March 23, 1998
1998 NCAA FINAL FOUR
SATURDAY, MARCH 28
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
UTAH (29-3, 12-2 WAC) vs. NORTH CAROLINA (34-3, 13-3 ACC)
PROBABLE UTE STARTERS F-50 Alex Jensen (6-7, 225, So.) 6.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg F-13 Hanno Mottola (6-10, 230, So.) 12.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg C-51 Michael Doleac (6-11, 265, Sr.) 16.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg G-34 Drew Hansen (6-5, 195, Sr.) 5.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg G-24 Andre Miller (6-2, 200, Jr.) 14.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 5.2 apg OFF THE BENCH G-3 David Jackson (6-3, 205, So.) 3.5 ppg, 1.6 rpg G-11 Jordie McTavish (6-0, 169, So.) 2.8 ppg, 0.9 apg G-21 Trace Caton (6-4, 215, Fr.) 4.2 ppg, 1.1 rpg F-31 Britton Johnsen (6-9, 200, Fr.) 3.1 ppg, 1.5 rpg F-40 Jon Carlisle (6-9, 223, Fr.) 2.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg F-45 Greg Barratt (6-8, 223, Fr.) 1.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg C-52 Nate Althoff (6-11, 245, Fr.) 1.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg
Utah, 29-3 and winner of the Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division is playing in its fourth NCAA Final Four--its first since 1966 ... Utah's first-round opponent is North Carolina (34-3), which is appearing in its 14th Final Four--tying it with UCLA for most Final Four appearances ... Game time is 35 minutes after the conclusion of the first game (4:42 p.m. Central Time) in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas ... The winner will play the winner of the Kentucky (33-4)-Stanford (30-4) game ... Utah, ranked No. 7 nationally in the final regular season Associated Press poll, is a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament. North Carolina finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the AP poll and is a No. 1 seed ... Utah's 29 wins is tied for the second most in school history. Utah finished 29-4 last year. Utah's 1990-91 team won a record 30 games (30-4). North Carolina has tied its school win record (34). The 1992-93 UNC squad won 34 games and the NCAA title ... Ute Head Coach Rick Majerus is making his second trip to the NCAA Final Four-- his first as a head coach. Majerus was an assistant for Marquette's 1977 NCAA Champion team ... The Utes are 1-7 all-time against UNC and 0-4 against the Tar Heels at neutral sites.
ON THE AIR
All Ute games are broadcast live on KALL radio (910 AM) and the Utah Sports Network. KALL talent: Bill Marcroft (play by play) and Jeff Jonas (color commentary). All NCAA Tournament games are televised by CBS (KUTV, Channel 2 in Salt Lake City). The talent for the Utah-UNC game is Jim Nantz (play by play) and Billy Packer (color commentary).
NCAA FINAL FOUR SCHEDULE
Sat., Mar. 28 Semifinal Game 1: 4:42 p.m. (Central Time) Kentucky (33-4) vs. Stanford (30-4) Semifinal Game 2: 35 minutes following game 1 Utah (29-3) vs. North Carolina (34-3) Mon., Mar. 30 Championship Game: 8:16 p.m. (Central Time)
UTE TRAVEL PLANS
The Ute basketball team will take a private charter to San Antonio, Wednesday night. No times are available.
The NCAA requires each team to participate in an "open" practice on Friday. Utah's open practice will be from 1:00-1:45 p.m. in the Alamodome. Should the Utes win on Saturday, they will hold a closed practice on Sunday.
FIELD AT A GLANCE
Utah ... is 29-3 and a No. 3 seed in the West ... won the WAC Mountain Division title with a 12-2 record but exited in the first round of the WAC Tournament (losing to UNLV 54-51) ... is 6-0 at neutral sites ... is shooting .483 from the field, .378 from 3-point range and .735 from the stripe ... has allowed opponents 56.9 ppg on .382 field goal shooting, .313 3-point shooting (.717 from the free throw line). North Carolina ... is 34-3 and a No. 1 seed in the East ... won the ACC with a 13-3 record and won the ACC Tournament ... is 13-0 at neutral sites ... is shooting .522 from the field, .373 from 3- point range and .714 from the line ... has allowed opponents 65.6 ppg on .383 field goal shooting, .321 3-point shooting (.681 from the free throw line). Kentucky ... is 33-4 and a No. 2 seed in the South ... won the SEC regular season title with a 15-2 record and won the SEC tournament ... ranked No. 5 in the final regular season A.P. poll (No. 6 USA Today/ESPN). Stanford ... is 30-4 and a No. 3 seed in the Midwest ... 15-3 in the Pac-10 (second) ... ranked No. 10 in the both final regular season polls.
Utah is 5-14 against the Atlantic Coast Conference: 1-7 vs. North Carolina, 2-1 vs. North Carolina State, 1-2 vs. Wake Forest, 1-2 vs. Duke, 0-1 vs. Maryland and 0-1 vs. Virginia. The Utes are 125- 80 all-time against the Pacific-10: 14-7 vs. Stanford. Utah is 6-12 against the Southeast Conference: 2-5 vs. Kentucky, 1-1 vs. Florida, 0-2 vs. Alabama, 0-1 vs. Auburn, 0-1 vs. Mississippi State, 2-0 vs. Tennessee, 1-0 vs. Arkansas and 0-2 vs. South Carolina.
North Carolina leads the series with Utah 7-1 ... UNC is 4-0 at neutral sites ... last two meetings were also at the NCAA tourney (1981, 1986) ... Utah's only win was in 1971 (105-86 in Salt Lake City) ... other games and results (all UNC wins): 1957 (97-76, at UNC), 1966 (90-85, at UNC), 1968 (86-84, neutral), 1973 (73-61, neutral), 1975 (94-91, neutral), 1981 (61-56, in Salt Lake), 1986 (84-72, neutral).
UTAH IN THE NCAA TOURNEY
Utah is playing in its 20th NCAA Tournament and its fourth straight. The Utes' all-time NCAA Tournament record is 29-22 (57%). This is Utah's fourth trip to the Final Four. Its previous Final Four years and finishes: 1944 (NCAA Champions), 1961 (4th), 1966 (4th). The Utes have gone to the Big Dance six times in the last nine years (1991, '93, '95, '96, '97, '98). During that span, Utah won all of its first round games, advanced to the Sweet 16 four times (1991, '96, '97, '98) and made the Elite Eight twice (1997- 98). Rick Majerus, Utah's coach for the last nine years, has led the Utes to a 13-5 NCAA tourney record in that time.
UTAH'S TOURNEY RECORD UNDER MAJERUS 1991 2-1 West Regional Semifinals (Seattle) 1993 1-1 2nd round (Nashville) 1995 1-1 2nd round (Boise) 1996 2-1 Midwest Regional Semifinals (Minneapolis) 1997 3-1 West Regional Finals (San Jose) 1998 4-0 Final Four (San Antonio) Total 13-5
Utah is one of just three programs to make the Sweet Sixteen and the Elite Eight in each of the last three years. The other two are Arizona and Kentucky. In 1996, Utah lost to Kentucky (101-70) in the Midwest Regional Semifinals. Last year, they again fell to the Wildcats (72-59), this time in the West Regional championship.
ROAD TO THE FINAL FOUR
A No. 3 seed, Utah opened tourney play with an 85-68 win over No. 14 seed San Francisco. The Utes then defeated No. 6 seed Arkansas (75-69) in round two. Both games were held in Boise, Idaho. At the West Regional in Anaheim, Calif., Utah defeated No. 10 seed West Virginia (65-62) and upset defending NCAA champion and No. 1 seed Arizona 76-51. Utah's 24 point win over U of A was the largest margin of victory over a No. 1 seed since 1992, when Indiana upset No. 1 seed UCLA, 106-79, in an NCAA semifinal game.
THE DEFENSE DID IT
In Utah's four 1998 NCAA Tournament games to date, the Utes have held their opponents to 62.5 ppg and 39-percent field goal shooting. None of their four opponents scored 70 points and Utah held defending NCAA champion Arizona to a season-low 51 points--a whopping 40 points below its average. Arizona's previous low point total this season was 70. In those four games, Utah out-rebounded its foes by six boards a game (35.5-29.3).
UTES RULE ALL-TOURNEY TEAM
Utes made up four-fifths of the NCAA West Regional all-tournament team. Junior point guard Andre Miller led the way, earning MVP honors. Also making the cut were Ute teammates Michael Doleac (center), Alex Jensen (forward), Hanno Mottola (forward) and Arizona's Mike Bibby(guard).
The Utes are 5-0 this season in games televised by CBS. Utah's win over UNLV on Jan. 24 and all four tournament wins were televised by CBS ... Utah opened the season with a school-record 18 straight wins before losing its first game, 77-74, at New Mexico on Feb. 1 ... Utah was undefeated in the Huntsman Center (13-0), where the Utes averaged 13,818 fans per game ... Utah has the 10th-longest home win streak in the nation right now at 21 ... Utah's three losses were by a total of 12 points and all were road games (77-74 at New Mexico, 62-56 at Wyoming, 54-51 at UNLV in the WAC Tournament) ... Utah women's basketball player Julie Krommenhoek, who currently leads the NCAA women in 3-point field goals per game (3.6), will participate in the 3-Point Contest at the men's Final Four, Friday at 7 p.m. Central time at Freeman Coliseum (3201 East Houston St.) ... A former Ute assistant coach will also be on the bench at the Final Four. Trent Johnson, who assisted at Utah from 1986-88, is now an assistant at Stanford.
UTES CAMP IN TOP 25
Utah ended the regular season ranked No. 7 in the nation in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Top-25 polls. The Utes were ranked in the Top 25 all season, moving as high as No. 3 before a loss at New Mexico on Feb. 1. The Utes' highest ranking ever was No. 2 (AP), achieved in last year's final regular season poll.
UTES ON A ROLL
Dating back to last season, Utah has won 43 of its last 47 games. The Utes, currently 29-3, posted a 29-4 record last year. Utah's four setbacks in the last two seasons were at the hands of the following: New Mexico (77-74, Feb. 1, 1998), Wyoming (62-56, Feb. 12, 1998), UNLV (54-51 in the first round of the WAC Tournament, Mar. 5, 1998), and Kentucky (72-59 in the NCAA West Regional Finals, Mar. 22, 1997).
DUO MAKES NCAA MARK
Seniors Drew Hansen and Michael Doleac have played in a school-record 13 NCAA Tournament games. With their four games this year, they broke the former mark of nine, held by Keith Van Horn (1993-97) and Jim Rhead, Rich Ruffel and Joe Morton (all from 1959-61).
Michael Doleac, Andre Miller and Hanno Mottola represented the 1997-98 Utes on the all-WAC team. Doleac and Miller made the first-team and were also named to the all-WAC Defensive team. Mottola was a second-team all-WAC member. Doleac was a repeat selection for both the all-WAC first team and defensive team. Miller is a two-time all-WAC defensive team pick. Utah also placed three on the media's all-WAC teams. Doleac and Miller were tapped for the first team and freshman Trace Caton won the Mountain Division's Sixth Man award. Miller was named the Mountain Division's Top Defender.
DOLEAC, HANSEN ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN
Michael Doleac and Drew Hansen were both named to the 1998 GTE Academic All-America team, making Utah the only school to place two players on its three teams. Doleac, who carries a 3.41 GPA in biology, made the first team, while Hansen, holder of a near-perfect 3.99 GPA in political science/economics, made the third team. The pair was also named to the Academic All-District team.
UTES MAKE THE GRADE
Utah has been as good in the classroom as on the court. Utah's team GPA was a remarkable 3.04 fall quarter. Eleven Utes were named to the honor roll and five made the Dean's List. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required to make the honor roll, while a 3.5 GPA is the cut-off to make the Dean's List. Named to the Dean's List were: Greg Barratt, Drew Hansen and walk-ons Brett Allen, Doug Gooch and Brandon Sluga. They, along with Trace Caton, Jon Carlisle, Michael Doleac, Alex Jensen, Jordie McTavishand redshirt Adam Sharp, made the honor roll. Eight of the 13 scholarship players made the list. Rick Majerus has seen 68 players make the honor roll in his nine-year stint at Utah.
The Utes are one of the tallest college basketball teams in the country this season. As a team, Utah averages a little over 6-foot- 5 per man. The Ute front line averages just under 6-foot-8. Utah's height is a big reason behind its No. 1 national ranking in rebound margin, which is plus 10.2.
Utah lists just three upperclassmen on its 1997-98 squad: seniors Michael Doleac and Drew Hansen, and junior Andre Miller. Sophomores on the team include David Jackson, Alex Jensen, Jordie McTavish and Hanno Mottola. Five players are freshmen: Nate Althoff, Greg Barratt, Jon Carlisle, Trace Caton and Britton Johnsen.
No opponent all season has hit 50 percent of its field goal attempts against Utah and, in four NCAA Tournament games, Utah's opponents shot just 39 percent from the floor. Oregon State, which Utah defeated in Portland back on Dec 20, had the best success-- hitting 49 percent of its field goal attempts. Utah has held three teams under 30 percent shooting and 14 times its opponent failed to shoot 40 percent. The Utes led the WAC and ranked second in the nation in field goal defense (38%). On the scoreboard, the Utes led the WAC in scoring defense and are fourth in the country, allowing an average of 56.9 ppg. Just two teams (Weber State and New Mexico) rang up more than 70 points against the Utes. Nine teams (Oregon State, Rice, Brigham Young twice, Wyoming, UNLV, San Francisco, Arkansas and West Virginia) scored at least 60 points against the Ute "D".
UTES IN NCAA STATS
In the latest NCAA rankings, which are from before the tournament, Utah ranks high in the following categories: Rebound Margin: 1st. Win- Loss Percentage: 6th. Field Goal Percentage Defense: 2nd. Scoring Defense: 4th. Scoring Margin: 14th. Free Throw Percentage: 21st. Field Goal Percentage: 28th. 3-Point Field Goal Percentage: 30th.
For the 26th time, a Utah basketball team has won 20 wins in a season. Under current coach Rick Majerus, Utah has hit for 20 in seven of his nine seasons, including the last four in a row. Majerus' 20-win seasons at Utah: 1990-91 (30-4), 1991-92 (24-11), 1992-93 (24-7), 1994-95 (28-6), 1995-96 (27-7), 1996-97 (29-4), 1997-98 (29-3).
A '90s' KINDA TEAM
Under the guidance of head coach Rick Majerus, Utah has won the eighth-most games in NCAA Division I during the 1990s. The Utes are 221-70 in the '90s, placing them behind Kansas (263-50), Kentucky (251-54), North Carolina (246-67), Arkansas (237-72), Arizona (234- 60), Duke (234-76), and Massachusetts (223-79). Utah is also eighth best in the nation in winning percentage in this decade (.759). Kansas has the best winning percentage at .840, followed by Kentucky (.822), Arizona (.796), North Carolina (.786), Charleston (.769), Arkansas (.766) and Princeton (.764).
Rick Majerus is 209-58 (.783) in nine years as Utah's head coach. He is 308-110 (.737) in 14 years as a head coach. He has averaged 23 wins per year--amazing in that he coached just six games in his first season at Utah before undergoing heart surgery (he was 4-2 in 1989-90). In eight full seasons at Utah, he has won 20-plus games seven times, missing out only in 1993-94 (14-14). In his last eight years, Majerus has averaged 26 wins per year. He went into the season as the nation's 13th winningest active coach and the 27th winningest coach ever. He has won six WAC Championships--including the past four (this year's being a WAC Mountain Division title). He has taken the Utes to six NCAA Tournaments and has never lost a first-round game. In that time, he has led Utah to the Sweet Sixteen three times, the Elite Eight twice and one Final Four. He also took Ball State to the NCAA Tourney back in 1989. For more on the winningest Utah basketball coach in modern times, see his attached bio.
MAJERUS' MARK AT UTAH 1989-90: 4-2 1990-91: 30-4 1991-92: 24-11 1992-93: 24-7 1993-94: 14-14 1994-95: 28-6 1995-96: 27-7 1996-97: 29-4 1997-98: 29-4 Totals: 209-58
Senior center Michael Doleac (6-11, 265) has been inundated with honors, on and off the court. Doleac, most recently named to the NCAA West Region all-tournament team, was also a repeat first-team all-WAC and all-WAC defensive team pick. His WAC honors came from both the coaches and the media. Doleac, a 3.41 student majoring in biology, was also named to the GTE Academic All-America first team. He leads Utah in scoring and rebounding, averaging 16.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. He is also the team leader in blocks (30). He averaged 21 points (7.5 rebounds) in Utah's four tournament games to date, raising his career point total to 1,488--11th all- time at Utah. He needs just six points to pass Manuel Hendrix (1,493) for 10th place. Doleac is eighth all-time in career rebounds at Utah, with 871. He needs six more to pass Tom Chambers (876, 1978-81) for seventh place. A fine free throw shooter (Doleac has made 79% of his free throw tries in four years), he is fourth all-time at Utah in career free throws made (464) and sixth in free throw attempts (589). He set a personal best for free throws made with 15 against San Francisco (15-17) in the first round of NCAA play. His best effort from the line in terms of percentage was against Stanford in last year's NCAA West Regional semifinal game, when he made 12 of 12. He was 13 of 14 against West Virginia in the second round of this year's NCAA tourney.
Junior point guard Andre Miller (6-2, 200), one of 10 finalists for the USBWA Player of the Year honors, was named MVP of the NCAA Tournament West Regional last weekend in Anaheim, Calif. Miller, a first-team all-WAC and two-time all-WAC Defensive team pick (coaches and media), was sensational in Utah's four-game run to the NCAA Final Four. He averaged 17.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists in those four games, bettering even his impressive season averages of 14.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 5.2 apg. In Utah's upset of Arizona in the West Region final, Miller recorded what is believed to be the first triple-double in school history, with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists--all team highs. In the last four games, he has set new career bests in points (28 vs. Arkansas), rebounds (14 vs. Arizona) and assists (13 vs. Arizona).
Named the WAC's "top defender" by the conference media members, Miller's 70 steals this year is a school record. He has 167 career steals--third all-time at the U. Miller has shined on the offensive end all year, too. Utah's second-leading scorer at 14.1 ppg, he is making a team-best 56 percent of his field goal attempts and is a 75 percent free throw shooter. He has improved dramatically from the line in a year: As a sophomore, he made just 58 percent of his free throws. Miller does much more than shoot and defend. His 523 career assists is fourth all-time at Utah and 13 out of third. His 165 assists this year is the eighth-best single season total at Utah and he will surely move into second against UNC--needing just three to pass Scott Martin (167, 1978-79). Perhaps most amazing is Miller's assist-turnover ratio, which is 165-73 (5.2-2.3) this year. He has three times more assists than turnovers in his career (523-170). In this year's WAC games, he had a 5.4 assist to 1.9 turnover ratio per game and shot 62 percent from the field.
Utah and UNC have met just one common foe this year--Wake Forest. Utah was 1-0, defeating the Demon Deacons 62-53 in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Dec. 6. North Carolina was 2-0 vs. Wake Forest, winning 79-73 in Winston-Salem on Jan. 31 and 72-63 in Chapel Hill on Feb. 24.
TAR HEEL TIPS
34-3 ... 13-3 ACC ... ACC regular season and tournament champion ... finished regular season ranked No. 1 nationally ... probable starters: F-33 Antawn Jamison (6-9, 223, Jr.) 22.4 ppg, 10.5 rpg; F-13 Ademola Okulaia (6-9, 235, Jr.) 8.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg; C-4 Makhtar Ndiaye (6-10, 231, Sr.) 5.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg; G-15 Vince Carter (6-7, 215, Jr.) 15.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg; G-5 Ed Cota (6-1, 185, So.) 8.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 7.2 apg ... 14th trip to Final Four ... tied with UCLA for most appearances ... previous Final Fours and finishes: 1946: 2nd; 1957: 1st; 1967: 4th; 1968: 2nd; 1969: 4th; 1972: 3rd; 1977: 2nd; 1981: 2nd; 1982: 1st; 1991: 3rd (tie); 1993: 1st; 1995: 3rd (tie); 1997: 3rd (tie)3rd ... 32nd NCAA Tournament appearance and 24th straight .. 76-31 all-time NCAA tourney record ... only Kentucky (78) has more NCAA tourney wins ... Head Coach Bill Guthridge (Kansas State, '60) is 34-3 in his first year. His 34 wins is a national record by a first-year head coach. He is The Sporting News National Coach of the Year and ACC Coach of the Year (media choice).
On UNC Coach Bill Guthridge: "I thought Dean Smith was the premier coach in the country and always No. 1, but if he is No. 1, Guthridge is 1-double A. I don't think they have missed a beat. Guthridge was so much a part of Dean Smith's success that the program is poised to carry right on into the next century." On North Carolina: "Carolina has obviously earned and deserved the premier seed in the tournament. They play extraordinarily unselfishly for a team laden with such highly touted and talented players. I love their commitment to defense. They are, in all probability, without peer relative to their athletic capabilities. They are smart and well conditioned. They are Carolina. They have put a stamp on college basketball that is a criteria by which all others are judged. We know we have a tremendous task ahead of us. We are welcoming this challenge and looking forward to playing the game." On Making it to the Final Four: "Going to the Final Four is a tremendous accomplishment. It is the holy grail of the collegiate basketball world. Only a select number of teams are privileged enough to participate at this level. We feel that we represent the University of Utah, the state of Utah, and Utah fans and alumni everywhere, not only on the court, but with the conduct of our players' lives and their commitment to academic excellence. No team in this tournament can come forward with the fact that they have two academic All-Americans, three all-league academic honorees, and a bevy of players on the honor roll. We represent the best of what the term 'student-athlete' stands for. I think that on the court, we will compete to the best of our ability. I am excited for the players to be able to fulfill this dream and am also grateful to them for being able to help me fulfill my dream as a coach of reaching the Final Four, as well." On Utah's Play to this Point: "I think we have done a good job defensively. We have played a little bit tentative at times, but we have gotten better with each game and we are playing our best ball of the season right now. There is no question that we are coming off our finest performance of the year. What we have to caution against is overconfidence. There is certainly no reason on our part to be that way, especially when we are playing the No. 1 seeded team in the tournament. We are really doing a good job of tackling the game and our shot selection has been superb. Our defensive commitment has been outstanding. I like the way the guys are rotating (on defense) and I am especially pleased with their block-out. We are getting good production off of the bench and, if we can continue to play at this high level, I think we are going to be a formidable foe for a great North Carolina team."