Coaches swear it is their approach, and are always advising their players to insist it's true: They never look ahead.

Yeah, right.

Before their Class 4A state semifinal games had even been over for 30 minutes Thursday night at Target Center, both Brian Cosgriff and Chris Carr let the cat out of the bag.

"March 19 at 8 o'clock has been our goal since Day 1," Cosgriff, Hopkins' head coach, said, referring to the state title game. "We're there, and now we want to do well."

Carr, the first-year coach at Eden Prairie, expressed similar feelings.

"You know, I love Coach Cos to death. But come 8 o'clock Saturday we're enemies," he said. "I've been telling him all year long, 'This is going to be Ali-Frazier IV.' And you know what? We're coming to the gym with every intention that we're going to be on top."

Indeed, the 4A championship will be the fourth meeting of the season between the top two seeds. The teams split games during the Lake Conference season, and met in the championship game of the Dick's Sporting Goods Classic on Dec. 30. Hopkins won that matchup by six points.

"We definitely aren't satisfied," Eden Prairie junior guard Shayne Mullaney said. "We're rivals, and we want to get at them. We owe them one."

Another rematch

Hill-Murray turned some heads in last year's state tournament by beating No. 1-seeded DeLaSalle in the Class 3A semifinals This year, though, there are no surprises -- and both teams have the biggest of expectations -- and unfinished business.

No. 3-seeded DeLaSalle, of course, is hoping for payback from a season ago. The No. 1 Pioneers, meanwhile, are trying to cap an undefeated season. At 30-0, their run includes a victory over Eden Prairie. The last time they tasted defeat was last year's state title game against Benilde-St. Margaret's.