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Monday March 19, 2001

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Lute's Desert Swarm

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Despite the team's offensive weapons, UA using defense to waltz through Big Dance

Not that Lute Olson has ever really needed to steal something out of the Arizona football team's playbook, but the UA basketball coach has his team running an impeccable version of the "Desert Swarm" defense.

In the team's ascent up the polls since its low point in January, the mastermind behind Arizona's success for more than 15 years has stressed the importance of stopping opponents even before they begin to think about creating shots of their own.

Hawking defensive strategies to his high-flying dunkers and quick-footed slashers isn't an easy sell, but like any good salesman, Olson had a hook.

"I think they're finding out that it's fun to defend," Olson said. "I think our guys are getting as much enjoyment out of shutting people down as they are scoring at the other end. They are finding out that it is fun to affect the game on both ends of the court."

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