Kentucky Coach Adolph Rupp, his pride bruised by an early loss to Florida State, was beaming again after his unpredictable Wildcats used their foul-shooting Skill (28 for 34) to upset North Carolina 70-65. But it wasn't easy, even after Ned Jennings' rebounding and shooting put Kentucky out in front by five points midway in the second half. The Tar Heels surged back on the sharpshooting of Doug Moe and York Larese but they couldn't quite overcome the Wildcats' superiority from the foul line. While North Carolina faltered, things were popping in the rest of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Wake Forest, with big (6 foot 8, 240 pounds) Len Chappell over his early-season aches and throwing his weight around underneath the backboards, surprised North Carolina State 68-67 as hustling little Billy Packer calmly dropped in six free throws in the last 2½ minutes. Then, after surviving a scare by Virginia to win 88-82, the Deacons caught unbeaten Maryland with its famed defenses down and whipped the Terps 72-60 to take first place. Duke, displaying remarkable versatility, outran South Carolina 107-79 and brushed aside Clemson's zone for a 75-58 triumph.
Undefeated Louisville, beginning to look like a colossus in talent as well as in front-line size, had the time of its life in the Bluegrass Tournament. Combining unaccustomed defense with a superb running game, the Cardinals restrained Georgia Tech's Roger Kaiser, took their cue from John Turner's deadly outside shooting and beat the Jackets 74-65. Next night Western Kentucky (an 86-72 winner over Utah State) tried to slow down Louisville but again Turner pulled the Cardinals through, this time with 25 points, to an 86-71 victory. However, Coach Peck Hickman, even after his team whipped Georgetown (Ky.) 90-63 for its eighth straight, was wary: "We've got a lot of teams waiting to ambush us."
Even as Auburn's SEC champions bustled past Virginia Tech 76-73 and Alabama 74-62 in the Birmingham Classic (see page 30), contender Georgia Tech dropped three in a row, to Louisville, Utah State 67-62 and North Carolina State 82-76. But Auburn may not lack for competition. Vanderbilt beat Alabama 77-61 and Rice 70-44, and could be the team to challenge the Tigers.
This section has seldom looked better. St. John's, St. Bonaventure, Providence and Seton Hall were unbeaten, while Villa-nova and NYU were beginning to look like the teams they were supposed to be.
St. John's took a while to get going, finally overwhelmed Ohio U. 78-50 as Tony Jackson scored 27 points. St. Bonaventure, after beating Xavier 85-75 at Cincinnati, tore apart Morehead State's zone with 41 points by graceful Tom Stith and trounced the Kentuckians 106-88. Providence, finding it tougher to win, squeezed by Santa Clara 65-59 and San Francisco 54-47 in the West, then managed to hold off Canisius 53-50. Boston College, its bubble burst by Brown 76-70, was no match for Seton Hall swifties Art Hicks and Hank Gunter and lost to the Setonians 105-87. Villanova, with Hubie White pumping in a total of 85 points, ran over Princeton 75-46, Fordham 92-54 and Niagara 83-74. NYU was more tenacious against Holy Cross. Sophomore Tom Boose held the Crusaders' Jack Foley to five field goals, scored 25 points himself and the Violets won 79-65.
But the week's biggest victory was scored by slick Temple. While playmaker Bruce Drysdale baffled Kentucky with one-handed sets, jumpers and infiltrating drives for 25 points, the small but exceptionally deft Owls effectively jammed up the Wildcat attack with a sliding man-to-man and beat them 66-58.
Cincinnati's reign in the Missouri Valley was just about ended. St. Louis, the first conference team to get at the Bearcats, allowed them only 32 shots, frustrated them with ball control and finally beat them 57-40, for the first time in four years. And unbeaten Bradley, still waiting for its chance, ran away from Northern Michigan 105-77, Nevada 95-59 and Wisconsin 88-66 on the hot shooting of Chet Walker and sophomore Tim Robinson.
Kansas State turned loose Larry Comley (who scored 33 points) on a fast break to beat North Carolina 77-69 in overtime. Michigan State was easier for K-State, succumbing 104-82. However, Kansas was not quite so fortunate. Wayne High-tower's 25 points led the Jayhawks past Michigan State 93-69, but North Carolina beat them 78-70.
Ohio State got another good game from Jerry Lucas (27 points, 21 rebounds) and defeated Wichita 93-82. But things were looking up for Big Ten challengers. Purdue, behind Terry Dischinger's rebounding and scoring, handed Detroit its first loss, 83-64, and beat Washington State 74-46. Six-foot-11 Walt Bellamy helped Indiana set down Missouri 66-55 and Nevada 80-52.
Oklahoma City's Chiefs, independent operators who had been striking it rich in Texas the last couple of weeks, hit a dry well in Houston and lost to the Cougars 78-65. Earlier OC had beaten Baylor 68-54 and Texas A&M 60-58.
While other SWC teams were still getting slapped around by outsiders, SMU installed a single post, used Jim Thompson's outside sniping for 20 points to break down Oklahoma's swinging and sinking defense and shocked the Sooners 67-61. Thus inspired, the Mustangs rode Steve Strange's 25 points to an 83-67 win over Tulane.
There were still some soundings to come from up north, where California's defense barely carried the Bears past San Francisco 53-49, but Notre Dame Coach Johnny Jordan was ready to call UCLA the best in the West after the Bruins manhandled the Irish 85-54 and Butler 73-61. "The best team we've played," said Jordan. "They just ran away from us." But USC wasn't far behind. With 6-foot-6 John Rudometkin covering the boards and popping in rebounds, the Trojans did almost as well against the same teams, beating Butler 66-56 and Notre Dame 93-63.