Basketball arouses strong feelings in players, coaches and spectators. (The one picture above should be worth any thousand words I could say on this subject.) It also seems to arouse nothing but scorn in a minority of dedicated detractors among sportswriters. Among the eminently dedicated is the able and veteran Shirley Povich, sports columnist of the Washington Post and Times Herald.
Ever willing to provide a platform for a sincere dissent, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED next week, in its second special College Basketball Issue, is therefore happy to present Mr. Povich's point of view: Basketball Is for the Birds.
Sports Illustrated is equally happy to disagree with Mr. Povich. If we didn't, none of the following articles and features would appear in next week's issue.
•Scouting reports on the major college conferences and the independent teams. Drawn from direct observation by Basketball Editor Jeremiah Tax and correspondents in the field, as well as from analyses especially prepared by coaches of each team, the reports cover 180 teams, including all those eligible for the NCAA championship.
•An instructional section on the art of defense by La Salle's Dudey Moore, with illustrations by Daniel Schwartz. Although defense is a comparatively neglected aspect of college basketball, it is, as pro teams will attest, one thing Moore graduates know when they begin to play for pay. This is the essence of what they know.
•A story in pictures of the game which our editors pick as last season's most exciting: Cincinnati-Kansas State.
•Five paintings by Russell Hoban of the dream team: a conception of what each player might look like if he had all the physical and psychological attributes his position most calls for.
•An article on his basketball philosophy by the man whom SPORTS ILLUSTRATED quoted as saying (SI, Dec. 16), "I don't give a damn what anybody says about me or my methods." He is, of course, the coach with the winningest record in the game, Adolph Rupp of the University of Kentucky. Next week, with every evidence that he does, indeed, give a damn, he accepts SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S invitation to give his answer.