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WHO HAS THE EDGE // Arizona vs. North Carolina

Three-point shooting

The Wildcats have four long-range threats in Mike Bibby (58 of 154), Michael Dickerson (53 of 159), Miles Simon (42 of 101) and Jason Terry (37 of 112). North Carolina shot a slightly better percentage behind Shammond Williams (94 of 219), Vince Carter and Ademola Okulaja. But that trio is rarely on the floor together. Edge: Arizona

Rebounding

The Tar Heels' starting frontline of Serge Zwikker, Antawn Jamison and Okulaja goes 7-foot-3, 6-9 and 6-9. As a team, they have outrebounded their opponents by nearly 10 a game. Arizona relies on a pair of quick forwards, 6-11 A.J. Bramlett and 6-8 Bennett Davison. Edge: North Carolina

Defense

The Heels can't and don't play the pressure man-to-man that has been the trademark in Chapel Hill for three decades, but their softer man and zone has held teams to 40.5 percent shooting and 66.7 points a game. Arizona has allowed teams to shoot 44.1 percent and an average of 73.6 points. Edge: North Carolina

Bench

Terry, a sophomore guard, has started 18 games and is the team's fourth-leading scorer at 10.9 points a game. Sophomore forward Donnell Harris has started 11 times and averages 5.9 points and 5.9 rebounds. UNC freshman point guard Ed Cota averages 8.1 points and 7.0 assists, but he's essentially the lone effective reserve. Edge: Arizona

Coaching

How can you not give Dean Smith the advantage? He just broke Adolph Rupp's record for career wins of 876, has more NCAA Tournament wins than any coach, 65, and this is his 11th Final Four, including the fourth in the '90s. This is Olson's fourth Final Four trip, but he's yet to reach the final game. Edge: North Carolina

Intangibles

The game was a long time ago, Nov. 22 in Springfield, Mass., to be exact, but the Wildcats stunned North Carolina 83-72. UNC is far better now, but the Wildcats have improved, too. And Simon, ineligible for the firs 11 games, is back. Edge: Arizona

_ BRIAN LANDMAN

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