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What to read while desperately trying to mimic Jerry Smith's facial hair

Because it's more awesome than yours.

Chris Lofton's ankle injury is still all the rage just 35 hours before tip, but a Tennessee spokesperson reportedly told Andy Katz last night that the injury was "blown out of proportion" and that Lofton would absolutely miss no time Thursday night.

But that didn't keep Bruce Pearl from holding his star out of practice on Tuesday.

Tennessee star guard Chris Lofton was held out of practice on Tuesday because of an injured left foot, but is expected to play Thursday when UT faces Louisville in the Sweet 16 in Charlotte, N.C.

"I think (Tuesday) was an opportunity to give it another day's rest from a precautionary standpoint," UT Coach Bruce Pearl said following practice. "The ankle, the heel, the Achilles, it's all pretty sore."

Lofton suffered the injury during the first half of UT's victory against Butler on Sunday in Birmingham, Ala., in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Lofton remained in the game and finished with nine points in 31 minutes.

The senior had been wearing a boot to relieve some of the pressure, but was not wearing it during Tuesday's practice.

While his teammates went through drills and game planned for Louisville, Lofton rode an exercise bike and later practiced free throw shooting.

Pearl said he expects Lofton to practice in Charlotte today, and "absolutely anticipates" him starting against Louisville.

"If we had a game (Tuesday) night, he would have played," Pearl added.

Tennessee blog Rocky Top Talk busts out a hoard of statistics that seem to suggest the Vols are primed for victory in Charlotte tomorrow night.

Tyler, JaJuan and Ramar Smith would like to let the world know that they are "Da Smith Boyz" and not "The Smith Brothers."

Louisville signee Samardo Samuels will be partaking in tonight's McDonald's All-American game, but he hasn't been too focused to ignore what the Cards have been doing in March so far.

Louisville's blowout win over Oklahoma on Sunday provided some fodder for future Cardinal Samardo Samuels from St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.) against future Sooner Willie Warren, a guard at North Crowley (Fort Worth, Texas).

"I told Willie that wasn't even a game, that was a scrimmage," Samuels said with a laugh.

Samuels has also been in touch with Louisville coach Rick Pitino during the Cardinals' tourney run.

"I called coach P and got him fired up," Samuels said. "I told him this year is on them, but I've got them next year."

A comment like that might seem presumptuous if Samuels didn't have the game to back it up.  

Samardo Samuels- It will be fun to watch Samuels go toe to toe with B.J. Mullens of the West squad on Wednesday night. Quite frankly, he has dominated around the rim in every East practice against his thinner frontcourt big men. Other than one three-pointer in the first practice, I don't think I've seen Samuels score a bucket that was not a dunk. But don't be fooled. As a surprise contestant in the Three-point Shooting Contest on Monday, Samuels out shot a number of the guards in the contest. He told that he models his game after Carlos Boozer, and that is exactly the type of player who we expect him to develop into.

You want generic Louisville preview? I got generic Louisville preview. I'm a chameleon.

And just in case you'd forgotten, our head coach has been fairly successful on this stage before.

On the other hand, Pitino said he likes the possibilities for this team.

"Sometimes it doesn't show, because I think all coaches -- you watch so much film, are up so late and get so little sleep that you are beat -- but inside we are really excited," he said. "The first two rounds you can't have as much fun. ... But this is the Sweet 16. You are traveling there and playing all good teams."

Pitino probably has a little extra hop in his step because of his track record in the Sweet 16. He's 7-0, including five games at Kentucky.

The coach said he doesn't have a master plan for this time of the year and noted that, with the exception of his 1987 Final Four run at Providence, he has done everything basically the same every year.

His players know they have someone special on the bench.

"You don't get to five Final Fours and not know what you are doing," center David Padgett said. "Coach has been here before -- too many times. His mind-set doesn't appear to be too much different, but he knows how to get us focused."