THE TOP THREE:
1. VILLANOVA (16-1)
2. ST. BONAVENTURE (12-3)
3. PROVIDENCE (13-3)
Nobody has ever been more perplexed by NYU's failure to overwhelm its opponents than Coach Lou Rossini. He has been pilloried, hanged in effigy and blamed for almost everything, including Barry Kramer's ailing ankle. But last week there seemed to be some hope for his free-lancing super-shooters. Kramer was still shooting fitfully, but Happy Hairston got help from Stan McKenzie and Ray Bennett as NYU bombed Santa Clara 79-64 and escaped from Army's bruising defense to beat the Cadets 88-66.
Except for VILLANOVA'S multitalented stars, who rolled blithely over American U. 84-49 and Detroit 79-70 (see page 26), and PROVIDENCE, which skimped past Creighton 80-77, Santa Clara 82-71 and Rhode Island 83-76 (for its ninth in a row), the teams in the East looked like a potpourri of mediocrity. ST. BONAVENTURE, thrashed by DETROIT 111-81 in the Midwest, trounced Santa Clara 75-54 in Buffalo. St. Joseph's, upset by Penn 66-51, was thumped soundly by LA SALLE 80-70. PRINCETON'S Bill Bradley was held to four field goals by Penn's aggressive defense, but the Tigers won anyway, 65-52, to share the Ivy League lead with Cornell.
But ST. JOHN'S Joe Lapchick, who has not had many cheery moments this year, was pleased with his young Redmen. Attacking patiently, defending stubbornly and even fighting off a late press, they upset Creighton 64-60 and beat Niagara 83-67.
THE TOP THREE:
1. DAVIDSON (16-1)
2. KENTUCKY (15-2)
3. VANDERBILT (14-2)
Just when it looked as if Davidson would get a chance to protect its unbeaten record in an extra period, WEST VIRGINIA'S Marty Lentz let fly with "sort of an underhand turnabout shot" from 45 feet. The desperation heave appeared to be short as the buzzer sounded. But Davidson's 6-foot-9 Fred Hetzel leaped up over the rim, came down clutching the ball and got hit with a goal-tending call for his totally unnecessary trouble. That cost Davidson the game, 75-73. Said Hetzel plaintively, "If I had it to do over again, I'd never have left my feet."
But Hetzel, like the good center he is, did get off his feet often enough to stuff in 36 points as vengeful DAVIDSON poured it on poor VMI 129-91. West Virginia, however, was coming on in the Southern Conference. The Mountaineers also beat Virginia Tech 81-73 to take second place.
There was room at the top for almost anyone in the unpredictable Southeastern Conference. First Georgia Tech, then Tennessee and Vanderbilt were knocked out of the lead, leaving KENTUCKY in a first-place tie with LSU, a most unlikely preseason candidate. TENNESSEE knocked off Georgia Tech 83-63 but lost to GEORGIA 79-67, and all three were tied for second. Vanderbilt was surprised by AUBURN, 81-63. Kentucky, meanwhile, put down Florida 77-72, and LSU slipped past Mississippi State 87-71 and Mississippi 77-67.
Duke had no problems, temporarily, in the ACC. The Blue Devils easily beat South Carolina 80-67 and, just to show off their scoring muscles, whomped Navy 121-65.
THE TOP THREE:
1. MICHIGAN (15-1)
2. WICHITA (16-3)
3. LOYOLA (14-3)
Michigan's Bloody Nose Lane must have seemed like a garden path to Ohio State's Gary Bradds after he survived a savage blood-letting at MICHIGAN STATE. Bradds put away 48 points and then totted up his assorted miseries: a three-stitch cut over his left eye, blackened right eye, bruised nose, head injury and a 102-99 defeat for the Bucks. "That," said Bradds, "has to be the roughest game I ever played in."
But Michigan State's bruisers were never in the game when they played MICHIGAN. Fancy Cazzie Russell and Bill Buntin led the Spartans a merry chase and beat them handily, 95-79. ILLINOIS stayed in the Big Ten race by edging Northwestern 73-71.
Wichita, like almost everybody else these days, took Cincinnati in the Missouri Valley. The Shockers rattled in eight points in the last two minutes to win 62-59. Then TULSA pounded Cincy 74-58 for the Bearcats' fifth straight loss, DRAKE rallied to beat Bradley 63-61 while ST. LOUIS edged North Texas State 57-55 on sub Bob Clark's foul shots. OKLAHOMA STATE sailed on in the Big Eight, beating Iowa State 67-53.
Loyola beat Dayton 70-56, then, with Vic Rouse back to help with the rebounding and scoring, bludgeoned Western Michigan 101—64 and Iowa 85-71. But De Paul's unbeaten record went down the drain. Without injured Emmette Bryant to control the offense, the Demons lost to LOUISVILLE 83-79.
THE TOP THREE:
1. TEXAS WESTERN (17-2)
2. HOUSTON (13-7)
3. TEXAS A&M (9-5)
Houston Coach Guy Lewis does not consider himself an innovator in basketball, but he raised a few eyebrows when he had seven of his players hypnotized before the game with Texas A&M (see page 8). They responded nobly, trimming the more conventional Aggies 73-65 for their eighth straight. But two nights later, with their psyches unprotected, the Cougars lost to NORTH TEXAS STATE 66-65.
Happily for TEXAS A & M, Rice did not resort to scientific folderol—only some misguided strategy. The Owls rigged their defenses to stop A&M's Bennie Lenox and forgot about 6-foot-8 sophomore John Beasley. Shooting mostly from the corner, Beasley put in 22 points, and the Aggies won 74-70 to hold the Southwest Conference lead. A&M had plenty of challengers but, oddly enough, defending champion Texas was not among them. The Longhorns lost their third game, to TEXAS TECH 94-90, putting the Raiders in a second-place tie with SMU, which beat TCU 79-69, and ARKANSAS, a 74-70 winner over Baylor.
Arizona State, a disappointment all year, suddenly stopped playing giveaway, began shooting judiciously and rebounding purposefully, and broke Texas Western's 16-game winning streak, 58-56.
THE TOP THREE:
1. UCLA (17-0)
2. OREGON STATE (18-3)
3. UTAH (17-3)
There was just no stopping UCLA, the nation's only remaining major unbeaten team. After a two-week layoff for exams, the quick-slick Bruins took on one of their chesty kid brothers—California at Santa Barbara—and they rarely looked sharper. Tricky Walt Hazzard dazzled the overmatched Gauchos with sleight-of-hand passes, Gail Goodrich shot superbly from outside (for 21 and 31 points) and UCLA romped, 107-76 and 87-59.
Oregon State, while not quite so devastating, was almost as hard to contain. Seattle, figuring that no matter what it did it could not hope to stop the Beavers' 7-foot Mel Counts, decided to concentrate on OSU's backcourters, Frank Peters and Jim Jarvis. It was a futile gesture. Counts, as expected, roamed inside for 31 points, but Peters shot for 21, Jarvis for 18 and Oregon State won 85-79. The next night Washington tried a sagging defense against the eager Beavers. It sagged in too many places. Counts slipped away for 28 points, and the Huskies succumbed, 67-59.
The last time UTAH played Utah State the Redskins ganged up on the Aggies' big front line and got killed by their free-roaming guards. Last Saturday Coach Jack Gardner put his team into a strict man-to-man, and Utah State's guards got only six points. Utah set up deep picks for little Doug Moon, and he gratefully obliged with 28 points. When the frustrated Aggies moved out to get Moon, Skip Kroeger darted through for layups and little left-handed jumpers, and Utah won, 79-67.