The fields for the two major postseason events were shaping up. The NCAA had 14 of its 23 teams in hand and merely had to wait for the end of some conference races to fill out the roster. Kentucky (SEC), Davidson (Southern), St. Joseph's (Mid-Atlantic), Cincinnati (Missouri Valley), Western Kentucky (Ohio Valley) and Miami of Ohio (Mid-American) all clinched last week to join independents Providence (21-3), Syracuse (19-4), Dayton (21-4), Loyola of Chicago (21-2), Texas Western (22-0), Oklahoma City (23-4), Houston (20-5) and Colorado State (13-7) in the four regional playoffs.
New York's NIT, meanwhile, was busy gathering in some pretty good leftovers for the 14-team tournament which begins March 10 in Madison Square Garden. Defending champion St. John's (18-5) was already in, along with Virginia Tech (19-4), Boston College (18-4), Penn State (17-4), Temple (20-6), DePaul (17-6) and Army (16-6). Possibilities for the remaining eight places: independents Fairfield (17-5), Detroit (17-6), Manhattan (12-7), Georgetown (15-8), NYU (13-9), Villanova (13-10) and the runners-up in the Missouri Valley (Bradley, Wichita State, St. Louis or Louisville), West Coast AC (probably San Francisco) and Western AC (most likely Brigham Young).
March 7, 1966
1. KENTUCKY (23-0)
2. DUKE (20-3)
3. VANDERBILT (21-3)
The name given to DAVIDSON'S Dick Snyder—"Superhorse"—comes from Bucky Waters, the West Virginia coach. This is Waters' first year as head man at Morgantown and he is already one of the better seers around. In Charlotte last week he took his defending champion Mountaineers to the finals of the Southern Conference tournament and met Superhorse and the sophomores of Davidson. The teams had split during the season, West Virginia coming strong at the end, and Davidson had the deserved reputation of blowing sky-high in these playoffs. But this Davidson team was different. With tall sophomores Rod Knowles and Tom Youngdale ruling the boards and the 6-foot-5 Snyder superhorsing it all over the place, Davidson rode out to a 56-40 lead with 13 minutes left. The Mountaineers rallied to within two points behind Ron Williams' dazzling passing, but Davidson did not fold. The 'Cats scored six straight and won going away 80-69, Snyder getting 27 points. "He puts the gun against your head. Relentless is the word for him," said Waters.
Duke supporters were having second thoughts. The flat Blue Devils were upset by WAKE FOREST in overtime 99-98 before redeeming themselves in a sharp 77-63 win over North Carolina. NORTH CAROLINA STATE looked tough, running away from Furman 130-77 and Wake Forest twice, 101-75 and 125-100. Duke meets Wake Forest and State faces Virginia in the ACC tournament Thursday in Raleigh.
Kentucky (page 20) was finally in the NCAA tournament, so all VANDERBILT could do after a 117-97 win over Georgia was to announce it was retiring Clyde Lee's jersey number—43. WESTERN KENTUCKY looked forward to a rougher road in the NCAA after ripping Eastern Kentucky 72-67 and Murray 71-59 to win the Ohio Valley championship.
1. KANSAS (20-3)
2. LOYOLA OF CHICAGO (21-2)
3. MICHIGAN (15-6)
It was "Smash Nebraska Week" in Lawrence. KANSAS students hauled an old car onto the campus, named it Nebraska and invited loyal Jayhawkers to destroy it with a sledgehammer. Coach Ted Owens struck the first blow and barely made a dent but his players outdid him. With 17,000 jammed into Phog Allen Field House, they smashed the Huskers 110-73, scored the most points ever made by a Kansas team and took a half-game lead in the Big Eight race. It was a case of the swift beating the zone press. Owens had said, "We must make Nebraska pay for spreading its defense all over the court," and his team did. Al Lopes, Del Lewis and Jo-Jo White broke away from the double-teaming Huskers for easy shots; Roger Bohnenstiehl, in for foul-plagued Walt Wesley, scored 24 points, and the aroused Jayhawkers led 58-34 at the half. After that it was a breeze. Kansas did some pressing of its own at half-court to force Nebraska's ball handlers toward the sidelines, and the frustrated Huskers rarely got an easy shot. "It was just like the NCAA finals to us," crowed Wesley.
Cincinnati's young Tay Baker must have felt that way, too, when his Bearcats, picked for seventh in preseason polls, beat Drake 56-49 at home to win the Missouri Valley title. "These guys didn't believe it," said Baker happily. There was good reason, however, for his players' wariness. Earlier the Bearcats had lost to WICHITA STATE 86-76 on the road and the Shockers still had a chance to catch them. But then Wichita State, which almost never wins away from home, had to go to LOUISVILLE, where it was buried 81-66 as 6-foot-8 Westley Unseld scored 27 points and gathered in 30 rebounds. Now the fight was for second and NIT bids. Bradley, St. Louis and Wichita State were all still in it.
Just when Michigan had the Big Ten race all tidied up, IOWA sliced through the Wolves' half-court zone press and then pressured them into a 91-82 upset to give Michigan State another chance. But MICHIGAN'S Dave Strack learned something from the loss. The next time out, against Purdue, he went after the Boilermakers full-court—alternating three, then two men up front—from the start and the Wolves buried Purdue 105-85, despite 37 points by Dave Schellhase, the nation's No. 1 scorer. Cazzie Russell had 33 and John Clawson 30 for Michigan. But MICHIGAN STATE, playing Coach John Benington's methodical defense, was only a game behind after struggling past Illinois 68-66 and Indiana 69-63.
For a while things were sticky for MIAMI OF OHIO in the Mid-American. But Toledo, a surprising challenger, lost to sixth-place WESTERN MICHIGAN 74-72 in triple overtime. Then Miami, intent on giving retiring Coach Dick Shrider a suitable going-away present, settled everything by beating the upstart Rockets 79-72 to clinch the championship, LOYOLA OF CHICAGO, warming up for the NCAA, belted North Central 112-49 while DAYTON beat DePaul 77-73.
1. UTAH (20-5)
2. OREGON STATE (17-6)
3. PACIFIC (19-5)
San Francisco beat St. Mary's 88-67, and surprising PACIFIC took Santa Clara 73-68 en route to their return match on the Dons' court. And those who pooh-poohed the Tigers' first win over San Francisco had nothing left to say. Dave Fox, a 6-foot-1 guard, took care of Pacific's offense early with 22 points and Bob Krulish forced USF's Joe Ellis off stride on jumpers as Pacific moved to a 72-62 lead. The Dons had to foul, and Fox hit 10 straight free throws to finish with 32 points. Pacific won 82-71, had a one-game lead in the WCAC, but still had to get by San Jose State before thinking seriously about the NCAAs.
Oregon state was also a game away, in the AAWU. The Beavers like to play catch for minutes at a time and wait for the percentage shot, and that is how they beat Washington State 54-47. UCLA took California 95-79 and Stanford 70-58, but all the talk is of next year and Lew Alcindor. Said Stanford's Howie Dallmar after watching the 7-foot UCLA freshman in action: "Everything I've heard about him is an under-statement."
In the WAC, UTAH was two steps closer to a championship but didn't know if it could go further. Six-foot-7 starter George Fisher broke his leg in a pileup when teammate Jerry Chambers drove against New Mexico and sent four men sprawling. The Utes beat Wyoming 107-103 and the Lobos 91-80, and had one game left, at Brigham Young. ARIZONA, after beating Arizona State 91-80, could tie Utah, but has road games with New Mexico and Wyoming. Independent New Mexico State has another kind of problem, a coach who has vanished. Having lost three players—one quit, one was hurt, one flunked—Jim McGregor went "somewhere east." Nobody knows where.
1. ST. JOSEPH'S (21-4)
2. PROVIDENCE (21-3)
3. SYRACUSE (19-4)
When DAYTON and Houston, two outlanders with glossy records, were paired off in New York's Madison Square Garden last week they started even. Both had the Garden jitters, a malady common among visitors, but Houston's lasted longer. While Coach Guy Lewis writhed helplessly on the bench, clutching his red-and-white towel, the Cougars shot miserably, defended even more miserably and were behind 37-21 at half time. Six-foot-8 sophomore Elvin Hayes—they call him the Big E in Houston—had handled 6-foot-11 Henry Finkel easily, but Donnie May, a stylish sophomore with a slick touch, led the Cougars a merry chase. When Houston did begin to come around it was too late. Although Hayes outscored Finkel 22 points to seven, May put in 27 and the Flyers won 71-69.
Hometown NYU and Manhattan put on a better show. The Violets, yearning desperately for a place in the NIT, defended tenaciously against Manhattan's pattern offense and Mai Graham's 20-point shooting brought down the Jaspers 59-53. Then LIU, 19-2 and in the NCAA college-division tournament, had a bitter surprise for NYU. The Blackbirds upset the Violets 65-63 to tie Manhattan for the Met Conference lead.
The big teams in the East, safely in tournaments, kept on winning. ST. JOSEPH'S rolled over Lafayette 108-80 and Xavier 101-83, and PROVIDENCE beat Loyola of New Orleans 70-43 and Holy Cross 81-72. SYRACUSE, leading the country with a 100.2 average, took Creighton 114-104 and Westminster 100-66, and PENN STATE defeated Bucknell 66-57 and Pitt 89-57. BOSTON COLLEGE trounced little Tufts 94-66 in the Beanpot Tournament and then battered Seton Hall 112-77. ST. JOHN'S and TEMPLE, however, had it rougher. The Redmen took Massachusetts 80-73 but needed Bob McIntyre's two foul shots at the very end to hold off tough Marquette 70-68. Temple beat Penn 71-64 and then just slipped past Rhode Island, the Yankee Conference leader, 92-89.
Army, Georgetown and Villanova were busy enhancing their NIT chances. Navy, in Coach Ben Carnevale's last game (he goes to NYU as athletic director), was no match for the Cadets. Army shot a neat 54.8%, made its first 24 foul shots and hammered the Middies 70-56. Georgetown beat Seton Hall 102-93 and then squeezed past Fairfield 77-75. Villanova, coming on now, swept Niagara 79-61 and Memphis State 84-78.
At week's end the Ivy League was still up in the air. PENN thought it had the title in the bag after it shook off 32 points by Columbia's 7-foot Dave Newmark to beat the second-place Lions 83-68, but the Quakers got trapped up in Ithaca. CORNELL, shelled by PRINCETON 84-62 the night before, beat Penn 81-76. That gave COLUMBIA, a 67-62 winner over the Tigers on Saturday, another chance to tie.
1. TEXAS WESTERN (22-0)
2. HOUSTON (20-5)
3. OKLAHOMA CITY (23-4)
Texas Western seems to enjoy letting opponents get within striking distance of the Miners' unbeaten streak and then blowing them out of the gym. Western was behind West Texas 35-34 with 16 minutes left before Bobby Joe Hill and Orsten Artis double-teamed Buffalo ace Gail Simpson. That broke the game open, Texas Western winning 78-64. Next Colorado State was up by five with 15:05 to go, but the Miners scored 11 straight and coasted 72-55.
Around its beating by Dayton, HOUSTON crushed Texas Wesleyan 152-108 and Portland 109-84. OKLAHOMA CITY was lolling on the beach at Waikiki between victories over the University of Hawaii.
The SWC, almost conceded to Texas A&M three weeks ago, was tied after SMU beat the Aggies at Dallas 82-65. Carroll Hooser's 20 points and 11 rebounds helped, but it was his defensive work on A&M's John Beasley that counted the most. Beasley got only 16 points. TEXAS A&M easily defeated Rice 93-65, but SMU needed Denny Holman's layup with seconds to go to beat Texas 71-69 and stay in the tie.
SHOWCASE IN GREENSBORO
Enthusiasm bubbled like fresh champagne last week when 7,815 gathered in the Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum for the finals of the 21st annual tournament of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, a sprawling 18-team conference of Negro schools from four states and the District of Columbia. This is one tournament pro scouts attend en masse, looking for another Sam Jones or Al Attles, both discovered there. The prize was a spot in the NCAA college-division playoffs and the top-seeded favorite was Norfolk State, a run-and-gun team which had won the regular-season championship and averaged 103.3 points a game. Coach Ernie Fears's theory is that "something has to happen every seven seconds." He says, "We run and we like a lot of points. It gets more people in the act." The best part of the Norfolk act is 6-foot-5 Pop Pitts, a burly 240-pounder who attacks the boards viciously and tramples everyone in sight to get to the basket. Pitts scored 34 points as the Spartans clobbered Maryland State 125-100 and 31 in a 116-90 win over Delaware State to put Norfolk into the final against Winston-Salem State (19-4). The pride of the Rams was Earl Monroe, a slim, 6-foot-2 junior backcourt man from Philadelphia who already has the pros drooling. He had scored 67 points while Winston-Salem was beating J. C. Smith 96-86 and Howard 85-84 in overtime. But Coach Clarence (Bighouse) Gaines knew he had to stop Norfolk's runners. So his men played ball control and they cut off the Spartans' fast break by matching Pitts in rebounds. Still, Norfolk led 55-50 early in the first half. Then Monroe, whirling in jump shots and layups (right), took the Rams on a 19-4 spree that killed off the Spartans. Monroe finished with 42 points and Winston-Salem won 87-80. "That Earl," said Bighouse admiringly, "he just can't stand to lose."