Cincinnati is at it again; two straight titles and not a sign of a respite for rivals. Virginia tried a zone defense, but Ron Bonham scattered it with 30 points and the Bearcats won 91-42. Miami of Ohio attempted a slower approach, and only lost 58-36. George Washington decided on a fast break, and wound up losing 86-59. Cincinnati's Missouri Valley rivals played hopefully on. St. Louis lost 84-59 to Ohio State, then beat Kansas State 59-57. Bradley was an 87-81 winner over Butler and Wichita, after a 79-69 loss to Colorado, beat Purdue 79-59.
Big Ten coaches who thought they were rid of Ohio State when the Buckeyes lost Jerry Lucas had better take another look. The fresh young Bucks, led by Center Gary Bradds, beat St. Louis and Virginia (70-46), then took on highly ranked West Virginia. When the Mountaineers made the mistake of going to a zone defense in the second half the alert Buckeyes rebounded better, began shooting and won looking strong, 76-69. Illinois and Iowa stayed unbeaten and Minnesota surprised Kansas State 73-62. But Indiana and Wisconsin were beaten.
Colorado, the Big Eight champion, was off to a good start, but the Buffs had a watchful eye on Oklahoma. Under their new coach, Bob Stevens, the once deliberate Sooners were running hard, outsprinting SMU 96-83 and St. John's 84-65. Among the independents, Loyola drubbed North Dakota State 110-56, Marquette beat Wake Forest 87-72 and Texas Western 77-65, Notre Dame outscored Michigan State 92-85, St. Francis (Pa.) 101-70 and Valparaiso 102-90. The top three:
1. CINCINNATI (4-0)
2. OHIO STATE (4-0)
3. LOYOLA (2-0)
Kentucky's Adolph Rupp was beginning to wonder about his Wildcats. First, they lost their home opener, an almost unheard-of absurdity, and last Saturday they had a frantic struggle against inexperienced Temple at Philadelphia. Cotton Nash, hobbling around on a severely bruised heel, could manage only three field goals and the Owls, led by Gary Kasmer's 19 points, stayed with the Wildcats until the last 82 seconds. Then rookie Randy Embry plunked in a jump shot, Scotty Baesler converted two free throws and Kentucky was in, 56-52.
Although the season was barely a week old, some of the usual eastern leaders were already soundly beaten and nobody looked very forbidding. St. John's, Providence, Holy Cross and Manhattan—upset by St. Peter's, 65-52—all lost. St. Joseph's was still winning, over Hofstra 70-64 and Albright 75-61, but the hustling Hawks may soon have some competition for their No. 1 spot. NYU, down to eight players after Happy Hairston was declared ineligible, still had Barry Kramer and he scored 42 points to lead the Violets past Georgetown 85-65. Seton Hall's Nick Werkman was up to his old scoring ways. He pumped in 37 and 42 points as his team beat St. Anselm's 90-70 and Loyola of Baltimore 75-57. Duquesne, even without Willie Somerset, who is lost for the season, was good enough to beat Kent State 62-50 and St. Francis (Pa.) 67-59. Princeton also looked menacing enough to challenge St. Joe's. Sophomore Bill Bradley (see page 48) lived up to his notices as the Tigers overpowered Villanova 68-53 and Army 71-54. The top three:
1. ST. JOSEPH'S (3-0)
2. TEMPLE (2-1)
3. PRINCETON (3-0)
It is going to take more than mere strategy to beat Duke in the ACC. South Carolina tried to do it with ball control and a zone defense, and all it got for its trouble was a 95-63 pasting. Sophomore Guards Ron Herbster and Denny Ferguson swarmed all over the Gamecocks, and Art Heyman shot over them for 28 points. Maryland was even less troublesome. Heyman got 32 points, Jeff Mullins put in 21, and Duke won 92-56. North Carolina and Wake Forest took conference victories, too. The Tar Heels beat Clemson 64-48 and South Carolina 75-65; Wake Forest trimmed North Carolina State 66-58.
While Kentucky was off to a slow start, there was no noticeable shortage of contenders in the SEC. If anything, there was an abundance. Mississippi State overwhelmed Arkansas A&M 90-55, Louisiana Tech 80-61 and Northeast Louisiana 79-56. Auburn shuffled deftly past Howard 69-50 and Florida State 65-47, while Georgia Tech, sporting a new double-pivot, surprised Furman 80-79 and SMU 73-56. Even Tennessee, playing new Coach Ray Mears's crowding defense and disciplined offense for all they were worth, looked good enough to give the favorites trouble. The Vols turned up with two sharp shots in Danny Schultz and A. L. Davis and beat Rice 75-52 and Xavier 63-48.
The Southern Conference race was already down to two teams—West Virginia, which outscored VMI 100-74 before heading for its comeuppance at Columbus, and Virginia Tech's Gobblers, who survived some unexpected resistance to beat Richmond 76-68 and William and Mary 77-71 in overtime.
Coach Ed Diddle, who has sent many a towel soaring in his 41 years at Western Kentucky, had good reason to joyously engage in his hobby last week when his team flattened Texas Wesleyan 101-66 for Diddle's 750th coaching victory. The top three:
1. DUKE (3-0)
2. MISSISSIPPI STATE (3-0)
3. WEST VIRGINIA (2-1)
There is no place like home in the Southwest. Rice, TCU, Baylor, SMU, Texas A&M and Texas Tech were all battered on the road. Only Texas and Arkansas survived. The tall and sprightly Longhorns ran over East Texas 71-38 and beat Tulane 81-72. Arkansas held off Kansas 64-62 in overtime and beat Missouri 70-61.
Houston blew an early lead but scrambled back on the shooting of big Lyle Harger (20 points) and little Chet Oliver to squeeze past Nebraska 68-61, then overcame Baylor 70-61. Arizona State beat Whittier 94-63, Fresno State 89-61 and Pepperdine 83-71. But Arizona grabbed the biggest prize. The Wildcats got in front of Wisconsin, and then stalled their way to a 51-46 upset victory. The top three:
1. HOUSTON (3-0)
2. ARIZONA STATE (3-0)
3. TEXAS (3-0)
Oregon State's 7-foot Mel Counts did everything that was expected of him. He lofted in soft jumpers and dunked layups for 31 points. He gathered in 23 rebounds like a giant octopus. But still the Beavers couldn't beat Seattle. One reason was the absence of Guard Terry Baker who is still with OSU's bowl-bound football team. Another was "Sweet Charlie" Williams, a swift sophomore who set off the Chieftains' fast break, fed his teammates, stole the ball on defense and scored 14 points as Seattle won 60-58. State had better luck the next night. Counts got 31 again and the Beavers whipped Washington 57-45. Meanwhile, Seattle beat Idaho State 85-66.
Stanford and, surprisingly, California opened strong. Stanford beat St. Mary's 81-72 and Utah 81-50 while Cal breezed past St. Mary's 77-63 and San Francisco 62-57. But UCLA had its troubles. The Bruins lost to Colorado 82-60 and Colorado State 66-65 in overtime. The top three:
1. STANFORD (2-0)
2. COLORADO STATE (3-0)
3. SEATTLE (2-0)