CRIMSON CONNECTIONS: Plenty, even outside the obvious presence of the nation's 8th-ranked basketball team. Leon Douglas, a Bama hoops landmark, was honored as an SEC Legend during the Tide's opening round win over Tennessee.
Jim Farmer, aspiring country music singer, was spotted in the crowd, and said he's under new management but his c.d. is selling at a steady pace. Barry Sanderson, son of Wimp, was on hand with his current employer, South Carolina. Bryan Passink, former Tide hoopster and current Birmingham businessman, was on hand to watch his alma mater.
We also spotted former Alabama athletic department exec Steve Townsend and Tide booster/B'ham Tipoff Club officer Dick Coffee, III.
SUPERFANS: They've held season hoops tix at the U of A since Coleman (then Memorial) Coliseum opened in early 1968, and they've only missed one SEC Tourney since the event resumed in 1979, and that due to family illness. Meet Elizabeth and James A. "Buster" Brown of Trussville, who were on hand cheering for the Tide as hard as anyone in the Dome. Buster is an active member of both the Birmingham Red Elephant and Jefferson County U of A Tipoff Clubs, and the retired pharmaceutical salesman is as Bama as it gets. It's folks like these that make being a Bama person fun.
SEPARATED AT BIRTH: Fans of NBC's Monday night drama "Third Watch" will recognize the name Coby Bell, who plays NYPD officer Ty Davis. Has anyone seen this man in the same room with Florida guard Justin Hamilton. Oh, and forget Will Smith; former Tider/current Laker Robert Horry's new twin is UT forward Marcus Haislip.
CATCHER TURNED ZEBRA: Back in the town where he starred behind the plate for the Braves playoff team of manager Joe Torre 20 years ago, Bruce Benedict called several games in the tourney. That's irony. Benedict has been an SEC official for several years, now.
FACES IN THE CROWD: Scouts flooded the dome to see the likes of Rod Grizzard, Haislip, Udonis Haslem, et al. Among the was Minnesota T-wolves exec/former Boston Celtics star Kevin McHale. Others spotted were former AU coach/current Birmingham talk show host Sonny Smith, and former UGA/Atlanta Hawks star Dominique Wilkins, who like Douglas was honored as an SEC Legend prior to UGA's loss to LSU.
TV SERIES STARS: Speaking of McHale, his nickname when he roamed the paint at Boston Garden was "Herman Munster." Could Billy Donovan be his son, Eddie? Could Mississippi State forward Michael Ignerski be a descendant of Lurch, from the Adams Family? Just asking.
ALPHABET SOUP: You can include the SEC in the "melting pot" category with names like Ignerski, Carolina's Marius Petravicius, and Vandy's David Przybyszewski. That's a lot of letters for a jersey.
PRETTY IN PINK: We'd like to congratulate the Mississippi State equipment folks for getting the spelling corrected on Derrick Zimmerman's jersey. He was "Zimmermam" for months. Oh, but they made up for it. Due to dangerous washing machine conditions (we guess), the white piping on the Dog's maroon unis became pink. On EVERY uniform. Nice touch. Hey, they won the tourney; maybe they'll use that look in the NCAA's, too.
BACK IN BLACK: Nice touch on the retro-ish unis LSU pulled out on day two. Instead of being gold, purple or white, they were black, trimmed in gold and purple. Neat look.
HOW BOUT THAT... CHICKEN: Anyone who has lived in Atlanta for a number of years has heard of or visited Son's place, located on Hurt St just of Edgewood Avenue. Owners Lenn and Beverlyn Storey cook up the best fried chicken we've had since Grandma quit cooking in the 80's, and it tastes remarkably like hers. The soul food is great with corn, mac/cheese, collards, and pancake-style cornbread and you can count on the sweet tea hitting the spot. Son's is an offshoot of a former Atlanta landmark, Deacon Burton's, which was located a few feet away. The Deacon passed on in the 90's, but son (hence the name) Lyndell has carried on the tradition magnifcently.
NEXT: Part 2, The Final Chapter from the A-T-L.