAA rules. When you walk in, it’s comical to watch us reporters seek out particular players. For example, an Ohio reporter waited 5 minutes for Evan Turner to come out of the bathroom instead of talking to other players. That reporter? Me. He was the last guy we needed to talk to, and sometimes, you really have to fight for position around an elite player. Thus, we staked out a bathroom. Silly, yes. But you’ll hear from him at 11.
Laters from St. Louis.