Utah center Michael Doleac has been sporting a goatee for the past three weeks, but not a lot of people have noticed it because it is blond and because it is, well, not that filled in yet. He said he started it after the loss to UNLV in the WAC tournament on the advice of a couple of teammates, and the Utes haven't lost since.

"It's worked, so I kept it," he said.Teammate Andre Miller also has some growth on his chin, but he says it's nothing special.

"Mine has been growing for two years now," he said with a laugh.

WORK TO DO: Next to whether Majerus will leave Utah after this season, the most pressing question for Ute fans is whether junior point guard Andre Miller will turn pro.

Miller's response to a question Sunday should make the crimson and white faithful breathe a little easier:

"I don't think I'm really ready. I have a lot of work to do now. Right now I'm a slashing-type player. I need to become more of a shooter."

WANT FRIES WITH THAT?: With time short and the press on their heels, fast food was the order of the day for Utah's starting five on Sunday.

Their choice? McDonald's.

Their selections?

Mike Doleac and Drew Hansen: Two quarter-pounders, large fries, pie and large drink.

Hanno Mottola: Two Big Macs, pie, large fries and large drink.

Andre Miller and Alex Jensen: Anything, thanks, as long as it's food and lots of it.

COLORLESS: One reporter started to ask a sensitive question to Andre Miller about being the only black starter and about stereotypes of white basketball players when suddenly his microphone went dead and he asked if it was working.

At that point, Majerus jumped in and said, "It's God sending you a message."

Eventually the reporter was able to ask his question and Miller handled it well, saying, "You have to go out and compete, regardless of white, black, Asian, pink or whatever. Once you get out on the court, basketball doesn't have a color."

UTAH MAN: Jeff Sheppard is the leading scorer on the Kentucky team and the player expected to give Utah the most problems.

He redshirted last year, which would have been his senior year, to improve his chances in the NBA.

And which NBA team is his favorite? The Utah Jazz.

RATINGS GAME: Saturday's Utah-North Carolina game drew a 12.1 rating - up 3 percent from a year ago. Overall, CBS's ratings are up 3 percent over last season's tournament.

While the network didn't get its marquee matchup of North Carolina-Kentucky, it is getting a Cinderella story in Utah, although CBS analyst Billy Packer says the Utes have slipped out of Cinderella's slipper.

GOOD LUCK: How are the Utes' biggest fans to the south handling all of the success currently being enjoyed by their long-time rivals?

Quite nicely, thank you.

BYU President Merrill J. Bateman issued the following statement: "All members of the Brigham Young University community wish the University of Utah success in its championship game. Every Utahn and WAC member is proud of the great performance already given by the Utes."

This from Advancement Vice President R.J. Snow (who held the same position at the U.): We're very thrilled with the Utes' success. I have dusted off my red tie and will be wearing it all day Monday."

And from football coach LaVell Edwards: "I've had a hunch for a long time that this would be the year for Utah. Every once in a while, a team of destiny comes along. That's what they are. We wish them well."


"He makes so much money, he should give me some and I'll write a few lines for him."

- Rick Majerus, on being funnier than Tubby Smith