LAST YEAR'S MASTERS
Your article on Johnny Miller previewing the Masters (Johnny Came Lately, April 5) was outstanding. I am pleased you chose Miller, as opposed to Tom Weiskopf or Jack Nicklaus, to show the character and intensity of the pro golfer. Nicklaus is the most consistent golfer ever, but at his best Miller is the best.
I do not like golf. I rarely read articles about the sport. However, I read the article on last year's Masters tournament. Sarah Pileggi is to be commended. She took the boredom out of the game.
VARIATIONS ON INDIANA'S VICTORY
Oklahoma shattered your cover jinx by winning the national college football championship in spite of your preseason cover and No. 1 prediction.
Indiana won the college basketball championship in spite of a No. 1 rating and two covers, one in the preseason and the other on the eve of the NCAA finals.
April 19, 1976
Michigan was the victim in each of the title games. You can repay the Wolverines by putting them on your now (apparently) harmless cover next September.
RANDALL J. PETRIDES
South Bend, Ind.
As the developer of the Offense Efficiency Rating system, better known as the OER, I charted the NCAA final between Indiana and Michigan. After trailing 35-29 at the half, Indiana went on to produce what I believe to be the most awesome half of offensive firepower ever. The Hoosiers scored a mammoth 57 points on 37 possessions for an OER (points per possession) of 1.54. This easily surpasses the first-half rating of 1.32 ppp achieved by Ohio State when it defeated California 75-55 in the 1960 NCAA final.
During its first 26 possessions of the second half of the 1976 classic, Indiana poured an amazing 44 points through the nets for a super OER of 1.69 points for every trip down the floor. And during one stretch of 13 possessions, midway through the half, the Hoosiers burned the nets with 24 points for an almost perfect OER of 1.85 ppp.
Having observed thousands of basketball games and having charted many hundreds, I would not hesitate to call this the most efficient, best-played half I have ever seen.
PAUL R. KELLER
Every Jan. 2 a few fans take pen in hand to remind the nation of another Big Ten fold. It seems only fair that on this March 30 two Big Ten fans take pen in hand to ask what happened to California and Eastern basketball.
As for Bobby Knight, if there is a better coach we'd like to know who he is.
WHAT KENTUCKY BROUGHT HOME
Your in-depth look at this year's National Invitation Tournament MVP, Cedric (Cornbread) Maxwell, and his supporting cast at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (What's That Name Again? March 29), whose fairy tale ended just a bit prematurely, was interesting. Seldom does an unknown rise up and challenge the big boys and survive to tell about it.
My only objection to your NIT coverage is that you failed to recognize the achievement of the champions, the Kentucky Wildcats. Here was a team that had lost four starters to graduation from last year's NCAA runner-up team and then lost its fifth, Rick Robey, to a knee injury midway through the season. Kentucky had a 10-10 record on Feb. 14, and then went on to win 10 consecutive contests, the final one against UNCC.
DAVID B. JOHNSON
FOR HOCKEY, IT'S MINNESOTA
As a season-ticket holder to the games of two hockey teams in the Twin City area, I was amazed to see that your only mention of the Minnesota Gophers winning the NCAA hockey title was a three-line paragraph in FOR THE RECORD (April 5). In the same issue you had a fine article on the world curling championship, won by the Hibbing (Minn.) rink (Winning One for the Skip). You also had an article earlier in the year about youth hockey in Minnesota. So how can you quit now?
Three players on this years championship Gopher team have already signed pro contracts, and the best young pro prospect, Reed Larson, is expected to go in the first round of the NHL draft.
WORDS TO THE WISE (CONT.)
I thoroughly enjoyed Frank Deford's BOOKTALK column (March 8) dealing with the omnipresent "you know" (usually pronounced "y'know"). Those of us who teach courses in oral communication are inundated with that phrase, which is characteristic of the speech not only of athletes, but also of many young people.
In my efforts to impress on my students the desirability of at least trying to eliminate the habit, I wrote this poem (?), which has made my advice at least more interesting than the usual efforts.
WITH, Y'KNOW, APOLOGIES TO, Y'KNOW, DR. SEUSS
Beware, if you can, of the intrusive r,
Of the semi-vowel that is not up to par,
And do all you are able to shun and avoid
The intemperate use of a blasphemous woid.
But of all the speech errors you should try to forgo
By far the most vicious is the pernicious "you know."
It appears like a virus, infecting each clause;
It's a virulent strain of the vocalized pause.
It means—y'know—nothing, but it keeps sneaking in,
'Til it's clearly become our far worst speaking sin.
It's extremely distracting to hear that same flow
Of vapid verbosity—it will drive you y'know.
Oh, it's—y'know—nothing vital, but we are sinking low
When we can't—y'know—say a sentence without saying "y'know."
Vicious, pernicious, not at all delicious;
Omnipresent, incessant, really unpleasant;
Intrusive, abusive, it makes you feel woosive—
I'm speaking, of course, of the awful "you know."
WILLIAM R. DEMOUGEOT
Professor of Speech Communication
North Texas State University
Your article on Bud Collins (Bald Facts from the Boston Hacker, April 5) could have been written 25 years ago—only the people around him have changed. At Baldwin-Wallace College he was a lovable character whose biting wit was often employed to take our nonathletic detractors, with their acerbic tastes, down a peg. His enthusiasm, encouragement and love of all sports always made us varsity athletes think we were much better than we really were. That alone made him a joy to have around.
ROBERT A. LESLIE
Hats off to Donald Dale Jackson for his portrayal of Bud Collins. The "Boston Hacker" is one of the most vivacious and provocative announcers in the sports world. Jackson has astutely confirmed my belief in Collins' dedication to his work and the flair for tennis that his broadcasts convey.
LESSONS FROM MICA CREEK (CONT.)
Concerning the letters (March 22) in response to your article on the Mica Creek Dam project (When They Build Without a Blueprint, Feb. 23), I had to read the comments by Jonathan Polhamus several times in order to be sure of what he was saying. I knew people like him existed, but I thought they were all working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Polhamus says the "conservation at all cost" ethic appears throughout the article. Has he ever stopped to think that if we had practiced a little conservation at a small cost throughout the last 100 years, we might not be in the jam we are in today? We wouldn't be running low on most fossil fuels, for one thing. If we had slowed down a little, perhaps we would have more of our wilderness areas left untouched, and fewer endangered species.
Some people don't seem to care about deer, bear, moose and waterfowl. They aren't worth enough on the open market. You cannot convert them into fuel, light a house with them or turn them into lumber to build more houses. After the animals have been destroyed in one area, these people think they can just go on to the next area and start the process all over again. As long as they have an unlimited supply of gas for under $2 a gallon, can have an all-electric home and can take a four-lane highway to the dark side of the moon and back, they are happy.
We can see the results of building without a plan all around us.
PETER K. LAWTON
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME & LIFE Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.