Boston College, which was picked to finish fifth in a Big East preseason coaches' poll, earned the top seed in next week's conference tournament in Madison Square Garden and kept a promise made to first-year Coach Gary Williams. "Last spring when 1 took the job, I didn't know what to expect," said Williams after BC defeated Providence 81-66. "But the players told me that we were going to have a good season, and they kept their word."
The Eagles' win over Providence, coupled with an 87-85 overtime victory over Georgetown before a crowd of 14,141, the largest to see a college game at Boston Garden in more than 30 years, gave BC a 12-4 Big East record and a share of first place with Villanova and St. John's. But the Eagles were awarded the top seed because they had a 3-1 record in games with the Redmen and Wildcats.
Second seed Villanova blew its chance to win the Big East title outright by losing 79-70 to Syracuse before 28,271 in the Carrier Dome and 87-71 to Georgetown in Landover, Md. Orange seniors Erich Santifer, Tony (Red) Bruin and Leo Rautins, playing their final regular-season game in the Carrier Dome, combined for 50 points, 18 rebounds and eight assists. "Saturday's another day," said Center John Pinone, who paced the 'Cats with 23 points, 19 of them in the second half. "We'll just have to go out and give it another shot."
But on Saturday the Wildcats fired nothing but blanks against Georgetown. Patrick Ewing led the Hoyas with 21 points and 15 rebounds to key a 17-2 spurt early in the second half that gave Georgetown a 62-41 lead with nine minutes to play. Nevertheless. Coach John Thompson thinks Villanova is the class of the Big East. "I still think the Wildcats are a better team than we are," said Thompson. "Villanova and St. John's are the two best teams in the conference."
Third-seeded St. John's sped to a 10-0 lead against Pitt in Alumni Hall and coasted to a 91-73 victory. David Russell scored 27 points in his final home appearance, and Chris Mullin added 20, including the 1,000th point of his career.
North Carolina needed a win at Duke to gain at least a tie for the ACC championship with Virginia and ensure itself the top seed in this week's conference tournament, and got it. North Carolina prevailed 105-81 as Michael Jordan scored 32 points and the Heels made 12 of 15 shots from outside the three-point line. Earlier, Jordan had 24 points in an 85-73 win at Georgia Tech. Ralph Sampson had 28 points and nine rebounds to pace Virginia to a 107-74 rout at Wake Forest. Then, in his final game at University Hall, Sampson got 23 points, including a foul-line jumper with four seconds left, and 10 rebounds in the Cavs' 83-81 win over Maryland.
North Carolina A&T earned a bid to the NCAA tournament by trimming Howard 71-64 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference final in Greensboro. Princeton clinched its second straight Ivy League title by upending visiting Columbia 72-56, and Fordham won the Metro Atlantic Conference crown, upsetting regular-season champ Iona 54-53 in the tournament title game.
In his pregame radio program before Indiana played Purdue in Bloomington, Hoosier Coach Bobby Knight was asked if his team might feel extra pressure with Ted Kitchel, the conference's leading scorer, out for the year following surgery on a ruptured disc in his lower back. "I don't know about that," said Knight. "A lot of players thrive on pressure. People who talk and write about games don't know anything about that. Homer once said—I think it was Homer—'I'd rather be a participator than a crier of events.' "
Whether or not Knight was right about Homer, Indiana's 64-41 thrashing of Purdue was a sad episode in the Boilermakers' odyssey. The Hoosiers held Purdue to a miserable 33.3% from the field. They then shot 69.7% in a 67-55 victory over Illinois. After that victory, Knight grabbed the public address microphone at Assembly Hall and told the crowd, "We need you one more time."
The "one more time" will be the Hoosiers' game this week against Ohio State in Bloomington for the Big Ten title, the third time in four years the Buckeyes will battle for it in front of hostile fans. If the Hoosiers win, they will clinch their first title in three years. A Buckeye victory would leave the two teams with identical 12-6 records, but Ohio State would claim the title by virtue of its sweep of the season series. Nonetheless, the prospect of once again being forced to settle the Big Ten race on the road so upset Buckeye Coach Eldon Miller that after Ohio State's 74-73 overtime loss to Illinois in Columbus he snapped, "If anybody mentions championship to me again, I just might punch him in the mouth."
Miller was no doubt still furious about his team's horrid free-throw shooting; Ohio State, which began the week as the nation's top foul-shooting team (.780), hit just 15 of 27 from the line against Illinois. The Buckeyes recovered two days later against visiting Purdue, getting 14 points apiece from Larry Huggins and Tony Campbell in a 76-65 win.
After LSU clobbered Kentucky in Baton Rouge for the second straight year, 74-60, Tiger Coach Dale Brown was thinking of food. "Oh boy, dinner is going to taste good tonight," said the ebullient Brown. The Tigers, who two weeks ago were 14-11 overall and 5-8 in the SEC, gladly would have accepted scraps from the NIT's table. But thanks to Howard Carter's 23 points against the Wildcats and eight victories in LSU's last 10 games, the Tigers are 10-8 in the SEC, seeded second in next week's conference tournament and can taste an NCAA berth. Kentucky, the tournament's top seed, opened the week with a 61-58 win at Mississippi.
A few moments after Louisville had won its 1,000th game ever, a 73-64 Metro Conference victory at Virginia Tech, Cardinal Coach Denny Crum's thoughts turned to a nationally televised rematch with Memphis State. "We've got to play well on Sunday or else we'll get thumped," Crum said. "We beat them at Memphis, and they're going to come into our place shooting for revenge."
But the Tigers must now wait until the Metro Conference tournament in Cincinnati to deal one back to the Cards. With Milt Wagner hitting a jump shot from the edge of the free-throw line with one second left in overtime, Louisville won 64-62. Louisville opened the week with a 66-58 win over Murray State while Memphis State defeated Cincinnati 84-77 and Florida State 94-67.
During his team's seven-game losing streak to Arkansas in Fayetteville, Houston Coach Guy Lewis seemed to preface every postgame comment with "C'mon guys, let's get out of here." But after a 74-66 victory over the Hogs, the Coogs lingered at Barnhill Arena long enough to cut down the nets.
Houston chopped up the Razorbacks with a 2-3 zone defense and some torrid shooting by reserve swingman Benny Anders, who scored 18 points and hit eight of nine shots from the field. Houston's 93-64 romp at Baylor, made the Cougars the first team to go through a Southwest Conference season unbeaten since Arkansas was 16-0 in 1977. Houston, 16-0, has now won 24 straight conference games, tying the record established by Rice in 1928. The Owls would undoubtedly like to have some of those wins back. An 82-55 pasting by Arkansas left them 8-19 for the season and 2-14 in the league.
Yugoslav Center Zarko Durisic hit a pair of free throws with :29 left in the second overtime to give Wichita State a 97-96 win at Bradley. The Shockers ended the regular season with a 25-3 record and won the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title, but they won't be playing in the NCAA tournament because they are on probation. "I'll always remember this team because of its cohesiveness," said senior Forward Antoine Carr. "We've been through a lot." Carr made his final homecourt performance a memorable one, scoring a school-record 47 points in a 109-83 rout of Southern Illinois.
Illinois State Coach Bob Donewald doesn't like the concept of revenge. "It's an ugly, ugly value to teach," he says. Nonetheless, the Redbirds got theirs at Creighton, shooting 61.0% from the floor to whip the Bluejays 94-63 and avenge an earlier loss in Omaha. The victory secured the top seed for the Red-birds in the MVC tournament. Earlier, Illinois State lost a 61-59 OT decision to Tulsa when the Golden Hurricane's Ricky Ross hit a layup with four seconds left.
By edging Kansas State 49-47 on Jon Sundvold's 18-foot jumper at the buzzer, Missouri became the first Big Eight team in 49 years (the conference was then known as the Big Six) to win four straight undisputed titles. "This one and the first one, we weren't supposed to win," said Tiger Guard Mark Dressier. "Oklahoma was supposed to win this one." The Sooners, who finished second to Missouri, won twice, beating Iowa State 67-65 in overtime and Kansas State 72-70.
"Our strength is playing as a team," said UCLA Coach Larry Farmer after the Bruins' 90-66 rout of Washington. "When we don't, we're very average." UCLA certainly wasn't average against the Huskies. Six Bruins, led by Darren Daye with 18 points and Kenny Fields with 17, scored in double figures. UCLA limited Washington to 43.7% shooting from the floor, and outrebounded the Huskies 44-37.
Nevada-Las Vegas was in trouble at half-time of its PCAA game at San Jose State. After the Spartans had scored six points in the final 1:47 of the half from the free-throw line, the Runnin' Rebels trailed 38-26. "I thought our chances were zero," said UNLV Coach Jerry Tarkanian later. But in the second half the Spartans fell apart, going scoreless in the final 4:30 as the Rebels won 67-61. A hustling full-court press forced San Jose State into 11 second-half turnovers, and UNLV Center Sidney Green scored 14 of his game-high 21 points after the intermission.
Cal State-Fullerton, UNLV's most formidable challenger in this week's PCAA tournament, has no illusions about an NCAA tournament invitation. "Right now, we are in a position where we will have to win the conference tournament for us to go to the NCAAs, even though we have a good record," said Point Guard Leon Wood. The Titans looked sharp in an 81-60 victory over UC-Santa Barbara, but Fresno State humbled Fullerton two nights later, 94-72.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
TERENCE STANSBURY: The junior guard made 27 of 54 field-goal tries, including six of 14 three-pointers, and 16 of 20 free throws for 76 points, leading Temple to two Atlantic 10 Conference wins.
SI TOP 20
1. VIRGINIA (25-3)
2. UCLA (22-3)
3. LOUISVILLE (27-3)
4. HOUSTON (25-2)
5. ST. JOHN'S (24-4)
6. UNLV (25-2)
7. WICHITA STATE (25-3)
8. N. CAROLINA (25-6)
9. MISSOURI (24-6)
10. INDIANA (22-5)
11. ARKANSAS (25-2)
12. KENTUCKY (21-6)
13. BOSTON COLL. (22-5)
14. VILLANOVA (21-6)
15. GEORGETOWN (20-8)
16. MEMPHIS STATE (21-6)
17. OHIO STATE (19-8)
18. OKLAHOMA (23-7)
19. VA. C'WEALTH (23-6)
20. ILLINOIS STATE (21-6)