Marshall practices, says he's improving

ST. LOUIS — Kendall Marshall participated in portions of practice for North Carolina on Saturday, though a decision on his status for today's Midwest Region final against Kansas will not be made until shortly before tipoff.

The Tar Heels point guard hurt the wrist when he was fouled on a drive against Creighton on March 18. He had surgery Monday to install a screw and got his cast off Wednesday.

On Saturday morning, Marshall was fitted for the brace he would wear to play. He did not take part in any contact during practice at the Edward Jones Dome, but he was involved in the walkthrough and shoot-around and had his wrist wrapped in an ice pack in the locker room afterward.

"The range of motion is getting gradually better every day, and that's a positive sign," Marshall said. "There's been tremendous improvement every 24 hours."

Marshall spent Friday night's game against Ohio sitting on the bench in a dapper black suit, tutoring freshman Stilman White whenever he checked out.

THUMBS DOWN: John Calipari is having a ball. Well, except for movie night.

The coach of top-seeded Kentucky has avoided watching other games during the NCAA Tournament, and he wants his players to do the same. His message: Focus on us and don't worry about other teams. So when on the road, the Wildcats usually head to the movies so they're not stuck in the hotel room watching other games.

After arriving in Atlanta, they went to see 21 Jump Street. Calipari's assessment: "Awful."

SUBDUED BAYLOR: Fans can put away their sunglasses: Baylor is turning down its electricity for today's South Region final against Kentucky.

Spokesman Chris Yandle said Baylor asked to again wear its bright neon green uniforms in the game but was told it did not provide sufficient contrast to Kentucky's white uniform.

Instead, the Bears will wear black uniforms with neon green trim, black socks and shoes, and green shoelaces.

COACH STAYING PUT: Wichita State's Gregg Marshall said he will remain as coach after leading the Shockers to the Missouri Valley Conference's regular-season title and an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. Last week, published reports said Marshall turned down a $2 million offer to become Nebraska's coach, a report Cornhuskers athletic director Tom Osborne denied.

DIVISION II FINAL: John Allen led five players in double figures with 14 points, and Western Washington (31-5) won its first national title, beating Montevallo, Ala., (29-8) 72-65 at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights. Allen, an 88.7 percent free-throw shooter, made four in a row to end Montevallo's late comeback.

Marshall practices, says he's improving 03/24/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 24, 2012 11:56pm]

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