1. NORTH CAROLINA (3-0)
2. KENTUCKY (2-1)
3. DAVIDSON (3-0)
If the first full week of the new season proved anything, it was that the best of the returning players were even sharper than before. Nowhere was this more evident than in the South, where Charlie Scott of North Carolina, Pete Maravich of LSU and Butch Beard of Louisville came on stage with their magic shows. Scott scored 81 points and came up with a flock of steals and assists as the Tar Heels beat Oregon 89-78 and 106-73 and then took care of Kentucky 87-77 (page 32). Said Oregon's Steve Belko: "A year ago Scott was just a sophomore. Right now he's an Elgin Baylor." As for Maravich, he was shooting less but he was a more complete player. This was evident in a 109-82 win over Loyola of New Orleans, in which he had 11 assists. Although shooting less he was scoring plenty: 52 points against Loyola and 38 in an 86-85 comeback win over Clemson, including 27 of LSU's last 36 points. Beard, who last year fed the ball to Westley Unseld, found a new working partner in Mike Grosso. They helped dispose of Stetson 84-69 and Southern Mississippi 96-85. Beard had 14 assists in the opener, many of them to Grosso. He also improved his shooting, getting a total of 53 points in the two games.
The best of the newcomers in the South may well be 6'9" Rich Yunkus of Georgia Tech, who is, says Coach Ray Mears of Tennessee, "as good as any sophomore who has ever come into the league." Mears meant the Southeastern Conference, of which Georgia Tech is no longer a member. Yunkus scored 26 points against SMU, an 87-59 victim, and despite double and triple coverage had 32 as Tech lost to Georgia 84-74. In that game Bob Leinhard of the Bulldogs sank nine of 11 shots and had 29 points. Iowa State, shooting 63.6%, shocked Tennessee 72-66 and gave Mears his first non-conference loss at home since 1961. Western Kentucky ran its record to 4-0 thanks to the feet and feats of springy rebounders and shooters Jim McDaniels (size 17 shoe), Clarence Glover (size 16) and Walker Banks (size 15). They polished off Union (Tenn.) 89-54, Southeast Louisiana 101-62 and SMU 92-79. SMU, which last year lost its opener to Vanderbilt, suffered the same fate 97-94 as sophomore Rudy Thacker of the Commodores got six points in the final 27 seconds. Davidson, though, stopped the Commodores impressively, 101-84, and routed Furman 105-70. South Carolina surprised Wake Forest 68-63, Alabama upended Texas 88-56 and Florida State outshot Jacksonville 93-88 to win the Sunshine Classic.
December 16, 1968
1. VILLANOVA (3-0)
2. LA SALLE (1-0)
3. COLUMBIA (2-0)
Calvin Murphy of Niagara was another star who had done some honing. He poured in 38 points in a 118-97 win over Buffalo State and then 68 as the Purple Eagles outlasted Syracuse 118-110. "His overall game has improved 100%," said Roy Danforth of Syracuse. "He passed off for baskets and he really controlled the game." Visiting teams had little trouble, Notre Dame whipping King's (Pa.) 84-54, North Carolina State stopping NYU 61-49, Wake Forest beating Temple 87-86 and Duke breezing past Princeton 81-62. Two teams that looked fairly impressive were Villanova and St. Bonaventure. The Wildcats trailed Princeton 22-20 after a sluggish first half before pulling away easily for a 64-54 victory in which Johnny Jones scored 30 points. Jones had 32 and sophomore Howard Porter 34 in a 94-74 walkaway against Philadelphia Textile. St. Bonaventure routed Detroit College 111-70 and St. Francis (Pa.) 91-77. Bob Lanier had 52 points for the Bonnies, including an 11-for-11 performance in the opener.
Columbia gave CCNY its worst defeat ever, scoring 31 consecutive points during one stretch and winning 95-37. The Lions then nipped NYU 69-68 on Leon Williams' basket with eight seconds left. Boston College, Providence, Army, Navy and Duquesne each won twice.
1. UCLA (3-0)
2. NEW MEXICO (3-0)
3. SANTA CLARA (3-0)
UCLA visited the Midwest, but the West still had some superior performers at home, ranging in size from 7'1" Ron Taylor of USC, who got his hook shot working, to 5'8" Charley Criss of New Mexico State, who executes what might be called a Hummingbird Jump Shot. Taylor, a senior who was called Big O (for Oaf) for two seasons, did not score against Houston until the second half, but then he collected 11 points to upset the Cougars 65-64. And he had 18 points and 16 rebounds in an 84-54 defeat of Loyola of California. "His improvement," said Trojan Coach Bob Boyd, "has been fantastic. He now has a hook shot that almost nobody is going to be able to stop." Criss, who seems to hover in mid-air as he goes through his jump-shot routine, was the MVP of the Aggies' dedication tournament for their new $3.5 million Pan American Center. He scored 50 points as the Aggies downed Colorado State 95-89 and Texas-El Paso 51-49. Against Brigham Young, teammate Sam Lacey blocked five shots, and when the Mormons tried outside shots they were Criss-crossed by Charley, who stole the ball six times in an 83-65 victory.
Vic Bartolome of Oregon State sank 20 of 24 shots as the Beavers split with Nebraska, winning 79-67 and losing 85-77. Another high scorer was 6'8" Marv Roberts of Utah State, who averaged 33.3 points in four games. After Roberts made 35 points in an 83-75 win over Washington, Huskies coach Tex Winter said, "He is the greatest offensive performer as a sophomore I have seen." Weber State won the Golden Spike Tournament, defeating Pepperdine 73-48 and Nevada 75-57 as Willie Sojourner and Justus Thigpen each scored 38 points. California trounced San Francisco 82-71, San Jose State 103-98 and St. Mary's 84-77, and New Mexico eased past Hawaii 63-56 and 77-62. Santa Clara also had an easy time of it, whipping California (Davis) 94-66 and Fresno State 82-65.
1. NOTRE DAME (1-1)
2. KANSAS (2-1)
3. CINCINNATI (3-0)
Big surprises were Wisconsin's 67-62 win over Kansas and Minnesota's 75-73 defeat of Marquette. The Badgers then overwhelmed North Dakota 94-48, while KU and Marquette regrouped to beat Loyola of Chicago 93-61 and Portland 75-53, respectively. UCLA gamboled through the Midwest, handing Ohio State an 84-73 loss and disposing of Notre Dame 88-75 (page 30). Although Toledo beat Michigan 89-76 and Ohio U. defeated Indiana 80-70, the Big Ten was strong in other games. Michigan State downed Western Michigan 86-71, Southwestern Louisiana 90-84 and, with Bernie Copeland scoring in the final second of overtime, Toledo 81-80. It was Michigan over Northern Illinois 93-85 and Western Michigan 109-99. Purdue's Rick Mount scored 53 points in victories over Miami (78-70) and North Dakota (116-84). Olympian Spencer Haywood had 109 points as Detroit won three times. Cincinnati used its new run-run tactics to sprint past Kansas State 86-70 and North Dakota State 83-54, with Don Ogletree getting 44 points. Ken Spain's 47 points helped Houston drub Pepperdine 80-60 and Arizona 85-64. TCU won two games, including an 87-84 squeaker against Oklahoma City. Colorado boosted its record to 4-0 by downing Texas Tech 81-77 and Texas 92-75, while Dayton came through with an impressive pair of victories over Bowling Green and Gannon.