Georgetown ran Nevada-Las Vegas out of the Capital Centre 82-46, and in so doing handed coach Jerry Tarkanian his worst defeat in 11 seasons in Las Vegas. "I never dreamed we'd get beaten this badly," Tarkanian said. "We needed intelligence out there, and we had none. We had no recognition of what they were doing. We were cold, rattled and had no poise."
Georgetown's pressure defense shut down the Runnin' Rebels' fast break. With Georgetown center Patrick Ewing dominating the middle, UNLV front-liners Richie Adams, Ed Catchings and Frank (Spoon) James made only six of 21 shots and combined for a mere 16 points, while guard Anthony Jones, who had transferred from Georgetown to Las Vegas a year ago, shot 4 for 19.
The day before Virginia's ACC opener at Duke, a letter from sophomore center Olden Polynice was delivered by his girl friend to the UVa basketball office. "I have to get away from everything for a few days to think and make some decisions...." the letter read. "The way I am right now I can't really think straight, study or play basketball." Polynice has been the focus of controversy since it was revealed on Nov. 21 that he had been acquitted, in a private student trial, of violating UVa's 142-year-old honor code. Polynice admitted to turning in as his own another student's term paper last March. A guilty verdict would have resulted in Polynice's expulsion from the university, and published reports suggested he got special treatment because he was a basketball player. Cavalier coach Terry Holland insisted that wasn't so, and, indeed, a highly placed university source told the Roanoke Times & World-News that the majority of students who are brought up on charges of Honor Code violations are acquitted. Whatever, Polynice's life, especially on the road, was miserable. Before Virginia's 68-57 win at VMI on Dec. 3, the cadets turned their backs on Polynice when he was introduced. During a 54-53 loss at William & Mary on Dec. 5, fans waved term papers and hung insulting banners. Undoubtedly, he couldn't face the Duke crowd, one of the toughest in the country on visitors. Without him, Duke whipped the Cavs 78-65. At week's end Polynice was in hiding, and no one knew when, or if, he would return.
UCLA had attracted some bad press after its 1-2 start, so coach Walt Hazzard tried firing up his Bruins for their game at Memphis State by tearing up one of the offending articles and showering the team with the resulting confetti. But no one was more pumped up than the Tigers' Keith Lee, who whipped up on the Bruins with a game-high 24 points and 15 rebounds in the Tigers' 86-70 victory. The performance capped a brilliant week for Lee. In an earlier 90-77 win over Middle Tennessee State, he had 33 points and 16 boards.
After SMU's Butch Moore hit a six-foot jumper to put the Mustangs ahead of Kentucky 56-54 with four seconds left, at least two Wildcats—center Bret Bearup and forward Kenny Walker—immediately tried to call time out. But the Cats fell short when their signals went unnoticed by the three officials working the game, and immediately thereafter Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall gave the referees an earful. A couple of days later, Hall revealed his scheme for attracting the referees' attention next time. "I guess I'll walk to midcourt before the game, when I'm still allowed outside the coaching box, and fire a little pistol with a flag that falls out and says, 'Time out.' "
When Louisiana Tech's star center Karl (Mailman) Malone picked up three fouls in the first two minutes of the Tech-Louisville game in the opening round of the Wendy's Classic at Western Kentucky, it looked as if Louisville would win without breaking a sweat. Malone scored only four points, but Willie Simmons came through with 20 points and seven blocked shots to lead Tech to a 73-64 victory over the injury-plagued Cardinals. Tech then beat the host Hilltoppers in the title game, 59-54.
Indiana's 81-68 defeat of Kentucky was not only coach Bob Knight's 400th career victory, but it also made Knight, at 44, the youngest man to reach that milestone. "Right now I feel like the oldest," said Knight, who no doubt had aged a lot during the Hoosiers' 74-63 loss to Notre Dame earlier in the week. The key to Indiana's return to form against the Wildcats may have been a man-to-man talk between Knight and 7'2" center Uwe Blab, who had been in his coach's doghouse since his disastrous opening-game performance against Louisville. Against Kentucky he scored 18 points, grabbed five rebounds and blocked three shots. "I told him that's what we were after from him," said Knight. "It wasn't like he played a perfect game, but he did play very hard." Sophomore guard Steve Al-ford scored 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting, and outperformed Kentucky's James Blackmon, whom Alford had edged out for Indiana's Mr. Basketball award in 1982-83. Blackmon was held scoreless by Indiana's '83-84 Mr. Basketball, Hoosier freshman Delray Brooks.
After Indiana's loss to the Irish, Knight complimented rival coach Digger Phelps. "Notre Dame is the kind of team I would like to play a lot during the year," said Knight. "This is what college basketball should be." The defensive stopper for the Irish was sophomore Scott Hicks, who held Alford to four points. Meanwhile, freshman point guard David Rivers of Notre Dame burned the Hoosiers for 23 points and five assists. Notre Dame's momentum couldn't carry the Irish past DePaul. The Blue Demons turned a 57-50 lead with 10:22 to play into a 75-57 margin 5:07 minutes later on the way to a 95-83 win.
While scoring 18 points in an 88-55 rout of St. Mary's of Texas, Oklahoma's Wayman Tisdale strutted his stuff before an old alumnus, actor James Garner, who sat behind the Sooner bench. Did Tisdale ask Garner to help him break into the movies? "Yes, I did," Tisdale said. "I asked him to take me to Hollywood. I acted a little bit for him, and he told me I should stick to basketball." In a 115-82 Oklahoma romp over Loyola of Chicago, he outdueled Rambler scoring machine Alfredrick Hughes 35 points to 25. Iowa State improved its record to 5-0 with victories over Drake (74-73) and archrival Iowa (54-50).
Houston upset LSU 81-73 and extended its Hofheinz Pavilion winning streak to 38 games. "I told the guys they'd been forgotten a little bit," said Houston coach Guy Lewis, whose two-time defending Southwest Conference champions were picked to finish third this season. "This was one way to get a little respect."
With all the talk about Washington's Detlef Schrempf and Christian Welp, how many people had heard of 6'5" red-shirt sophomore forward Kevin Vidato? Vidato missed his freshman year with a kidney ailment, and last season he scored a mere six points in 14 games. But after a summer spent scrimmaging against the likes of NBA stars Marques Johnson and Norm Nixon, Vidato is one more Husky for opponents to be wary of. He came off the bench to score 12 points, 10 of them in the second half, in a 68-48 victory over St. Mary's. "Thank heaven for Kevin Vidato," said his coach, Marv Harsh-man. "I don't know if a star is born, but the guy came to play." Washington had pulled out a 59-57 double-overtime victory at Texas Tech three days earlier when Paul Fortier rebounded his own missed shot and sank a 10-foot jumper with :03 left in the second OT.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
DAVID ROBINSON: The 6'11" sophomore, the tallest Navy player ever, scored 115 points, made 44 of 69 shots, had 52 rebounds and was named Saluki Shootout MVP, as the Middies split four games.
SI TOP 20
1. GEORGETOWN (5-0)
3. ILLINOIS (9-1)
4. MEMPHIS STATE (4-0)
5. ST. JOHN'S (4-0)
7. GEORGIA TECH (3-0)
8. OKLAHOMA (4-2)
9. SYRACUSE (4-0)
10. WASHINGTON (4-0)
11. ARKANSAS (3-1)
12. N.C. STATE (5-0)
13. DUKE (5-0)
14. INDIANA (2-2)
15. VIRGINIA TECH (4-0)
16. N. CAROLINA (4-0)
17. KANSAS (5-1)
19. IOWA STATE (5-0)
20. LOUISIANA TECH (5-0)