Athletes in Action, the preach-and-play adjunct of Campus Crusade for Christ, lived up to the Biblical admonition in Proverbs 18:9 about not being "slothful" in one's work by working over DePaul 91-86. Four fast-break baskets during a 14-0 stretch put AIA ahead 17-6 in the exhibition game, which Blue Demon Coach Ray Meyer booked so his squad wouldn't have a two-week layoff before going into the NCAAs. Meyer didn't mind the defeat, which didn't end his team's streak of 21 collegiate triumphs, because he hoped it would arouse his sometimes lethargic players. Terry Cummings popped in 27 points for DePaul and Bernard Randolph had 26. Dave Johnson, formerly of Weber State, led AIA with 27 points. This was the biggest win for AIA since it shocked San Francisco in 1977, when the Dons were ranked No. 1 in the nation. It was also the third triumph over a Top 20 team for AIA, which earlier in the season beat Wake Forest 63-62 and Idaho 77-73 in double overtime.
Minnesota's 7'3" Randy Breuer had to wait two months for a chance to atone for his miserable 6-for-17 shooting during a defeat at Ohio State. When his chance finally came, Breuer made the most of it, sinking 11 of 16 field-goal attempts and all 10 of his free throws to carry the Gophers past the Buckeyes 87-75. In addition to 32 points, Breuer had 12 rebounds, two blocked shots, two steals and two assists. That victory, plus a 54-51 thriller over Michigan State, gave Minnesota its first Big Ten title since 1972.
Iowa, which at one stage was 10-1 in the conference, continued to plummet. Losses at Illinois (73-67 in overtime) and Purdue (66-65) left the Hawkeyes with five defeats in their last seven outings. Iowa led 54-45 before wilting under stepped-up pressure from the Boilermakers. Purdue's Keith Edmonson, who led the Big Ten in scoring (20.6), had 17 points and knotted the game at 65-65 with a baseline jumper with 1:04 left. Then freshman Dan Palombizio, who had a 2.3-point average, got his only point of the game on a foul shot with no time remaining, enabling the Boilermakers to finish 14-13 and avoid their first losing season since 1965-66. Despite its slump, Iowa got an NCAA bid, as did defending national champion Indiana and Ohio State.
Northern Illinois was also in the 48-team field. The Huskies (16-13) made it by upsetting Bowling Green 67-66 and regular-season-winner Ball State 79-75 in overtime during the Mid-American tournament. Northern Illinois' Allen Rayhorn had 24 points in the semifinal against the Falcons, including a basket that tied the score at 64-all and a decisive foul shot with five seconds to go. The 6'9" Rayhorn then scored 23 points against Ball State. At least as vital in that game was the defensive job that Leonard Hayes did on high-scoring Ray McCallum, whom he held to 14 points. Three SEC teams also made it to the NCAAs: postseason playoff winner Alabama (page 26), Kentucky and Tennessee. Marquette picked up a bid, too, as did Trans-America champ Middle Tennessee State and Sun Belt victor Alabama-Birmingham.
The NCAA announced that Louisiana Tech would be the top-seeded Midwest team in its first-ever Division I women's tournament. The top seeds in the other three brackets are Southern Cal, Old Dominion and Long Beach State.
The way his players put on their sneakers was about all they did right, said Oregon State Coach Ralph Miller after a 68-60 defeat at Arizona State. Corey McMullen, a 6'9" Sun Devil junior who hadn't done much right all season (he was averaging 2.6 points and 3.1 rebounds a game), did the most to knock off the Beavers. Although he didn't enter the game until well into the first half, McMullen latched on to 15 rebounds, blocked seven shots and scored 10 points. Last season, in the next-to-last game, at Corvallis, Arizona State had spoiled the Beavers' try for a perfect regular-season record by pulling off an 87-67 upset. Oregon State, the Pac-10 champ, which earlier in the week drubbed Arizona 92-64, advanced to the NCAAs along with Southern Cal (19-8), which defeated Washington State 61-56 and Washington 76-70.
UCLA, which is on probation and cannot take part in postseason competition, beat Washington 68-67 and Washington State 57-54. Rod Foster, who had 25 points against the Huskies, sank nine of 10 free throws in that game and set an NCAA mark for accuracy from the foul line by ending up the season with 95 conversions in 100 tries.
California's Mark McNamara was also on target. The 6'11" senior center, playing despite a badly injured ankle, sank 10 of 11 floor shots as the Golden Bears whipped Stanford 78-59. By netting 25 of 30 shots in three games during the past two weeks, McNamara wound up with the second-best field-goal percentage ever for a season, 70.2%. The only higher NCAA figure was the 74.6% by Oregon State's Steve Johnson last year.
Idaho got some scares but no scars while taking the Big Sky tournament on its home court. Weber State kept the Vandals off balance throughout a semifinal matchup by frequently varying both its offense and defense. But Idaho, which blew a 12-point first-half advantage, came out on top 57-55. At the intermission in the finale, Nevada-Reno led the Vandals 36-34 and had outrebounded them 23-14. Then Idaho put on a 15-6 spurt and won 85-80. Vandal Guard Ken Owens, who scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half and who had eight steals in two games, was the tournament's MVP.
More than 3,000 Fresno State fans traveled 225 miles to the PCAA tournament in Anaheim. They weren't disappointed. The Red Wave beat Long Beach State 76-55 and Fullerton State 69-57. Donald Mason, the tournament MVP, scored a total of 43 points.
WCAC champ Pepperdine edged Loyola-Marymount 105-104 in overtime, its fourth OT victory during a winning streak that has now reached 14. Second-place San Francisco, which is also NCAA-bound, knocked off Santa Clara 91-83. Wyoming joined the party by locking up the WAC title.
Six seconds into the Virginia-North Carolina showdown in the ACC finals, James Worthy of the Tar Heels stuffed a shot. That was the start of eight near-perfect minutes for Carolina, which during that time didn't commit an error or foul and built a 24-12 lead. The Cavaliers came back to lead by three early in the second half, but then the Heels set up a screen that freed Michael Jordan for four straight jumpers. With a 44-43 lead, North Carolina went into its 4-C spread offense. Four seconds from the end, Matt Doherty sank both ends of a one-and-one foul opportunity to put the Tar Heels up 47-43, after which they gave up an uncontested basket. The Tar Heels reached the finals by walloping Georgia Tech 55-39 and North Carolina State 58-46. Virginia trailed Clemson 54-46 with 4:19 left in the first round, but won 56-54. Guard Othell Wilson of the Cavaliers suffered a thigh injury early in that game and missed the rest of the tournament. In the semis, Virginia overcame Wake Forest's late slowdown and won 51-49 in OT when Ricky Stokes rebounded his own miss and scored a basket just before the buzzer. Virginia, Wake Forest and N.C. State all received at-large bids to the NCAA tournament.
With the score 33-33 at halftime of the title game against Villanova in the Big East tournament, Georgetown Coach John Thompson gave his team what he called "the greatest 10-minute speech ever on defense, on how we would zone press and fall back into a zone." As Thompson returned to the court, however, Hoya Guard Eric Smith dared to suggest that the team play man-to-man instead. Thompson said, "It's yours. Do it." G'town did it and won 72-54. Earlier the Hoyas had defeated Providence 62-48 and St. John's 57-42. Georgetown, Villanova, Boston College and St. John's will all represent the Big East in the NCAAs.
What turned on Pitt during the finals of the Eastern Eight tournament were the words of the opposing coach, Gale Catlett of West Virginia. After beating the Panthers two weeks earlier, Catlett had labeled their program "mediocre." Last week, Pitt used an effective 1-3-1 trap defense against the Mountaineers and won 79-72. The Panthers' not-so-mediocre reward: an NCAA berth. West Virginia got a spot in the NCAAs, too.
Also revved up for the big tournament was Ivy League champ Penn, which ended the regular season with a 14-game winning streak. Others who received bids were St. Joseph's, Robert Morris, Northeastern, Old Dominion, Tennessee-Chattanooga, James Madison and North Carolina A&T.
Missouri showed 'em. The Tigers, who hadn't won a semifinal game in a Big Eight tournament in three years, finally did so by upending Nebraska 58-53. What made the victory doubly sweet and doubly important was that Mizzou gained revenge against the team that had broken its 19-game victory streak earlier in the season and that the Tigers prevailed without the services of defensive ace Moon McCrary. McCrary took an elbow in the face late in the first half of a first-round game and missed the rest of the tournament. Oklahoma won the other semifinal, upsetting NCAA-bound Kansas State for the second time, 68-62. The Sooners, picked to end up last in the Big Eight, raised their record to 19-9 as Chuck Barnett scored 26 points, most on long-range line-drive jumpers that riddled the Wildcats' 3-2 zone. In the title match, Missouri's Jon Sundvold and Ricky Frazier were the marksmen. Sundvold sank six straight floor shots, all from 20-foot range, in the opening eight minutes and wound up with 21 points. Frazier hit on 12 of 14 shots and grabbed nine rebounds as the Tigers won 68-63. With McCrary injured, Prince Bridges guarded Barnett, the conference's top scorer, and limited him to eight points.
Arkansas players, irked by TCU Guard Jeff Baker's comment to the press that the Hogs were overrated and could be beaten, stopped the Horned Frogs 80-70 in an SWC semifinal. Scott Hastings scored 27 points and Darrell Walker 23 for the Razorbacks. In the championship game against Houston, Arkansas won 84-69 as Alvin Robertson, in only his fourth start, had 23 points.
Tulsa Coach Nolan Richardson was so disgusted with his team's play that he walked off the court with six seconds to go in the first half of the Missouri Valley title game against Illinois State. The Golden Hurricane, which led only 36-35 at halftime, came out smokin' in the second half, repeatedly forced Redbirds into off-balance shots and won going away, 90-77. A school-record 20 steals had helped Tulsa blow out Creighton 106-81 in the first round, after which came an 85-61 defeat of New Mexico State.
Evansville automatically qualified for the NCAA tournament by taking the Midwestern City Conference showdown. Guard Brad Leaf scored 23 points as the Purple Aces defeated Loyola 81-72 in the final. Emir Turam, a 7'1" sophomore from Turkey, had 14 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots in that game for Evansville.
With Keith Lee getting 27 points and 15 rebounds, Memphis State beat Louisville in the Metro wrap-up. The Tigers made it to the finale by nipping Virginia Tech 71-70 on a tip-in by Bobby Parks with two seconds remaining. Louisville (19-9) picked up an NCAA bid. Alcorn State, Southwestern Louisiana and Northeast Louisiana State were also in the field.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
RICKY FRAZIER: Missouri's 6'6" senior forward led the Tigers to the Big Eight tournament title with superb floor shooting (28 out of 36, 77.8%), 63 points, 29 rebounds, five assists and two steals.
SI TOP 20
1. DePAUL (26-1)
2. N. CAROLINA (27-2)
3. VIRGINIA (29-3)
4. OREGON STATE (23-4)
5. MISSOURI (26-3)
6. MINNESOTA (22-5)
7. TULSA (24-5)
8. IDAHO (26-2)
9. GEORGETOWN (26-6)
10. FRESNO STATE (26-2)
11. MEMPHIS STATE (22-4)
12. ARKANSAS (23-5)
13. UCLA (21-6)
14. ALABAMA (23-6)
15. KENTUCKY (22-7)
16. WEST VIRGINIA (26-3)
17. IOWA (20-7)
18. HOUSTON (23-7)
19. WAKE FOREST (20-8)
20. EVANSVILLE (23-5)
* Last week