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Updated: Saturday, March 29, 2003 10:36 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL PREVIEW
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No. 2 Kansas (28-7) vs No. 1 Arizona (28-3)
KANSAS JAYHAWKS
Kansas Jayhawks
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ARIZONA WILDCATS
Arizona Wildcats
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ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- A rematch of a thrilling regular-season contest will determine a berth in the Final Four on Saturday night when top-seeded Arizona and No. 2 Kansas square off in the West Region final.

Arizona (28-3) roared back from a 20-point deficit for an astounding 91-74 victory at Kansas on January 25. Salim Stoudamire scored 20 of his career-high 32 points in the second half to lead the comeback for the Wildcats.

Jason Gardner scored 23 points and Rick Anderson added 15 for Arizona, which limited Kansas to 29 percent (9-of-31) shooting in the second half. The Jayhawks shot 65 percent (22-of-34) in the first half, but failed to keep up the pace over the final 20 minutes.

Keith Langford scored 22 of his 27 points in the first half for Kansas, which had a 25-game home winning streak snapped. Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich each scored 15 points for the Jayhawks.

The first meeting also brought some negative publicity to Arizona, since several of its players reportedly stole candy from a hotel vending machine on the road trip. The results of a school investigation were not disclosed.

Kansas (28-7), which reached the Final Four last year, has won five of seven meetings with Arizona and the teams have split a pair of NCAA Tournament matchups. The Jayhawks posted an 83-80 victory in the 1996 regional semifinals and the teams met in the same round the next season with the Wildcats posting an 85-82 triumph en route to the national title.

Arizona is seeking its fifth Final Four appearance after an 88-71 victory over Notre Dame on Thursday. Gardner scored 19 points and Luke Walton added 16 for the Wildcats, who built a 53-40 advantage at halftime and never looked back.

The Wildcats used a tremendous defensive effort as they forced 19 turnovers and limited the Fighting Irish to 33 percent shooting in the second half.

Arizona coach Lute Olson is tied with Bob Knight and Denny Crum for fourth place on the all-time NCAA Tournament wins list with 42.

Collison had a huge game with a career-high 33 points and 19 rebounds as Kansas posted a 69-65 victory over Duke on Thursday. Langford came up with 13 points and eight rebounds.

The Jayhawks may be in trouble if Hinrich duplicates his 1-of-9 shooting from Thursday. Hinrich landed hard on his wrist in the first half and it appeared to affect his shooting.

The game pits two of the top three scoring teams in the country. Arizona leads the country with an 85.5 scoring average and Kansas is third at 82.6 points per game.

The winner will face the Midwest Region champion, Kentucky or Marquette, next Saturday in New Orleans.


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