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If No. 4 Arizona Beats Third No. 1, It Will Be a First

March 30, 1997|TIM KAWAKAMI

If Arizona beats Kentucky on Monday night, it will become the first team to beat three No. 1-seeded teams since the NCAA tournament field was expanded to 64 in 1985.

The No. 4-seeded Wildcats beat the Southeast's No. 1-seeded team, Kansas, in the regional semifinal, and beat No. 1 North Carolina out of the East on Saturday.

Kentucky was No. 1 in the West Regional.

"We don't look at No. 1 seeds or anything like that," Arizona center A.J. Bramlett said Saturday. "We don't care if anybody's a No. 1 or whatever they are, all we do is get ready to play.

"We've been doing that the whole tournament--you can't be thinking, oh, this team's great because it's a No. 1. That's not the way. And we've gotten a long way thinking like that."

In 1985, No. 8-seeded Villanova beat two No. 1s and a No. 2. In 1993, North Carolina was a No. 1, and beat one No. 1 and two No. 2s.


This is the second consecutive season in which a fourth-seeded team has reached the national-championship game (both times to face No. 1-seeded Kentucky). Last year, Syracuse was the No. 4 in the West Regional, and advanced to the title game. This year, Arizona is a No. 4-seeded team.


Arizona guard Jason Terry was taken to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis after the game as a precautionary measure after complaining of dizziness and nausea, said Donald Porter, Arizona's team doctor.

Terry had been suffering from a cold all week, Porter said, fell late in the game but did not hit his head. Porter said Terry was given intravenous fluids at the hospital and was scheduled to be released late Saturday night.


A possible explanation for none of the four teams shooting better than 42.3% from the field: a not-so-slight breeze cascading down from near the top of the RCA Dome all night.

"In the second half, the guys were saying they could feel their jerseys, like, rippling," Arizona guard Miles Simon said.


Kentucky guard Derek Anderson, out since suffering a major knee injury Jan. 18, got a Final Four appearance when Coach Rick Pitino sent him in to take the two free throws after Minnesota Coach Clem Haskins was given a technical foul.

"I said a while ago when he got hurt, the only time I'd use him is if we got a technical," Pitino said. "We got a technical."

With 14:31 left in the second half and the Wildcats protecting a 47-43 lead, Anderson came in for Cameron Mills, made both free throws, then came right out of the game.


Haskins drew the technical after Golden Gopher Courtney James was whistled for a player-control foul on a fastbreak, which, if he converted, could have brought Minnesota to within two, 47-45.

Instead, after Anderson's free throws and a jump shot by Ron Mercer on the ensuing Kentucky possession, Kentucky had a six-point lead.

Minnesota was called for 28 fouls in the game, Kentucky 19.

Was Haskins trying to get whistled either to make a point or charge up his team?

"I'm a fierce competitor, and I don't plan technical fouls," Haskins said. "I think it was an emotional reaction. But overall, the officials did a good job.

"The officials did a good job. It's not the officials, it's Minnesota. We're not going to blame the officials for losing the ballgame."

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