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“It’s an interesting phenomenon, the whole uniform-shoe thing with young people, having something that nobody else has,” Cronin said.

Adidas checked with the schools to see if they were interested in the tournament designs. Not everyone liked the sleeves _ Cronin turned down the idea for his Bearcats.

“I’m happy they don’t have sleeves,” Wright said.

The sleeves seem to be the biggest attention-getter, a reminder of the sport’s fledgling days. Xavier coach Chris Mack wore sleeved jerseys when he played at Evansville in the late 1980s, getting over his disdain for the look.

“Aesthetically, I thought they were really ugly,” Mack said on Thursday. “But it’s just ironic because so many guys wore T-shirts _ I think it started with Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin wearing T-shirts under their uniforms, which is comfortable for some guys. But I thought the one-uniform-T-shirt look was a little outdated and strange.”

Outdated? Not anymore.

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Freelance writer Kathleen Gier in Lawrence, Kan., contributed to this report.

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Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay