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ARIZONA'S TITLE DEFENSE FELLED BY POOR SHOOTING

Michael Dickerson said he felt like he was having a dream. It was a real bad one.

"I hope to wake up tomorrow morning ready for practice," Dickerson said with a resigned look after Arizona lost, 76-51, to Utah in the West Regional final.

There won't be any more practices at Arizona for Dickerson, or Miles Simon and Bennett Davison, three senior starters who completed their collegiate careers in a most unpleasant way Saturday.

Sophomore point guard Mike Bibby might leave, too, perhaps opting for the NBA, where he's expected to be a lottery pick if that's the direction he takes.

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.

"They've got a championship ring, they've represented our program with absolute class," Arizona coach Lute Olson said. "Would I be more proud of them had they won? Absolutely not."

It was a surprising domination of the top-seeded team in the West. A three-point shot by Jason Terry gave Arizona an early 8-7 lead. Utah scored the game's next 10 points and led the rest of the way.

There was not a moment of suspense in the second half.

"It's just a case of Utah playing us better than anybody has played against us all year, by miles," Olson said.

Dickerson, a combined 2 of 18 in Arizona's two Final Four victories last March, was off again, making just 2 of 12 shots. Three of his first five were airballs.

"I was getting great looks, the shots weren't falling for me or other members of the team, and I guess that means the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away," said Dickerson, a 52.3 percent shooter in his team's previous 34 games.

"We had great confidence coming into the game, maybe too much. I felt we would come back and win until there was three minutes left in the game with a typical Arizona run. I didn't think we could lose by that many points, even to an NBA team."

Dickerson wasn't the only Arizona player who couldn't shoot straight. Bibby and Simon -- first-team All-Americans -- were 3 of 15 and 1 of 9, respectively.

Simon said Friday he thought the only way the Wildcats could lose was if their three star perimeter players all had bad shooting days. They did, going a combined 6 of 36 and totaling 19 points.

Bibby, considered the nation's finest point guard, had just seven points and one assist. He was 0 of 7 from three-point range.

"Utah had much more intensity," Bibby said quietly. "They took us out of our game and just whipped us in every facet. We were prepared for their game plan but couldn't stop them."

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