A Look Ahead To The Final Four

March 25, 2001

Michigan State, the defending champion, and Arizona won Sunday to reach theFinal Four along with Duke and Maryland, Atlantic Coast Conference rivals whowill meet for the fourth time this season.

Michigan State (28-4) will play Arizona (27-7) in the opening semifinalSaturday at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, followed by Duke(33-4) against Maryland (25-10). The championship game is Monday night.

Michigan State became just the third school since 1985 - and ninth ever - toreach the national semifinals three years in a row.

'To be in three straight Final Fours says something about consistency,'coach Tom Izzo said after the Spartans held off Temple 69-62 to win the NCAASouth Regional. 'Is our program looked at the same way as Kentucky and Dukeand North Carolina? Maybe not. But we're trying to get there.'

Michigan State is trying to become the first school to win consecutive NCAAtitles since Duke in 1991-92.

Arizona, the 1997 national champion, beat Illinois 87-81 in the MidwestRegional final.

While Duke is in its 13th Final Four, Maryland heads to its first.

Duke beat Southern California 79-69 Saturday in the East Regional final.Maryland upset Stanford 87-73 in the West.

The teams squared off twice in the regular season and again in the ACCconference tournament. Duke won twice, each time by two points, and Marylandwon the middle game by 11.

In the first meeting, at Maryland on Jan. 27, the Terrapins blew a 10-pointlead in the last minute of regulation and lost in overtime.

By The Associated Press

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