Louisville wearing infrared uniforms at Final 4

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, March 31 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Rapper Jay-Z signs autographs before the start of an NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball tournament game Saturday, March 31, 2012, in New Orleans.

David J. Phillip, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — Break out the sunglasses, Louisville is sporting its infrared uniforms for the Final Four.

The Cardinals are 5-0 in their orange, err, "red" uniforms, and they're not about to mess with that success with a trip to the NCAA title game on the line. The fourth-seeded Cardinals (30-9) play top-seeded Kentucky (36-2) on Saturday night.

"We're in the Final Four. If anybody has a problem with (the uniforms), they can just chalk that up," Louisville point guard Peyton Siva said. "We're not going to change anything."

Kentucky 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.

As the higher seed, the Wildcats have 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," Siva said, referring to coach Rick Pitino, who has set the trend for coaches with his finely tailored suits and designer shoes. "Coach P doesn't like change."

But Pitino can't argue with Louisville's track record when wearing the duds.

Doesn't need his reading glasses, either.

"We're going to hopefully get him in an infrared tie soon," Siva said.

JUDD JAZZED: Actress Ashley Judd has been one of the most visible supporters of Kentucky basketball over the years, showing up to games in Lexington and around the country.

No way was she going to miss seeing the Wildcats face Louisville at the Final Four in the Big Easy.

Sitting in the front row behind Kentucky's bench inside the Superdome, Judd was decked out in blue and white as she awaited the most-anticipated game in the heated in-state rivalry with the Cardinals.

"It's just wonderful for the state," she said. "This is like the good ol' days. This is about history, it's about family. It's very special."

NICE SEATS, COACH(ES): Michigan State coach Tom Izzo had no idea why he was sitting in the front row of a section of Louisville fans — especially since the Cardinal ended his season last weekend — other than he was supposed to have a bunch of well-known coaches along with him.

Every coach who has won a national championship was given seats in the first row behind the media at the Superdome, Izzo said. It was a new gesture by the NCAA this season. Joining Izzo were North Carolina coach Roy Williams and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim.

"It's fun to be here," Izzo said, "but it's always more fun the way we've been here in the past."

Izzo won the national championship with Michigan State in 2000, part of a run of three straight trips to the Final Four. He returned to the Final Four in 2010.

His top-seeded Spartans lost to Louisville 57-44 in the regional semifinals. The Cardinal were playing Kentucky in the first national semifinal on Saturday night.

KENTUCKY ROYALTY: Joining actress Ashley Judd courtside behind the Kentucky bench were rapper Jay-Z, Nike chairman Phil Knight and Creative Artists Agency consultant William Wesley.

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