It doesn't make much sense to sit here and agonize over what could have been, because Utah beat the Wildcats with such force, 76-51, that you can't find any way to twist it into a scenario in which Arizona might have won . . . This was a clinic. Utah taught. Arizona paid . . . Who would have thought Utah, a WAC team, bless its soul, had the plan and the execution that Kentucky and North Carolina and UCLA didn't? Who would have thought (Miles) Simon's last game would have been his worst game? At each clock stoppage in the second half, Simon would tilt his head back and look at the giant scoreboard hanging above. He would see reality. Time was slipping away, but Utah's lead was getting bigger, not smaller.
- Greg Hansen, Arizona Daily Star
EVERYTHING ABOUT the West Regional winner is atypical of college basketball, from the jolly, media-friendly coach and son (who still managed to call his mother in Milwaukee before meeting the press), to the center-dominated, deliberate style, to the academic self-respect of the players, to the non-dunking, non-city roster (it is surely the first Final Four team to have players from Salmon Arm, British Columbia; Helsinki, Finland; and Tooele, Utah) . . . On this day, Miller was Magic Johnson, with triple-double numbers -18 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists . . . Utah has no high fliers. No flashy dribblers. No preoccupied posers. Arizona's players seemed more interested in making sure their uniforms were hanging with just the right amount of funk as they did in taking good shots.
- Bernie Lincicome, Chicago Tribune
ADD THIS TO the file of great NCAA upsets. The Utes reached the Final Four the year after the best player in their history, Keith Van Horn, went to the NBA. The players left behind were a bunch of academic all-Americans previously unknown to anyone east of the Rockies. What the hoops world now knows is that Utah has built a 29-3 record on suffocating defense, superb tactics and precision execution.
- Mike Jensen, Knight Ridder Newspapers
THE WILDCATS HOPED to win a second consecutive NCAA championship and expected to win again. They were brimming with confidence, some said arrogance. That was before they suffered the most one-sided postseason defeat in school history, bringing instant humility . . .
- John Nadel, AP sports writer
DEFENDING NCAA CHAMPION Arizona, stymied by a combination of Utah's stifling defense and its own horrendous shooting, was stunned 76-51 by the third-seeded Utes in Saturday's West Regional championship. The Utes, rarely mentioned on the same level as the nation's basketball powers, handed the Wildcats their worst postseason loss ever.
- Beth Harris, AP sports writer
THERE IS A FINE, yet significant, line that separates a Ute from a Lute in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Lute has an "L," and one of epic proportions, attached to his name. And the Utah Utes are headed to the Final Four for the first time since 1966, breaking a 32-year drought by teams from the Western Athletic Conference. Utah punched its ticket to San Antonio on Saturday by punching out coach Lute Olson's defending champions from Arizona, 76-51, in the finals of the NCAA Tournament.
- Jimmy Burch, Knight Ridder Newspapers
PRESSURE PRODUCES STEEL; desperation produces brilliance. Man-to-man wouldn't beat Arizona. Neither would zone. So Rick Majerus installed the 66, a triangle-and-two formation after made baskets. A man-and-a-half would guard Simon; a man-and-a-half would guard Bibby. Dickerson, whose shot has suffered in the past two NCAA Tournaments, would be allowed to skirt the three-man zone but not penetrate it . . . Michael Doleac is a throwback center with great hands. When the Utes went up, 60-41, he turned to the Utah broadcasters and grinned. "Wipeout," he mouthed. It certainly was. No No. 1 seed has lost by a greater margin since the '92 UCLA Bruins, who also considered themselves bulletproof.
- Mark Whicker, Orange County Register
IT WAS THE way (the Utes) executed the defense, though, that won the game, that took Arizona's perimeter speed and reduced it to a quivering mass of bad passes and poorly chosen and poorly executed shots.
- Gary Reinmuth - Chicago Tribune