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FINALS WATCH: Sights and sounds from North Texas

Sunday - 4/6/2014, 4:12pm  ET

Chris Daughrty performs the U.S. national anthem before an NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball semifinal game between Connecticut and Florida Saturday, April 5, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Of all the celebrities and athletes in attendance at the Final Four, Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball had to have the most unique outfit.

Ball, who played college football at Wisconsin, wore a frog suit to AT&T Stadium on Saturday night.

Ball and two friends tried to join the Wisconsin student section courtside late in the second half of the Badgers' 74-73 loss to Kentucky, but were denied entrance to the floor level because they didn't have the necessary wrist bands.

The students caught wind of Ball's struggles, turned around and started chanting "let them in, let them in."

Security didn't budge, not even after one student walked toward the stands and slipped Ball his wristband.

Ball argued profusely, and even flipped off his frog cap at one point, before stomping back to his seats. His friends followed -- one dressed in a leopard suit and the other in a cow suit.

-- Mark Long --


Jim Calhoun won three national championships with Connecticut in four trips to the NCAA Final Four.

Two years coaching his final game, and three years after his last title, the Huskies are playing for championship No. 4. And Calhoun couldn't be prouder for UConn and second-year coach Kevin Ollie, one of his former players.

"The greatest test is not building, the greatest test is maintaining. ... To sustain greatness, it's an incredibly difficult thing to do," Calhoun said while sitting in the Huskies locker room after their 63-53 victory over Florida in a national semifinal Saturday night. "To watch these kids now having a chance to go Monday night and get another one for us, I mean that's pretty special, and I think it speaks to the guys that are here, finding a way."

This season's team includes five players who could have left, but stayed after Calhoun retired and Ollie took over knowing they would not be able to play in the NCAA tournament last year because of academic reasons.

Calhoun said it might be hard to watch Monday night's championship game and not be coaching.

"But it's going to be glorious to watch the look in those kids' faces," he said. "It's a great honor and a great privilege to have your kids, our kids and our program, in that position and watching these guys do wonderful things. How much greater things can you ask in a program than you have all the dreams you have for them about to come true again. It's wonderful."

-- Stephen Hawkins --


Dwight Howard showed some love for the alma mater of Houston Rockets teammate Chandler Parsons.

Howard was shown on the big video board doing the "Gator chomp" in the Florida student section during the second half of the Gators' game against Connecticut at the Final Four. Parsons was with him.

Howard, who went straight to the NBA from Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, also could be seen singing a Florida school song. Howard signed with the Rockets in the offseason.

Parsons played all four years at Florida and was a second-round pick by Houston in 2011. He was a freshman with the Gators the year after the second of back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007.

Howard and Parsons left AT&T Stadium with Florida down by double digits in the final minute of UConn's 63-53 victory. Houston plays Denver at home Sunday.

-- Schuyler Dixon --


Shaquille O'Neal showed up at the Texas high school boys state basketball tournament last month to be honored. He didn't make it to the Final Four, though.

O'Neal was the only living member of the 2014 class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame who wasn't on the court for a brief ceremony during a TV timeout in the first half of the Connecticut-Florida game.

The 15-time NBA All-Star and four-time champion was honored in Austin on the 25th anniversary of his San Antonio Cole team winning a Texas state championship.

Former LSU coach Dale Brown -- O'Neal's college coach -- did attend, along with former Maryland coach Gary Williams and two-time NCAA championship player Grant Hill for Duke.

The late Zelmo Beaty, who averaged 25 points and 20 rebounds in his career at Prairie View in the early 1960s, was represented on the court.

The others being inducted in November are Howard Garfinkel, who started the first high school scouting service for East Coast basketball in 1965, former Louisville player Darrel Griffith, and former Stetson coach Glen Wilkes Sr.

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