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Updated: Saturday, March 29, 2003 10:29 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL PREVIEW
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No. 3 Marquette (26-5) vs No. 1 Kentucky (32-3)
MARQUETTE GOLDEN EAGLES
Marquette Golden Eagles
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KENTUCKY WILDCATS
Kentucky Wildcats
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MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Top-seeded Kentucky hopes that star guard Keith Bogans will be available on Saturday in the Midwest Region final when it faces No. 3 Marquette at the Metrodome.

Bogans suffered a high left ankle sprain late in the first half of Thursday's 63-57 victory over Wisconsin, the 26th straight for Kentucky. Bogans, a senior, has been resting the ankle and indicated that he would not know how much he can contribute until he gets out on the court and runs around on Saturday.

Without Bogans, Kentucky (32-3) continued its winning ways due to Marquis Estill, who scored a career-high 28 points. Estill made 12-of-18 shots to lead the Wildcats' dominance inside.

Kentucky's defense forced 15 turnovers and allowed the Badgers to shoot 42 percent, the first time an opponent has shot over 40 percent in six games.

If Bogans is unable to play, junior and fellow Virginia native Cliff Hawkins will take his place in the lineup. Hawkins, who averages 6.3 points and 3.9 assists, is normally used as a sparkplug off the bench.

Kentucky is appearing in a regional final for the eighth time in 12 years and first since a loss in 1999 to eventual national champion Michigan State. It is seeking a 14th appearance in the Final Four and can match the 27-game winning streak of the 1995-96 team.

This is the fifth time Kentucky has played in the Midwest Region and it is 13-3, including a 6-0 mark en route to the 1996 championship. The Wildcats are 31-6 all time in domed stadiums.

Marquette (26-5) is making its deepest run in the NCAA Tournament since Al McGuire coached the 1977 team to the national title. The Golden Eagles got a terrific second-half performance by Dwyane Wade in Thursday's 77-74 victory over Pittsburgh.

Wade poured in 20 of his 22 points after halftime as Marquette led by as many as 11 points before holding off a late rally. Conference USA's Player of the Year, Wade scored on an array of jumpers, dunks and drives that displayed his amazing athleticism.

The Golden Eagles also got a bruising performance from their frontcourt tandem of Robert Jackson and Scott Merritt, who will be counted on to match up with Estill and Chuck Hayes. Jackson and Merritt combined for 33 points on 10-of-14 shooting.

This is the ninth time that the teams have met in the NCAA Tournament, the most either team has faced an opponent. Only two of the meetings came after 1975 and Marquette posted a 75-63 victory in the second round in 1994 in the last matchup.

Kentucky leads the overall series, 7-5.

The winner will meet the winner of the West Region, Arizona or Kansas, in New Orleans next Saturday.


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