Arizona coach Lute Olson is usually one to keep his feelings private, and certainly not stick his foot in his mouth.
But in the current issue of Inside Sports magazine, Olson was asked how he'd play Kansas if matched up against the Jayhawks in the NCAA tournament.
"I'd play a zone against them," Olson was quoted as saying. "Jacque Vaughn is a fine point guard who can't shoot. Jerod Haase in the only one who can pop it from long range on that team."
Guess whom Olson's Wildcats are facing in tonight's West Regional semifinal in Denver? None other than Vaughn and the Jayhawks. It's not known when Olson made his comments, but Vaughn shot 42.9 percent on three-pointers this season.
Asked about Olson's remarks yesterday, Vaughn was diplomatic a point.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, and I'm not going to lose any respect for him because of some alleged comments," said Vaughn, the Big Eight's Player of the Year. "My response? 'Don't guard me, I can't shoot. Please don't guard me.' "
Out of the spotlight
With the Nos. 2 and 3 teams left in the West Regional semifinals, tonight's first game between fourth-seeded Syracuse and eighth-seeded Georgia is almost being treated as an afterthought.
"Certainly, they're big-time programs with big-time coaches," Bulldogs coach Tubby Smith said about Kansas and Arizona. "They've done a lot more than we have. If I was a writer, I'm thinking that way, too."
In other words: He hopes the Orangemen don't take Georgia's chances seriously either.
Of the coaches in Denver, all but Smith has made it to the Final Four. Olson did it three times, with Iowa in 1980 and with Arizona in 1988 and 1994. Kansas coach Roy Williams made it in 1993.
Syracuse's Jim Boeheim s last-second shot.
"I think everyone wants to make it to the Final Four if you're a college coach or player," he said. "That's what it is all about now at this level. If you have a successful program, you're probably going to be in the tournament. If you're in the tournament, the only way to have a successful tournament is to be at the Final Four."
Georgia Tech's triumvirate of Stephon Marbury, Matt Harpring and Drew Barry draws the line.
"These guys will kill me for saying this, but that team was more mature," Cremins said. "Kenny, Dennis and Brian Oliver were just more mature. These guys are starting to get there.
"Kenny Anderson is probably the best ball-handler I've ever seen. Dennis Scott was one of the greatest shooters of all time. And Brian Oliver was special. There are a lot of similarities, but the '90 team was more mature."
Said Barry: "It's nice to be compared to three guys who made the NBA, but those three averaged over 20 points a game, and not one of us is averaging 20."
UConn on the rebound
Connecticut was an upset waiting to happen last week in the first two rounds of the Southeast Regional. The top-seeded Huskies were less than dominating in a 68-59 win over Colgate and a 95-81 victory over Eastern Michigan.
Yesterday, coach Jim Calhoun acknowledged the letdown that followed UConn's come-from-behind win over Georgetown in the Big East tournament title game.
"That Sunday, I felt exhausted and emotionally drained," Calhoun said. "Obviously, to play Georgetown and Syracuse in a 24-hour period was very tough on us."
The Huskies spent the week in Lexington, Ky., after playing their first two games in Indianapolis, and, according to star Ray Allen, have regrouped nicely.
"We have a tremendous amount of focus now," Allen said. "The Big East tournament took a lot out of us. But we've had a little time off, and we're ready to play."
Wide load coming
When the Huskies play Mississippi State tonight, center Travis Knight, 7 feet, will look for a little help from his friends. His assignment tonight is the Bulldogs' Erick Dampier, 6-11, 265 pounds.
"Obviously, he's a very strong player," Knight said. "He's going to be a load to handle inside. I'm going to need help from my teammates, help from the guards to keep him from getting the ball."
Pub Date: 3/22/96