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Crazy KU basketball uniforms selling like hot cakes — even Mario Chalmers wants one

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Cincinnati, on Wednesday, became the first team to wear adidas' new-look uniforms this postseason.

Cincinnati, on Wednesday, became the first team to wear adidas' new-look uniforms this postseason. by Matt Tait

The Cincinnati Bearcats officially broke them in for the rest of the world to see earlier Wednesday during their 61-44 victory over Providence in the Big East Tournament, and the expectation is that the Kansas University men's basketball team will do the same during its opening game of the Big 12 Championship on Thursday.

We're talking the uniforms that sent the college basketball world into a frenzy a few weeks ago, of course, as the odd and somewhat bold pattern dreamed up by the folks at adidas certainly has changed the way college basketball teams look on the floor.

As the top seed in this year's Big 12 tourney, the Jayhawks will wear the white version of the wild look. According to most — fans I spoke with, Twitter-dwellers and other writers — the white uniform is the less outlandish of the two, with the blue version bearing the brunt of most of the criticism.

While the initial fan reaction, at least according to Twitter, seemed to reveal that the new look was universally despised by KU fans, a couple of quick phone calls on Wednesday painted a much different picture.

First, I called Jock's Nitch in Downtown Lawrence to find out just how well the uniforms had been received by the public. What I was told surprised me. According to general manager, Ryan Owens, the store sold out of all of its shorts — both white and blue — and even sold more than a few of the jerseys.

Wait. There's more. Somewhere around 15-20 folks even put their name down to snag dibs on the first batch of shorts in Owens' second order. One of them was someone many of you might know — Mario Chalmers.

Chalmers, through Twitter, asked Owens to hold a pair of the white shorts for him.

Overall, Owens said he believed the younger generation liked the look a lot more than most, but also said that he was surprised by the reaction to the blue uniform when people saw it in the store.

“They're different, there's no doubt about that,” he said. “It's definitely something out of the box. But when people get into the store, they actually wind up liking the blue more.”

Rather than stopping there, I thought I'd make a quick call to KU, too, to find out how the new duds had been received on campus. It turns out the reaction was nearly the same. The KU Store, which is connected to Allen Fieldhouse, sold through all of its shorts, both colors, and has made a dent in the re-order, as well. KU Store also sold most of its youth jerseys in both blue and white.

According to the people at adidas, the motivation behind unveiling the wild look was to shake things up during the most fun time of year for college basketball.

After dabbling with something different during last year's postseason with the fluorescent colors worn by schools like Baylor and Louisville, adidas simply wanted to be make another splash in the market and show off something fun on a huge stage.

One person I talked to at KU said they had heard that this specific style of uniform had been selling like crazy across the country, too, with Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Baylor, UCLA and Louisville — all adidas schools — joining the Jayhawks in wearing the wild look this postseason.

Here's the original promotional photo that was sent out a couple of weeks ago that shows all of the teams expected to wear the new uniforms this postseason.

Here's the original promotional photo that was sent out a couple of weeks ago that shows all of the teams expected to wear the new uniforms this postseason. by Matt Tait

The whole thing is part of a huge marketing campaign by adidas, complete with mannequins in the windows of Dick's Sporting Goods stores as well as spreads in the East Bay retail magazine as well as Slam Magazine.

KU coach Bill Self said the Jayhawks' plans were to wear them for one game and that he didn't think it would go beyond that. He did leave the door open for an encore performance, though, by saying that it depended on how well they played in them.

It did seem pretty certain that KU would not be wearing them in the NCAA Tournament.

KU will open postseason play tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Kansas City, Mo., against the winner of tonight's West Virginia-Texas Tech game.

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