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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / DAILY REPORT : MEN'S FINAL FOUR : Olson Says He Is Done Bashing Media

March 30, 1994|Associated Press

Arizona Coach Lute Olson says it's a new season, and he's through bashing the media.

"It's over with, this is Final Four week," he said in Tucson.

Saturday, Arizona clinched the NCAA West Regional title with a 92-72 victory over top-seeded Missouri. Olson had used the occasion to vigorously defend his team, which had exited the NCAA tournament in the first round the previous two years.

He contended the Wildcats had been unfairly attacked and his players were burdened by the criticism.

"I did that for one reason . . . . for the players and the abuse that the players have taken," he said. "And I've done it and the players are thankful that I did it."

Olson said he was irked by comments after the 1992 and 1993 tournament losses in which his players, whom he called "members of our family," were branded losers and chokers.

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Florida has fed off the role of underdog all season, but Coach Lon Kruger said it won't necessarily be a source of motivation against Duke on Saturday in Charlotte, N.C. The Gators accept that few people believe they will beat the Blue Devils and intend to approach the game the way they did their first 36.

"There's not any reason to do it differently," Kruger said. "You prepare for each game with the idea of doing whatever is necessary to give yourself the best chance to play as well as possible. Of course the stage is a little different, and the setting is a little different. But still, the preparation will be exactly the same."

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