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Can basketball coaches make fashion statements?

When it comes to the basketball court, anything can go wrong, especially during March Madness. Just ask number #4 seeded University of Arizona’s basketball team which was upset on March 15th by the #13 seeded University of Buffalo.

Because of this uncertainty in the game, a lot of college basketball coaches focus on what can always go right: their wardrobe.

There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the fashion choices that college basketball coaches make because they seem to have a bit more freedom–and a bit more style–than the choices of their peer college football and baseball coaches. It is not only a matter of lighthearted jokes between college coaches; it also can become a topic of debate.

In other words, when some college basketball coaches do not dress to par, other coaches and spectators seem to notice. The most obvious example of this is Bob Huggins, the West Virginia basketball coach, who is known for wearing a pullover or tracksuit during games.

Photo courtesy of Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

Although the coach is famous for his team, which is nicknamed “Press Virginia,” he has drawn humorous comments from other coaches like Villanova’s Jay Wright who notes that it is tradition to wear a suit despite the lack of functionality. In fact, the story behind Huggins consistent fashion choice is that one game he sweat through his shirt and tie and had to change at halftime.

“When you wear a nice suit and you’re in the huddle and they’re sweating on your suit—the guys are dripping on top of you—I’m thinking, ‘Why am I wearing this nice suit?’” Jay Wright notes. “But it’s tradition.”

On the opposite side of the spectrum is Jay Wright himself, who has won the Runway to the Fashionable Four, a contest set up by College Insider every year since 1998 that judges the outfits of 64 basketball coaches and advances them in bracket style. Wright is known for donning a dapper-looking three piece suit that is completed with a pocket square.

Photo courtesy of Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The question remains for many college basketball coaches: Does what you wear affect the outcome of the game?

The answer is an obvious yes for some basketball coaches who have noticed their ability to come back from a deficit after changing at halftime and also for coaches who have changed their wardrobe for a game only to be defeated. An example of the latter case is again Bob Huggins who lost by 23 points when he was seen wearing a full yellow suit that was too long for him.

In the end, it comes down to school spirit as most coaches wear ties that match their respective school colors, no matter how fashionable these color combinations may be.

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