It's not junk when it works

Excerpt from article by
By JIM O'CONNELL, AP Basketball Writer
© 1998 Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO (Mar 28, 1998 - 10:49 EST) -- Trash-talking has become part of the basketball vernacular in recent years. Over the last week, junk defenses have created quite a stir.

The man responsible for the latest coaching craze is Utah's Rick Majerus. He employed a triangle-and-2 defense against Arizona last weekend in the West Regional final, a move that brought a 25-point win, the school's first Final Four appearance in 32 years and a lot of attention.

"The triangle-and-2 should get a website it's been so popular," Majerus said Friday. "It was some little junk thing we threw in and they struggled with it and it went well for us."

The Utes (29-3) have to hope there's something valuable in any junk they might use tonight against top-ranked North Carolina (34-3), the only No. 1 seed left in the tournament.

"If we go out and make this five 1-on-1s, and we will play Carolina straight up, we will ...,' Majerus said, finishing the sentence with a slang saying for taking a severe beating.

As solid as Utah's offense has been in this tournament with center Michael Doleac averaging 21 points and guard Andre Miller 17 -- including the first triple-double in school history in the win over Arizona -- North Carolina's has been better and more balanced.

AP player of the year Antawn Jamison has registered a double-double in all four NCAA tournament games, while fellow forward Vince Carter and the backcourt of Shammond Williams and Ed Cota have been the leaders of an offense that has averaged 82 points in four wins by an average margin of 18.

"You get enamored with Jamison, and Carter is such a super player," Majerus said. "Cota is so solid and Williams feeds off Cota. We have to make sure you're aligned and rotating well or we'll get stung."

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