While most of the nation's major-college teams were putting their uniforms away for another year, a select and successful few were getting ready for the glamorous postseason tournaments.

The NCAA added three more conference winners: the Big Eight's Colorado (18-6), Southwest's Texas Tech (18-6) and the Mid-Atlantic's St. Joseph's (18-8). Only the winner of Monday night's Missouri Valley playoff between Cincinnati and Bradley was needed to complete the national championship pairings as first-round action began at Philadelphia, Lexington, Ky., Dallas and Corvallis, Ore.

The NIT, which has one of its finest fields in years, was ready to open Thursday night in New York's Madison Square Garden. Mid-Atlantic runner-up Temple (17-8) was in, and the last spot was being held for the Cincinnati-Bradley loser. That team, plus St. John's (19-4), Loyola of Chicago (21-3) and Houston (21-5) were seeded, but these four favorites were going to face some stiff competition from the first-round survivors. The pairings: March 15, Wichita (18-8) vs. Dayton (20-6) and defending champion Providence (20-5) vs. Temple; March 17, Holy Cross (19-5) vs. Colorado State U. (18-8) and Duquesne (20-5) vs. Navy (13-7).

The small colleges were already holding their own eliminations. Defending champion Wittenberg, Mount St. Mary's, Nebraska Wesleyan, Northeastern, Southeast Missouri, Valparaiso, Southern Illinois and Sacramento State survived regional playoffs and moved on to Evansville, Ind. to fight it out for the NCAA college-division title. Meanwhile, the NAIA's 32 district champions gathered in Kansas City, where a full week of play was leading up to the finals on Saturday.


All season long St. John's Joe Lapchick had made it clear that he wanted to beat old rival NYU more than anything else in the world. "If I lose to NYU, I'm sick," he had said. Well, Lapchick may have felt a bit queasy when the two teams met last Saturday night before 6,228 in St. John's new Alumni Hall, but he was far from sick—not even when the Violets surrounded his 6-foot-10 LeRoy Ellis with a collapsing defense and held him to six points. Lapchick rather expected that to happen. But he has been around long enough to know that the best-planned strategy can't beat putting the ball in the basket. He simply had his Redmen, attacking deliberately and carefully, get the ball to Kevin Loughery, who shot over the Violets from the side for 23 points, and to elusive Willie Hall, who faked NYU's Barry Kramer out of his sneakers and scored 21 more. An aggressive man-to-man defense kept NYU from fast-breaking and St. John's won the big one 70-58. While NYU Coach Lou Rossini sadly contemplated his young team's failure, Lapchick was more impressed with St. John's disciplined defense. "We played it the way it should be played," said the old Celtic.

St. Joseph's made it to the NCAA but, for a while, the Hawks seemed headed for oblivion, especially when they trailed Lafayette by 16 points with 13 minutes to go. However, the Leopards folded before St. Joe's harassing full-court press and the Hawks won 78-68 to tie Temple for the Mid-Atlantic title. Three nights later St. Joe's dawdled behind the Owls in the playoff in Philadelphia's Palestra. This time, 6-foot-4 sophomore Jim Boyle, who had been operated on for appendicitis only 19 days earlier, bailed them out. He put in seven points in the last four minutes and the Hawks won 75-65.

Villanova tuned up for the NCAA by beating LaSalle 75-67; Holy Cross whipped Fordham 98-73 as Jack Foley, the nation's second best scorer (33.2 average), gunned in 38 points; Seton Hall's Nick Werkman scored 35 (for a 33-point average) in an 81-64 victory over Iona. And there was even one last thrill for Syracuse's Coach Mark Guley, who has been replaced by Mississippi Southern's Fred Lewis. After 27 straight losses, Guley's Orangemen beat Connecticut 72-67 for their second win in a row. The top three:

1. ST. JOHN'S (19-4)
2. NYU (18-4)
3. VILLANOVA (19-6)


When the season began, all Kentucky's crusty old Adolph Rupp had was a promising young sophomore named Cotton Nash and a bunch of retreads who hardly figured to make the SEC sit up and take notice. Last week The Baron was gaily chuckling up his sleeve. Nash had scored like no one since Cliff Hagan, and Rupp's discipline had transformed the retreads into proficient ballplayers. The Wildcats, already in the NCAA tournament because of Mississippi State's aversion to consorting with non-whites, polished off Tulane 97-72 and Tennessee 90-59 to share first place in the SEC with Mississippi State.

Louisville, which ran hot and cold all year but never lost its hometown fans (103,073 for 15 games), rewarded their loyalty by beating Ohio Valley champion Western Kentucky. Six-foot-7 Bud Olsen scored 26 points, and the Hilltoppers fell 88-71. Eastern Kentucky surprised Morehead 68-66 to finish in a three-way tie (with Morehead and Tennessee Tech) for second in the Ohio Valley. The top three:

2. KENTUCKY (22-2)
3. WAKE FOREST (18-8)


Back to its awesome offense and meticulous defense went Ohio State after last week's temporary lapse. It took Jerry Lucas and his friends just about 10 minutes to solve Indiana's zone defense and then they destroyed it. Big Luke put in seven of his nine shots from the field, added six fouls for 20 points and swarmed all over the boards to pick off 30 rebounds. Mel Nowell drove relentlessly past the disorganized Hoosiers for 22 points, and the Buckeyes won 90-65.

The rest of the Big Ten merely played out the string. Wisconsin, apparently still reflecting on the glory of its Ohio State upset, lost to Iowa 81-64. Terry Dischinger's last college field goal, as so many before it, earned Purdue a 77-75 win over Michigan.

After Oklahoma State upset Kansas State 78-68 with truly phenomenal shooting (71.9%) at Stillwater, all Colorado had to do to win the Big Eight championship was beat last-place Kansas. But it wasn't easy. The aroused Jayhawks jammed up the Colorado frontliners with a stifling zone defense, backcourters Jerry Gardner and Nolen Ellison flipped shot after shot over the bigger Buffs, and Kansas led 58-48 with five minutes left. Only then did Colorado begin to move. The Buffs ran off 15 points, including three by Wilky Gilmore, which put Colorado ahead 60-59, while the Jayhawks scored only one, and Kansas succumbed 63-59.

Duquesne, in one last fling before the NIT, proved that Bradley isn't invincible at Peoria. Little Willie Somerset hounded the Braves with his jumpers, then dropped in two foul shots in the final minute to win for the Dukes 73-72. Dayton's final warmup resulted in a 77-61 victory over DePaul, but Loyola's 11-game winning streak was snapped by Xavier, which upset the Ramblers 96-89. The top three:

1. OHIO STATE (23-1)
2. CINCINNATI (24-2)


While scandal rumors persisted in the Southwest Conference {sec page 10), the league race went right down to the wire. For a while both Texas Tech and SMU handled their chances for a tie like a hot potato. Tech barely made it past Rice 60-58 while the Mustangs had a harrowing time before disposing of Arkansas 84-81. Then came the playoff for a place in the NCAA tournament. While the largest crowd ever to see a basketball game in Fort Worth—7,350—cheered effusively in the new Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, SMU's hot hand cooled off. Big Jan Loudermilk kept the Mustangs in the game until Tech Coach Gene Gibson switched to a zone defense late in the first half. SMU couldn't hit from the outside, but Tech's Roger Hennig, Mac Percival, Del Ray Mounts and Harold Hudgens hit from all over and the Raiders won 71-67. The top three:

2. HOUSTON (21-5)
3. TEXAS TECH (18-6)


USC's decline in the Big Five was complete. The Trojans, who fell apart inexplicably like a dollar watch, lost to last-place California 61-60 when Dick Smith popped in a jumper with five seconds to go. Then they blew another one (and second place) to Stanford with seven seconds left. The up-and-coming Indians, who also whipped UCLA's champions 82-67 a night earlier, beat USC 68-66 on Darrell Sutherland's two foul shots.

Oregon State, playing tough defense as it prepped for Monday's NCAA test with Seattle, defeated Oregon twice, 60-56 and 65-48. In the WCAC, Santa Clara beat St. Mary's 77-70 and San Jose State 61-46 to tie the Gaels for second place for the third time in three years. The top three:

1. UTAH (23-3)
2. UCLA (16-9)
3. OREGON STATE (22-4)

PHOTODEL RAY MOUNTS, little Texas Tech playmaker, drives past SMU's Frank Bumstead as Raiders win playoff at Fort Worth for NCAA tournament berth.