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Saturday, March 24, 2007

T-Shirts, Flags, Anything Tigers, Scooped Up in Fan-Feeding Frenzy

T-shirts, flags, anything Tigers, scooped up in fan-feeding frenzy

By Cindy Wolff
March 24, 2007

Even the shirts with yesterday's news weren't on sale.
Sweet Sixteen.

Those shirts were nestled on a couple of tables around the University of Memphis campus next to the blue shirts with even better alliterated news.

Elite Eight.

The new shirts went to print shortly after that scary final 3 seconds ... uh, 2 seconds when Memphis held on to beat Texas A&M 65-64 and advance to the next round of the NCAA Tournament in San Antonio.

"I'll take two," said Marie Moore, who whooped and hollered for her Tigers while she waited in line. She planned to put her Elite Eight shirt on the second she got back to work. "Do I need the Sweet 16, too? I guess I want the whole collection."

Moore and other fans relived the final 3 seconds of the game like witnesses to a moment in history.

"We were screaming. We had our hands like this," she said, covering her eyes. "I live in an apartment in Collierville, and when we won, there were people outside just screaming and honking their horns. The biggest fans live in Collierville," Moore said.

Tell that to Kay McCarty, who said she and her son and husband were running around their East Memphis house Thursday night during those final seconds.

"We're the biggest fans," she said as she paid Brandon Hollie for her T-shirts at a table on Central. "We won't take these shirts off."

While University of Tennessee fans pulled down their Vols flags, Tiger fans painted cars, hung flags and wore blue T-shirts, getting pumped for today's game against No. 1 seed Ohio State.

Blue paw prints and "Go Tigers Go" were painted on cars dusted with green pollen.

Blue flags on car windows whipped past business signs that mixed messages like "Plastic Easter Buckets $1" with notes of encouragement for the basketball team.

At Mary Carter Decorating Center, plastic basketball picks were selling for 15 cents each and people were buying finger-sized basketball figures even though they weren't in Tiger blue.

Fans bought hats, car flags, house flags, face tattoos and T-shirts at The University of Memphis bookstore. The store plans to have another 400 Elite Eight shirts today.

And if all goes right, there will be 1,000 more shirts on Sunday with a new message.

-- Cindy Wolff: 529-2378

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