As Minnesota coach Jim Dutcher sees it, Michigan, not his Golden Gophers, was the team looking at tall odds last Thursday. How's that? Dutcher had to know that the Wolverines were top-ranked, undefeated and had handled teams better than Minnesota, which was 0-3 in the Big Ten. Why was Dutcher so confident, then?
"They had to play us here," he says, in explaining Minnesota's 73-63 win. "Our fans get involved and give us quite a lift. Our three conference losses all came on the road, you know. It's nice to come home."
Be it ever so humble, the Gophers' 12-6 overall record bears Dutcher out. Minnesota has not lost in 10 games in Williams Arena. Of course, to beat Michigan, the Gophers needed more than familiar surroundings. Guards Marc Wilson and Todd Alexander together scored 40 points on a combination of torrid outside shooting and fast-break layups. "We haven't been a great rebounding team, so our guards dug in and knocked the ball loose," said Dutcher. "Michigan does not have great team quickness."
Two days later, Michigan survived 6-for-21 shooting by vaunted guards Gary Grant and Antoine Joubert to beat Iowa 61-57. "If we're going to be a factor in the NCAA tournament," said Wolverine coach Bill Frieder, "our shooting must improve." Should Big Ten officials start throwing yellow flags at the Wolverines? Hawkeye coach George Raveling thinks so. "They have those two big tackles, Richard Rellford and Butch Wade.... But I think there are rules about holding and hand checking," said Raveling.
DePaul got a split the hard way. After hitting what coach Joey Meyer hopes was rock bottom—a 90-75 loss at home to Cleveland State—the Blue Demons regrouped to hustle a 70-61 win from visiting Alabama-Birmingham. With De-Paul guard Tony Jackson holding the Blazers' high-scoring Steve Mitchell to two field goals, Meyer won a game he wasn't supposed to. That hadn't happened in his two years as head coach. "I wanted this game more than any other," he exulted. "I was ready to play tonight. I swear I was ready to go out and play."
Halfway through its game with Syracuse at the Capital Centre last Wednesday, Georgetown looked as if it would be carrying three Big East defeats on its slate for the first time since 1982-83. Rony Seikaly, the Orangemen's second-year, 6'10" center out of Lebanon, via Greece, had put on a 20-minute clinic for his Hoya counterpart, Ralph Dalton, getting eight points and nine rebounds as Syracuse took a 34-31 halftime lead.
But grad student Dalton and his gang—fellow big men Grady Mateen, Ronnie Highsmith and Johnathan Edwards—spent the next 20 minutes preying on Seikaly's inexperience, holding him to two points and two boards. Underdog Georgetown won 73-70, but Hoya coach John Thompson refused to call it an upset. "If they come down here, we should beat them," said Thompson. Orange coach Jim Boeheim identified one of the keys to the game: "Rony got his fourth foul and stopped playing defense." Indeed. Hoya big men combined for 29 points and 15 rebounds.
Having tasted defeat for the first time this season, Syracuse wasted no time succumbing again. In Louisville Saturday, with a national TV audience and a host of pro scouts pumping up the home team, the Cardinals dumped the Orange 83-73. Louisville's Milt-(Ice) Wagner made seven of his eight first-half shots. Seikaly had two points and no boards in the first 20 minutes. Wagner, who missed last season because of a fractured foot, has shaken off his early-season rust. He has hit 22 of his last 27 shots. The Cards, whose four losses came on the road against highly ranked Kansas, St. John's, Kentucky and Memphis State by an average of five points, are a team to watch closely.
It looked like a typesetter's goof. At No. 20 on the NCAA's list of Division II scoring leaders last week, averaging 21.1 points per game, was Morris Brown of New York Tech. Just behind him was Jeff Brown of Morris Brown, a college in Atlanta. None of the Browns are related.
"It's always kind of hot when we play Florida," said Georgia forward Chad Kessler. He wasn't talking about the temperature. Seven minutes into the second half of the Bulldogs' 89-69 midweek walkaway at Athens, the teams put basketball aside for several minutes to rumble. After Georgia's Patrick Hamilton was ejected for aiming a retaliatory elbow at Gator center Vernon Maxwell's face, the brawl erupted. "It wasn't like a baseball fight, where everybody runs out and bumps chests," said Bulldog coach Hugh Durham. "There were some real punches thrown." Some real ones landed, too. Georgia's David Dunn, blindsided by Florida's Ken McClary as he squared off with Maxwell, needed three stitches inside his mouth.
As Dunn and McClary traded shots, Georgia's leading scorer, Joe Ward, a lay minister, tried to make peace. For his efforts he was punched under the right eye and flung to the floor. Ward got up, says one observer, "swinging like Sugar Ray Leonard." At week's end, SEC commissioner Boyd McWhorter was still reviewing film of the melee. "We haven't ruled out suspensions," he said, mindful of the rash of violence on college basketball courts this season. "This is not something our conference wants to get a reputation for."
Pity Maryland, surely the country's best six-loss team. In the course of 11 days, the Terps lost to No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Georgia Tech and No. 5 Duke, by a total of 11 points. After breaking Carolina's press and pressing surprisingly well itself for 35 minutes—and leading by as many as nine points—the Terrapins, as has come to be expected of them, went belly-up, losing 71-67. Maryland coach Charles G. Driesell, who took extra time to compose himself before addressing the media, is now 8-31 against Dean Smith. "I hate to lose," said Driesell. "I'm 54 years old, and I despise it."
Just in time, Cincinnati's 6'7" senior captain, Myron Hughes, arose from a long winter's nap. Having scored all of 19 points in his previous four games, Hughes—whose starting job was in jeopardy—stung Virginia Tech for a career-high 30 points in the Bearcats' 107-104 double-overtime upset.
Oregon State's Jose Ortiz, and Washington's Christian Welp together made a strong case for imported centers. Playing each other straight up on Saturday, Ortiz, the 6'10" Puerto Rican, and Welp, the 7-foot West German, had 31 and 27 points, 10 and 13 rebounds, respectively. The Huskies prevailed 73-72 and took the Pac 10 lead—largely because Welp had better timing. He waited until the second half to score all but four of his points. Ortiz, battling the flu as well as Welp, wilted and could muster only four points in the final nine minutes.
At Southern Cal on Thursday, Arizona forward Joe Turner stood alone at the foul line for two shots with no time left and the Wildcats trailing 63-61. Blocking out the screaming, arm-waving USC partisans behind the basket, Turner put up the first one. It banked in. "That didn't help my confidence any," said Turner, who confessed that he hadn't intended to bank it. His next one clanged off the iron, sealing the win for USC. Two nights later, though, Arizona got to win a cliffhanger, edging Miami (Fla.) 81-74 in overtime.
Three alumni of Corona del Sol High in Tempe, Ariz, are helping make Northern Arizona the toast of the Big Sky Conference. In the Lumberjacks' 84-75 victory over Nevada-Reno, their first win over the Wolf Pack in 11 tries, 6'5" senior swingman Andy Hurd (Corona, Class of '82) hit for 23 points. David Duane, a 6'1" forward (Corona, '83), added 12 points and 10 rebounds, while classmate and point guard Harry Payne—who played small forward at Corona—had 10 assists.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
NORRIS COLEMAN: In his first two Big Eight games, Kansas State's 6'8" freshman forward had 71 points, 27 rebounds and five blocks as KSU lost to Iowa State 77-73 and beat Colorado in OT 77-69.
1. N. CAROLINA (19-0)
2. GEORGIA TECH (15-1)
3. MICHIGAN (17-1)
4. MEMPHIS STATE (17-0)
5. DUKE (16-1)
6. KANSAS (16-2)
7. OKLAHOMA (17-0)
8. ST. JOHN'S (17-2)
9. KENTUCKY (14-2)
11. LOUISVILLE (11-4)
12. GEORGETOWN (13-3)
13. SYRACUSE (13-2)
15. PURDUE (16-3)
16. VIRGINIA TECH (14-3)
17. BRADLEY (18-1)
18. NOTRE DAME (10-2)
20. INDIANA (11-4)