1. PROVIDENCE (15-2)
2. ST. JOSEPH'S (15-4)
3. ST. JOHN'S (12-4)
Playmaker Matty Guokas was over his ills, and everything was just wonderful again for ST. JOSEPH'S. But Coach Jack Ramsay suffered some anxious moments when Boston College, with big Willie Wolters snapping up rebounds and John Austin lofting in soft jumpers from the corners, led his Hawks 21-14 midway in the first half. However, Wolters got into foul trouble and played only 22 seconds in the second half, and St. Joe's began to press hard, forcing the Eagles into errors. The Hawks also dropped back into a 1-3 zone with a chaser—Billy Oakes—on Austin. Austin still got 34 points, and sophomore Steve Adelman gunned in 30 but, with Wolters out, St. Joe's controlled the boards. Guokas moved to a high post and fed Cliff Anderson underneath. Anderson sneaked around the Eagle defenders for 25 points, Guokas got 23 and St. Joseph's won 107-89. Temple was even easier for the Hawks. They threw their full-court press at the Owls and had a 10-2 lead before Temple even took a shot from the floor. Anderson scored 24 points and grabbed 23 rebounds, Guokas hit for 23 again and fed for 16 more, and St. Joe's had its 15th win, 105-74.
Providence beat Canisius easily enough 84-71, but Coach Joe Mullaney was worried. He had to play St. Francis in Altoona, Pa. and Duquesne in Pittsburgh over the Weekend. "They're just the kind that can dump you, especially on the road," said Mullaney. Sure enough, it almost happened in Altoona. St. Francis' John McKendry held Jimmy Walker to four points and the Friars barely won 50-48. It did happen in Pittsburgh. Providence led DUQUESNE by 10 points at the half. Then Walker, Mike Riordan and Jim Benedict fouled out. The Dukes pulled into a 68-68 tie and upset the Friars in overtime 78-76.
The tournament push was on. ST. JOHN'S thrashed Niagara 85-69, while ST. BONA-VENTURE surprised DePaul 73-69, SYRACUSE beat Canisius 90-79, GEORGETOWN rolled over George Washington 103-74 and NYU 104-73, and MANHATTAN defeated Rutgers 85-78, Iona 77-59 and Seton Hall 88-76. FAIRFIELD'S streak finally ended. The Stags took Niagara 83-65 for their 13th straight but then got a bad case of the jitters in the Palestra. They shot poorly in the first half, fell 13 points behind and lost to VILLANOVA 61-55. It was a mighty strange game at West Point. At the end of the half, Penn State had only two field goals, and ARMY led 24-7. In the second half the Cadets took only 10 shots, made eight and won 59-39.
The Ivy League, thanks to HARVARD, was back in a three-way tie for first. The Crimson, led by Keith Sedlacek's 29 points, upset Princeton 68-61, but the Tigers came back to beat Dartmouth 68-58. Tough COLUMBIA thumped Yale 102-90 and Brown 79-56, while PENN took Dartmouth 76-61 and Harvard 72-64 to tie Princeton for the lead.
1. KENTUCKY (17-0)
2. DUKE (15-1)
3. VANDERBILT (16-3)
The big showdown in the SEC turned out to be a big letdown. Unbeaten KENTUCKY, its quick little men rebounding like giants, simply buried defending champion Vanderbilt 105-90 in Nashville, where Vandy had won 26 in a row. Vanderbilt tried everything against the precise Wildcats—a zone defense, man-to-man, full-court and half-court presses—all to no avail. Kentucky's players just ran when they wanted to, set up flawless patterns when it suited them and shot like demons. Six-foot-3 Pat Riley popped in jumpers from the corners for 28 points, and little Louie Dampier, who Adolph Rupp calls "the best shooter I've ever seen in college basketball," fired in 42 points on long jumpers, drives and fast breaks. The Wildcats were so good that 9,222 Vanderbilt partisans gave Rupp a standing ovation at the end of the game. Is this Rupp's best team ever? Well, the Baron was not quite ready to say that but, he conceded, "it's as quick a team as I've had." Vandy's Roy Skinner was less restrained. "This is the finest team I've seen in my time at Vanderbilt," he said. "I believe it can go all the way to the national championship."
For all practical purposes, the SEC race was over. No one looked strong enough to challenge Kentucky. Georgia tried to hold the ball against the Wildcats, and all it got for its troubles was a 74-50 pasting. Florida, a preseason contender, slipped badly, losing to MISSISSIPPI STATE 76-68 and TENNESSEE 76-47. Florida's demise left surprising Mississippi State, which also beat Louisiana State 66-61, in third place with a 6-2 record.
While Duke rested, its ACC neighbors jockeyed unconvincingly for position in the standings. First CLEMSON edged Wake Forest 71-70 to take second behind the Blue Devils. But NORTH CAROLINA STATE hit Clemson with an irritating press, and the Tigers went down 76-58.
West Virginia's Bucky Waters is the first to admit that there is no place like home. His young Mountaineers overtook St. John's 73-72 at Morgantown on Bill Ryczaj's foul shot with four seconds to go, then they got even with Davidson at nearby Charleston. Despite 30 points by Davidson's talented Dick Snyder, the Mountaineers won 74-65 as sophomore Ron Williams scored 24. West Virginia was just as tough away from home, too. It clobbered George Washington 90-79. Virginia Tech had a discouraging week. The Gobblers were upset by RICHMOND 82-81, and VIRGINIA 79-65.
1. KANSAS (15-3)
2. LOYOLA OF CHICAGO (16-1)
3. MICHIGAN (12-5)
They don't call the Missouri Valley the Valley of Death for nothing. Last week most visiting teams were trapped in bloody ambush. At various times Tulsa, Drake and Wichita State were in first place, and then they went on the road. Tulsa got it first, from DRAKE 60-55 in Des Moines. Then it was Drake's turn. Playing without academic-casualty Bob Netolicky, the Bulldogs were caught up in WICHITA STATE'S tough man-to-man press and fast break and lost 96-91. Two nights later ST. LOUIS' Gene Moore, a 6-foot-7 supersophomore, scored 20 points, picked off 22 rebounds, blocked eight shots and down went Wichita 101-78. Cincinnati died in Peoria, losing to BRADLEY 67-56. Cincy had better luck against Louisville back home. John Howard's jumper with three seconds to go beat the Cards 56-54. Drake finally broke the spell, beating North Texas 67-55 at Denton.
So, at week's end, Bradley, Cincinnati and Drake were tied for the lead, and the ultimate MVC winner was anybody's guess. The way Drake's Maurice John sees it, "You have to figure that whoever is ahead and playing at home on the final night will win." That could be St. Louis or Tulsa. Both finish at home on March 5.
"We're always the heavy," muttered Michigan's Dave Strack last week. "We're the one they're always up to beat." ILLINOIS was up, all right, and stunned the Wolves 99-93 at Ann Arbor, as squirmy Don Freeman and sophomore Rich Jones shot in 64 points. That put the Illini into top contention, along with Michigan and MICHIGAN STATE, an easy 79-65 winner over Wisconsin. Each has only one loss. It also started Illinois' Harry Combes counting his winnings, perhaps prematurely. "We're in," he predicted, "if we can win at home."
Combes must have had some second thoughts later in the week. Ohio State led the Illini by 11 points early in the second half at Champaign, and Combes's face was as red as his socks. Illinois finally squeezed through 78-77. MICHIGAN, meanwhile, came back to beat Indiana 93-76.
Nebraska, the Big Eight leader, barely made it past Oklahoma State 45-41 in overtime, while KANSAS beat Missouri 77-54 and KANSAS STATE took Oklahoma 84-73. Miami of Ohio fell for the first time in the Mid-American, losing to BOWLING GREEN 74-62.
Loyola of Chicago lost outside shooter Alan Miller on grades and then almost lost to Marquette. Corky Bell's rebound shot at the buzzer saved the Ramblers 85-84.
1. TEXAS WESTERN (16-0)
2. HOUSTON (14-4)
3. OKLAHOMA CITY (17-3)
Texas Western remained unbeaten, but just by a gasp. After waltzing by New Mexico State 104-78, the Miners visited Colorado State at Fort Collins and were on the ropes, tied 66-66, with 12 seconds left. But TW's Bobby Joe Hill threw in a 25-foot running jumper and the Miners had their 16th victory 68-66. Still, HOUSTON was making an awfully good case for itself as top gun in Texas. The Cougars had 10 straight after shooting down Lamar Tech 112-82 and Tulsa 97-77. OKLAHOMA CITY avenged an earlier defeat by beating Memphis State 104-89. The Chiefs also topped Centenary 118-95 and West Texas 87-69.
Texas Coach Harold Bradley is over his mad at Texas Tech fans. A few days before the big game in Lubbock, he had called the Raider crowds "the worst in the nation." So some Tech students went down to the airport and welcomed Bradley with an honest-to-goodness red carpet. His Longhorns were so pleased that they went out and upset Tech 87-74. That gave TEXAS A&M a two-game lead in the SWC. The Aggies beat TCU 81-72 as John Beasley scored 35 points. Woeful Rice could use some red-carpet treatment. The Owls were beaten by SOUTHERN METHODIST 112-89—their 27th consecutive loss.
1. SAN FRANCISCO (15-2)
2. BRIGHAM YOUNG (12-3)
3. UTAH (14-4)
As far as UCLA's rivals in the AAWU are concerned, the Bruins can forget about a third straight national championship. They may even keep UCLA out of the NCAA tournament altogether. WASHINGTON STATE, until now a conference nonentity, caught the Bruins aching—Edgar Lacey had bursitis of the knee, Kenny Washington a pulled muscle—and shocked them 84-83 at Pullman on Dennis Kloke's two foul shots with five seconds left. It was State's first win over UCLA in seven years and the Bruins' second league loss. OREGON STATE, which beat California 77-62 and second-place Stanford 56-54 on Rick Whelan's lay up at the buzzer, is the new leader.
No team was safe in the Western AC either. With 9½ minutes to play, first-place Utah had a 10-point lead over BRIGHAM YOUNG in Salt Lake City, and it looked as if Coach Jack Gardner could swig his milk in peace on the Redskins' bench. Then the Cougar press began to work. They also set up a high post with feeds to Dick Nemelka, a slick jump shooter, and suddenly the game was turned around. With 11 seconds to go, Nemelka twisted in a jumper—for his 34th point—and Brigham Young won 94-93. It was enough to drive Coach Gardner to drink—more milk, that is.
New Mexico had big Mel Daniels back, but even he could not save the Lobos when they ventured out of town. ARIZONA, playing a harassing full-court press, upset New Mexico 83-77 in double overtime at Tucson, and then ARIZONA STATE stunned the Lobos 74-68 at Tempe. The best visiting WYOMING could get was an even break. The Cowboys beat Arizona State 78-77 but lost to Arizona 76-70.
San Francisco had no problems (page 53). The Dons simply belted Santa Barbara 83-43 and San Jose State 81-65.