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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NCAA TOURNAMENT | NOTES

March 25, 1998|ROBYN NORWOOD

Jim Harrick took Rhode Island further than anyone imagined, but the coach who built the team that came within a minute of the Final Four was Al Skinner, now at Boston College.

"I enjoyed it. It was very satisfying to watch," said Skinner, who took the Boston College job last year, moving up to the Big East and opening the door for Harrick's hiring. "I guess there was some parental pride."

Skinner must rebuild at Boston College, and the Eagles went 14-16 this season. But he can add a mention of Ram stars Wheeler and Cuttino Mobley when he talks to recruits now, even if it was Harrick who took Rhode Island to the final eight.

"I think it helps," Skinner said. "What it does is it gives players who like Boston College and Al Skinner a little more confidence that in fact that sort of thing can happen."

Despite the run Harrick had, Skinner said he didn't feel bad about leaving.

"I think I would have felt bad if they wouldn't have had success," he said. "I was ecstatic. Of course if I'd stayed, I hope we would have done that.

"I didn't want to have regrets about leaving. I didn't have any, because they did well, and I feel good about that."

*

There will be no North Carolina-Duke IV.

The Tar Heel players said they were disappointed, and many of them pulled for Duke against Kentucky.

"Sure, I was pulling for them," guard Shammond Williams told the Raleigh News & Observer. "It would have been great to have another [Atlantic Coast Conference] team there, for one thing. And like the players have said all year, most of us are friends off the court."

Forward Antawn Jamison agreed.

"I wanted them because of that chance for an all-ACC national championship. I'd have really liked that."

Said guard Ed Cota: "I got a little upset watching. I thought Duke threw the game away."

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