Seven teams were eliminated in the first round (page 28) but defending champion TEXAS WESTERN, playing in the Far West Regional this year, was still in contention. The Miners eased past Seattle 62-54 in Fort Collins, Colo. HOUSTON edged New Mexico State 59-58 in the Midwest while PRINCETON beat West Virginia 68-57, ST. JOHN'S took Temple 57-53 and BOSTON COLLEGE survived an agonizing stall to defeat Connecticut 48-42 in the East. The surprises were in the Mideast, where DAYTON shocked Western Kentucky 69-67 and VIRGINIA TECH upset Toledo 82-76.
The winners all play this weekend in the NCAA Regionals in College Park, Md., Evanston, Ill., Lawrence, Kans. and Corvallis, Ore.
By wisely extending an invitation to the nation's No. 1 small-college team, Southern Illinois, and winning approval from the ACC and Big Eight for their conference runners-up to compete, New York's own tournament had an interesting look. Then the Salukis and underdog Rutgers made it through the opening round and the selection committee began to look positively brilliant.
A group of SOUTHERN ILLINOIS students, spiffy in blazers, rolled out a green carpet for their team before the game with St. Peter's and the Salukis took it from there. They ball-handled smartly, defended strongly and, although noted for their ball-control style, even whipped St. Peter's at its own running game. Sophomore Dick Garrett, a sharp jump shooter, and Little All-America Walt Frazier poured in 52 points between them and Southern rolled it up 103-58. "I've always been a conservative," explained Coach Jack Hartman, "but we were able to get the ball out, so we ran."
For a while it looked as if MARSHALL was going to shoot Villanova right out of sight. Jim Davidson, George Stone and Lew D'Antoni, firing from long range, hit over the Wildcats' usually effective 3-2 zone and the Thundering Herd had a 10-point lead at the half. Then Coach Jack Kraft made some adjustments in his defense. His players began to press and double-team, and Johnny Jones, a smooth sophomore shooter who scored 28 points, got Villanova into a 64-64 tie. But Marshall's 6'9" Bob Allen, who had taken only one shot—and made it—killed off the Wildcats in overtime. Although he missed three free throws, Allen also scored three points, was fouled at the buzzer and calmly made both shots to win for Marshall 70-68. "It was like I was in a world all by myself," reflected Allen. "I said a prayer."
Memphis State thought it had a good chance against PROVIDENCE with its deliberate game and a defense that was the second best in the nation. The Tigers, naturally, had heard all about Jimmy Walker and how he bewildered defenders with his deft ball handling, between-the-legs dribbles, twisting jumps and blind passes, but they had to see him to believe it. Coach Moe Iba put Alan Mirrielees, his best defensive player, on Walker but Mirrielees was helpless. Jimmy scored 37 points and Providence won 77-68.
New Mexico came into New York with 11 pretty dancers and cheerleaders, a karate-type man-to-man defense and a superb re-bounder in 6'9" Mel Daniels. All of this came in handy in a rough battle with Syracuse. Until he fouled out late in the game Daniels gave the Lobos the boards and the points—he scored 20—for a 62-58 lead with 1:46 to play. Then Ron Sanford, Daniels' sub, and Syracuse's Rick Dean got into a no-punch scuffle on a held ball and an unkind official surprisingly called a technical on Dean for "elbowing." Ron Nelson shot the technical that gave New Mexico a five point lead and the Orange never quite caught up. They lost 66-64.
What looked like a breeze for MARQUETTE suddenly turned into a fight for survival when Tulsa staged a late rally. Bob Wolf, an outside sharpshooter, had flipped in eight baskets to give Marquette an early 21-8 lead and Coach Al McGuire's switching defenses kept Tulsa under control until the last 3½ minutes. Then Eldridge Webb and Bobby Smith got loose for 10 points. But it was too late. Marquette won 64-60.
Last Saturday was a lonely night for Utah State, RUTGERS, in the NIT for the first time, had sold 6,000 tickets and its rooters virtually took over the Garden. They were rewarded with the best game of the tournament and a 78-76 victory. Coach Bill Foster had planned well. Shifting in and out of a man-to-man and a variety of zone defenses, Rutgers held its own off the boards against the bigger Utah State team and effectively shut off the Aggies' fast break. But mostly it was a scoring duel between Rutgers' Bobby Lloyd—with valuable assistance from backcourt sidekick Jim Valvano when Lloyd had a cold spell—and Utah State's Shaler Halimon. Halimon scored 31 points but Lloyd, the country's leading foul shooter, was even better. Shooting magnificently over his guard, Hal Hale, Bobby threw in 42 points and saved the night for Rutgers. He scored his team's last nine points in the final three minutes and his two free throws won the game. What did Foster think about his team? "It was the best game we've played, just great."
Some people thought the Big Ten, a poor collection of teams this year, would never get a champion. But the conference wound up with two—INDIANA and MICHIGAN STATE. The Hoosiers, who finished last in 1966, polished off Michigan 96-90 and Purdue 95-82 to tie Michigan State, which beat Minnesota 67-59 and Northwestern 79-66, for the title. Indiana gets to play in the NCAA by Big Ten rules but MSU's John Benington was still grateful. "This is my first championship in 11 years of coaching," he said happily.
Although KANSAS had just beaten Colorado 66-59 to win the Big Eight title, Kansas State's Tex Winter, normally a cautious soul, flatly predicted his team would take the Jayhawks. "You can quote me," he said. "Some people think I'm nuts any way." What Winter had in mind was jamming up the Jayhawks with a zone defense. But K-State made only four of its first 21 shots and tricky Jo Jo White, who scored 19 points, led Kansas on a 17-0 tear in the first half. After that, it was easy. Kansas ran away, 74-56.
Colorado, passed over by the NIT for Nebraska, was determined to prove the choice was premature. So when the Huskers unaccountably failed to employ their full-court press, Colorado sat placidly on a one-point lead for almost six minutes late in the game and went on to win 64-57 to tie Nebraska for second in the Big Eight. "What were your keys to victory?" one reporter asked Coach Sox Walseth. "I'm not smart enough to recognize one when I see it," replied Walseth.
Niagara Coach Jim Maloney knew he had a problem when his team played CANISIUS in Buffalo's Memorial Auditorium. "I don't think we can handle Andy Anderson man to man," he said. So Maloney put his Eagles into a zone defense and Anderson had a picnic. He beat the zone for taps, jumpers, layups and drives, scored 15 points in the first six minutes, finished with 32 and Canisius won 79-74. Niagara fans, however, were waiting for next year. Calvin Murphy flipped in 55 points—his average is 48.8—as the freshmen beat Canisius 94-91 in the preliminary game.
It was a struggle all the way for NORTH CAROLINA in the Atlantic Coast tournament in Greensboro. The Tar Heels barely beat last-place North Carolina State 56-53 and then WAKE FOREST, which had upset Clemson 63-61 in double overtime, led Carolina by four points at the half. But Larry Miller, who scored only two points in the first half, fired in 29 and North Carolina pulled through 89-79. DUKE, meanwhile, buried Virginia 99-78 but then had trouble with South Carolina. It took seven points by Bob Verga and Bob Reidy in the last 1:08 to bail out the Blue Devils 69-66. Carolina finally got going against Duke in the final. A half-court man-to-man press shook up the Blue Devils and soon they were in foul trouble. Miller popped in 32 points and North Carolina. It took seven points by Bob Verga and Bob Reidy in the last 1:08 to bail out the Blue Devils 69-66. Carolina finally got going against Duke in the final. A half-court man-to-man press shook up the Blue Devils and soon they were in foul trouble. Miller popped in 32 points and North Carolina won 82-73. That put the Tar Heels into the NCAA tournament and Duke into the NIT.
While VANDERBILT meandered past LSU 75-66, some 9,000 fans in the stands had their transistor radios tuned in to Starkville, Miss. They were listening to the TENNESSEE-Mississippi State game. They cheered when State carried Tennessee into triple overtime but Bill Justus dropped in two free throws with six seconds to go to win for the Vols 78-76 and give them their first SEC championship in 24 years. The best Vandy could do was a second-place tie with Florida, a game behind Tennessee.
Kentucky's riches-to-rags saga ended on a mild note. The Wildcats, in the national championship finals a year ago, beat Alabama 110-78 to end a 13-13 season, the worst in Coach Adolph Rupp's 37 years at Kentucky. But help is on the way. The freshman Kittens were 18-2.
Just as everybody expected, UCLA ended the season unbeaten, unembarrassed and unmerciful toward its opponents. When USC persisted in a slowdown, the Bruins simply zone-pressed the Trojans to death and ran off 15 straight points in two minutes for a 29-11 lead. That finished USC. Lew Alcindor scored 26 points, playmaker Mike Warren had 19 and UCLA won its 26th game 83-55. "That zone press just tore us up," lamented Coach Bob Boyd.
It was like Armageddon when Western AC co-champions WYOMING and Brigham Young got together in Salt Lake City in a playoff for the right to meet UCLA in the NCAA tournament. BYU's big Cougars, frustrated by the quicker Cowboys, whose little men—Harry Hall, Mike Eberle and Bob Wilson—stormed inside on patterns off a high post, were called for 35 fouls and five players were ejected. Wyoming took the bloodbath 70-63. "These kids even have me wondering just how good they really are," marveled Coach Bill Strannigan.
Pacific, the West Coast AC champion, had no trouble beating Santa Clara 83-71 but San Francisco gave the Tigers a hard time. Kim Kellenberg, a 6'5" sophomore who led last year's freshmen in fouls with an average of four per game, put the muscle to Keith Swagerty and held him to six points before getting thrown out late in the game for fighting with Pacific's Pat Foley. Pacific finally won 63-59 for its 20th straight.