After North Carolina massacred Manhattan 129-45 in the first round of the Miami Orange Bowl Tournament, Jaspers coach Tom Sullivan deadpanned, "They might have caught us looking ahead to the championship game."
The 84-point margin was Manhattan's worst loss ever, by 25 points, and the Tar Heels' most one-sided win, by 15. Brown provided a sterner test for UNC in the final as the champion Heels escaped with a 115-63 victory. Counting an earlier win over The Citadel, UNC has outscored its last three opponents 348-159. Coach Dean Smith complained that he hadn't known in advance "who was going to be in the tournament. I never dreamed anything like this would happen." The Tar Heels begin ACC play Jan. 4 against N.C. State, and Smith, for one, can't wait. "I'm not sure there's anything we can gain from games like these."
Earlier, Jacksonville fans did more than wave their hands to distract the Heels in a 69-65 Dolphins loss. When Kenny Smith, UNC's best-ever free-throw shooter, went to the foul line in the second half, a curvaceous young woman ran behind the basket and opened her overcoat. She was clad, barely, in a bathing suit. Smith made both shots.
How nerve-racking was N.C. State's 80-73 upset of UNLV in the Chaminade Classic in Hawaii? When things heated up late in the game, coach Jim Valvano stood up too suddenly—and fainted. Valvano, who says he has swooned before, was revived almost immediately and stayed on the bench. Even in fainting he apparently maintained his presence of mind. He said later, "I was worried about landing outside the coach's box and getting a technical."
Far be it from Louisville's Denny Crum to criticize an official. He did, however, have this to say after his Cards traveled across the state and lost to Kentucky, 69-64, for the third time in four games since resuming their rivalry in 1983: "I wish I had a whistle." Louisville was called for 22 fouls, the host Wildcats only 12. "They called them the way they saw them, but I don't have to agree," said Crum, tight-lipped.
Kentucky's 6'8" forward Kenny Walker looks more like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with each passing week. Not only does Walker, who had 11 points against Louisville, have a respectable sky hook, but after suffering his third minor eye injury earlier this season, he also sports the same praying-mantis-like protective goggles favored by Abdul-Jabbar.
In a nationally televised 85-70 imbroglio during which fans threw ice cubes on the court and DePaul coach Joey Meyer earned his first career technical, Georgetown served the Blue Demons their worst Rosemont Horizon defeat ever. The Hoyas may also have rung in the beginning of the end for DePaul—again. Last December, after being blown out by Georgetown in Landover, Md., the previously undefeated Deacons went spiraling south, finishing a disappointing 19-10. Would it happen again?
"How we respond to losing is the key to our season," said Meyer after the Georgetown game. That warning inspired his players to new levels of listlessness. They bowed 71-56 to Purdue two nights later. Giving away up to six inches to his opponents, Boilermaker Doug Lee, at 6'5" one of the stubbier forwards in the Big Ten, helped himself to a career-high 13 rebounds. Then, in the first round of the Cotton States Classic, DePaul choked on a 12-point lead with less than nine minutes left to lose to Navy 67-64.
Kansas' hooligans have more cash than DePaul's, it would seem. Or maybe they have less ice. In the second half of the Jayhawks' 89-78 win over Arkansas, coach Larry Brown had to scold fans over the P.A. system for throwing coins at officials. "Let the kids play," he implored. And oh, how Danny Manning did. The sophomore forward piled up 24 points, six steals, seven rebounds and one mouse—a slight bruise over his right eye, courtesy of a Hog elbow.
The same Georgetown outfit that a shell-shocked Meyer called "one hell of a basketball team" proceeded south to El Paso, where it did not play like one. UTEP outrebounded the Hoyas, made critical free throws and won 78-64. The Miners, like Georgetown, are now 9-1, and they have not lost since dropping their opener to Washington 82-53. The loss to UTEP was Georgetown's worst in three years (the Hoyas' three defeats last season were by a combined five points). Georgetown coach John Thompson was philosophical in defeat. "I'm not going to beat our kids or make them run up hills," he said. "We've still got nine wins and we've got a real good team."
Freddie Banks's last-second, 20-foot jump shot was right on, lifting UNLV past Alabama-Birmingham 73-72 for the Holiday Classic title in Las Vegas. It had been a Banks elbow early in the first half that floored Blazer sophomore forward Bruce Baker. Incensed at the officials' failure to call a foul, UAB coach Gene Bartow earned himself a technical. Another T was called on the Blazer bench. Banks (who else?) hit three of the four freebies.
UAB's star guard, Steve Mitchell, with 18 points, seven boards and six assists, was named the tournament MVP. Still, it was over Mitchell's outstretched, most valuable arm that Banks arched the game winner.
Houston coach Guy Lewis knew what he was doing when he tried to back out of the Toledo Blade-Glass City Classic. Disaster did, in fact, await the Cougars. Toledo, long respected for its giant-killing ways, dispatched Houston 80-74. In keeping with the spirit of Christmas, Houston forward Rickie Winslow had a decidedly silent night—eight points, 10 below his average—thanks to the defensive straitjacket provided by Toledo center Andy Fisher. Let the Rockets never stand accused of consistency, however. They fell the next night, 76-51, to Eastern Michigan, which had hardly distinguished itself earlier this season in a 50-point loss to Cleveland State.
Senior guard Ron Harper's 36 points, including four key free throws in overtime, helped another Mid-American Conference team, Miami of Ohio, upend powerful Virginia Tech 83-82 in the first round of South Florida's holiday tournament. In true topsy-turvy MAC style, the Redskins followed that with a 76-63 fold before the host Bulls.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
FREDDIE BANKS: UNLV's junior guard made two all-tournament teams in five days, scored 64 points in four games, sank 14 of 15 free throws and hit on a last-second 20-foot jumper to beat UAB 73-72.
1. MICHIGAN (11-0)
2. GEORGIA TECH (9-1)
3. N. CAROLINA (12-0)
4. DUKE (10-0)
5. KANSAS (12-1)
6. LSU (11-0)
7. SYRACUSE (7-0)
8. GEORGETOWN (9-1)
9. MEMPHIS STATE (11-0)
10. OKLAHOMA (11-0)
11. ILLINOIS (8-2)
12. KENTUCKY (8-1)
13. ST. JOHN'S (12-1)
14. LOUISVILLE (6-3)
15. ARKANSAS (8-2)
16. UNLV (11-2)
17. UAB (12-2)
18. INDIANA (8-2)
19. MARYLAND (7-2)
20. UTEP (9-1)
*Two weeks ago