For two years, ever since Indiana thrashed his first Ohio State team 122-92, OSU's young Coach Fred Taylor has been nursing the wound. Last week the pain disappeared when his Big Ten leaders humiliated the helpless Hoosiers 100-65. The talented Buckeyes, operating as grimly and as efficiently as a team of surgeons, expertly picked apart Indiana with screens and deft ball handling. And the most expert of them all was deadpan Jerry Lucas, who plunked in 34 points on a stunning assortment of hooks, tap-ins and lay-ups. Big Luke's touch was even better against Michigan State, and he scored 48 as Ohio State won 83-68. But the bruised Hoosiers were still hurting. They were beaten by Iowa, a team which had lost four of its five regulars through ineligibility, 74-67.
Kansas and Kansas State were all tied up in the Big Eight. The Jayhawks pounced on Colorado 88-65 and survived Nebraska's tortoiselike pace to win 38-33, while K-State squeaked by Iowa State 66-65 on Al Peithman's late basket. Bradley lost its third straight, to Drake 86-76, and gave up the Missouri Valley lead to streaking Cincinnati when the Bearcats beat St. Louis 61-52. The top three:
1. OHIO STATE (18-0)
2. CINCINNATI (17-3)
3. KANSAS STATE (15-3)
Even a gambling man would have hesitated to take 100-to-1 odds on it happening, but it did. First, North Carolina State upset Duke 61-59 on lanky sub Terry Litchfield's jumper with two seconds to play. Then, last-place South Carolina surprised North Carolina 89-82. Meanwhile idle Wake Forest fell into the Atlantic Coast lead. But the Deacons' stay was brief. Duke shot a withering 70% in first half, Johnny Frye and Art Heyman pumped in 56 points, and the Blue Devils tumbled Wake Forest 100-90. Two days later North Carolina's Doug Moe held Len Chappell to one field goal in the last 26 minutes, and the Tar Heels rode York Larese's 30 points and Moe's 25 to a 93-78 victory over the Deacons.
Mississippi State beat Tulane 73-59 and Tennessee 72-67 to hold the SEC lead. West Virginia went to its zone press again to beat Richmond 93-88 and clinch the Southern Conference title. Eastern Kentucky beat Louisville 80-74 for the Maroons' 31st straight at Richmond, Ky. The top three:
1. DUKE (17-2)
2. NORTH CAROLINA (15-4)
3. MISSISSIPPI STATE (16-3)
For the first time, the Southwest Conference had a clear-cut favorite. Precocious Texas Tech (its preseason chances were hardly more than a gleam in Coach Polk Robison's eye) was suddenly two games ahead of the field. But the pushy Red Raiders had to rally brilliantly to get there. Trailing Arkansas by 14 points with 12 minutes to go, they muzzled the Razorbacks with a zealous zone defense while big Harold Hudgens took over the boards and the scoring, and finally won 72-66. SMU's Mustangs were just as ornery, but only until Hudgens and little Del Ray Mounts scattered them with precise shooting. Then it was easy, and Tech went on to an 88-67 victory. Meanwhile, Texas and Texas A&M bumbled. The Longhorns lost to SMU 70-63, and the Aggies were upset by TCU 68-66.
Houston, with an NCAA bid safely tucked away, swamped North Texas State 86-57 and Oklahoma City 107-78. Border leader Arizona State outran Hardin-Simmons 97-76 for its sixth straight, while New Mexico State beat Texas Western 107-79. The top three:
1. HOUSTON (15-6)
2. TEXAS TECH (10-7)
3. ARKANSAS (12-5)
Two more teams discovered that trying to beat St. Bonaventure is a lot like trying to spear an eel. The elusive Bonnies just won't hold still. Tennessee State, the nation's No. 1 small-college team, ran with them for a while, but Tom Stith and Fred Crawford scored 69 points between them, and St. Bonaventure won 104-87 for its 98th straight at Olean. Boston College was even less fortunate and lost 103-69.
St. John's, shooting more accurately and defending more tenaciously than usual, beat Loyola 98-74 and Syracuse 95-60. St. Joseph's coasted past LaSalle 65-54, Elizabethtown 98-65 and Lafayette 93-77. But Providence, caught looking ahead to a game with St. Bonaventure, was brought up short by little Rhode Island 78-76. And Rhody got an added bonus—the Yankee Conference lead—when Connecticut beat Maine 73-60. Yale upset Ivy leader Princeton 72-69; West Virginia's rattling zone press killed off NYU 75-60; Memphis State defeated Villanova 78-74. The top three:
1. ST. BONAVENTURE (18-1)
2. ST. JOHN'S (13-4)
3. ST. JOSEPH'S (15-4)
Stanford's Howie Dallmar, one of the dedicated West Coast clan that firmly believes ball control is the only way to play the game, wasn't quite so sure after he watched USC's husky John Rudometkin score 22 points to lead the Trojans past his Indians 63-57. Next night Dallmar switched to a free-wheeling attack built around Center John Windsor (who scored 30 points), and Stanford upset unsuspecting UCLA 79-66 to move USC a step nearer the Big Five title.
Loyola, too, was getting closer to home in the West Coast AC The Lions beat Santa Clara 65-60 as Ed Bento cracked the Bronc zone for 27 points, then burst past San Jose State 55-46. In the Skyline, Utah defeated Montana 76-55 to keep Colorado State U., which beat Denver 52-45 and New Mexico 90-61, at arm's length. But Utah State provided most of the excitement. Stirred up by Coach Cec Baker's resignation (effective at the end of the season), the Aggies whomped Brigham Young 94-73. The top three:
1. USC (16-3)
2. UTAH (15-5)
3. UCLA (13-5)
BACKHAND FLIP by St. Mary's Tom Meschery catches San Francisco's Bob Gaillard by surprise, but USF won 53-51.