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COLLEGE BASKETBALL FINAL FOUR NOTES : KENTUCKY : Pitino Says He Expected Closer Games

Kentucky (30-3) has won its four NCAA tournament games by an average of 31 points, which has astounded Coach Rick Pitino.

Or so he claims.

“The only game I thought we really had an edge over the opponent in talent was Rider,” Pitino said. “The last three, Utah, Wake Forest and Florida State, I thought they’d be down-to-the-buzzer games that we’d have to win with a last-second shot.”

The Wildcats’ closest game was a 21-point victory over Utah, 83-62, during the second round at Orlando. Florida State led during the first half, 28-27, in last Saturday’s Southeast Regional final in Charlotte, N.C., but lost, 106-81.

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Pat Kennedy, Florida State’s coach, says Michigan should concentrate on stopping Kentucky point guard Travis Ford. Ford, a 5-foot-9 junior transfer from Missouri, has made 32 of his past 51 three-point shots.

“Anyone who has seen Travis in our shooting drills in practice knows he could win some of those NBA contests,” Pitino said.

The Wildcats shoot sets of 10 three-pointers from nine positions. Players said Ford usually makes from eight to 10.

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