e ssociated Press
4EW YORK - Rick Pitino likes to
preach to his Kentucky basketball team
about living in the "precious present." No
looking ahead or back. Just worry about
Well, almost no looking back.
When Kentucky faces Syracuse in the
NCAA championship game tonight as a
14-point favorite, its toughest job will be
solving the Orangemen's 2-3 zone. The
zone has been a much-discussed topic
ong the Wildcats ever since it was
.ed by North Carolina to beat them in
last year's Southeast Regional final.
"The North Carolina loss is the only
thing we look back on from the past,"
Kentucky point guard Anthony Epps said
yesterday. "We go against that zone ev-
ery day in practice."
After a season in which it didn't really
seem to matter what type of defense was
used against them, the Wildcats (33-2)
1*i finally get to go against the zone in a
game. They won by an average of 23
points this season, and Saturday night's
8K1-74 semifinal victory over top-ranked
Massachusetts was theirfirstNCAA tour-
nament win by fewer than 20 points.
Still, last season's 74-61 loss to North
Carolina - one step from the Final Four
- has been a tough one to forget. The
Wildcats shotjust 28 percent and were 7-
for-36 from 3-point range.
"aAfter last year when we played North
rolina; we have played against a 2-3
zone for anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes
every day," Pitino said. "We've been
good at attacking it and we have to be,
because Syracuse plays the best 2-3 zone
in the country."
Syracuse (29-8), which reached the
title game with a 77-69 victory over Mis-
sissippi State, has won praise -not ridi-
culentf thseazon, endSecially duigts
fne recie te crdt for the re
gional final win over Kansas when the
Jayhawks became the fourth straight team
to shoot under 39 percent and were 4-for-
25 from beyond the are.
The zone faced a tough test in Saturday
night's game when Mississippi State hit
three threes in as many attempts in the
opening four minutes. But the rest of the
way, the Orangemen's zone forced the
Bulldogs into turnovers and negated their
Kentucky doesn't want to make the
"You have to keep attacking the zone,"
Pitino said. "You can't rely on fool's gold
if you make three or four long jump shots
andyou think you've discovered a way to
beat it. Patience, dribble penetration and
offensive rebounding are what's needed
to beat a great defense like that."
yracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who
nt to the zone because of his team's
lack of depth and speed, knows what his
team is up against in Kentucky, the pre-
season No. I and a team that was consid-
ered the favorite to win the championship
"They have tremendous depth and are
good at every position, and they are able
to inside-outside at every position," said
Boeheim, who hired Pitino as an assistant
in his first season at Syracuse. "That's
*y they've been the way they've been
all year. They present a lot of problems,
and we have to come up with some solu-
Just like Kentucky has to solve that
"The way we play, we encourage
people to take 3-point shots," Boeheim
said. "But it's not just shooting, it's
how you attack it. We have to be pre-
W ed for that and adjust to whatever
Whatever Kentucky does, it will be
with a lot of players. Pitino uses a 10-man
rotation to keep the pressure defense in-
tense and fresh. Syracuse plays seven
players, and the starters log most of the
minutes. That makes point guard Lazarus
~IE£di4Wn, ---LadgA j
Michigan's Tom Malchow received All-Amiedca honors after finishing second in the 200-yard butterfly at the NCAA championships this past weekend.
Michigan swims well but cannot repeat as champion
By Doug Stevens
Daily Sports Writer
AUSTIN, Texas - A common for-
mu4a for success in coaching is to work
with what you have.
Members of the media often encour-
age coaches to speculate as to "what
woulid have happened" had a certain
absent player been available.
Although he would never admit it, at
this past weekend's NCAA Men's
Swimming and Diving Championships,
Michigan coach Jon Urbanchek must
have pondered the impact that numer-
ous athletes from last year's winning
squad might have had on his current
Urbanchek brought only 11 athletes
down to the Lone Star State, his team
lacking entrants in seven different events
(two sprint freestyle races, two
breastroke events and three diving com-
The weekend culminated with the
defending champions finishing a dis-
tant third (358 points) behind winner
Texas (479) and runner-up Auburn
(443.5). Urbanchek undoubtedly must
have considered how the meet's events
might have gone differently, had the
Wolverines still possessed eight-time
All-American sprinter Gustavo Borges,
breaststroker Steve West, diver Abel
Sanchez and freestyle/IM swimmer.
Owen von Richter.
As a result of these athletes' absence,
Michigan's 1I swimmers were all
forced to step it up for the team to
compete with the other top programs,
all of which possessed a full lineup.
These men certainly lived up to their
end of their bargain.
Before the meet, Urbanchek stressed
that while his team was not entered in a
lot of events, it would dominate the
ones in which it competed. As pre-
dicted, Michigan excelled in the dis-
tance events, the butterfly, the indi-
vidual medley races and the backstroke.
"We swam as well as we could with
the 1 guys we had," Urbanchek said.
"I got 110 percent from the guys we
Indeed, of Michigan's 11 swimmers,
only two failed to score any points in
In the distance freestyle, the squad's
premiere event, Michigan's perfor-
mance was nothing short of domina-
tion. In the 500 freestyle, the Wolver-
ines captured the first, second, fifth and
11th places. In the 1,650, Michigan
grabbed the first, sixth, 10th, 17th and
In addition, the team's 800 freestyle
relay team of Tom Dolan, Jason
Lancaster, Chris Rumley and John
Piersma broke a 12 year-old American
record, as well as setting new NCAA,
U.S. Open and pool standards with a
time of 6:20.89. It was Michigan's
fourth consecutive national title in that
"We own that event - our name is
permanently on that trophy," Urbanchek
said about the Wolverines' perennial
dominance in the relay.
In one respect, the Wolverines' lack
of depth definitely worked against them.
The champion Longhorns illustrated
the benefits of a deep team by becom-
ing only the third squad ever, and the
first in 13 years, to capture the team title
without winning an individual event.
"Without a doubt, our depth was real
important," Texas coach Eddie Reese
said. "I fyou can get two in the top eight,
or four in the (consolation final), that's
not just depth -that's good depth. We
knew we were good in every event."
On the other hand, Michigan's lack
of depth gave it an opportunity to show-
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