THE TOP THREE:
1. MICHIGAN (16-2)
2. WICHITA (17-4)
3. DRAKE (14-4)
Ohio State's Fred Taylor was saying one day last week, "If somebody doesn't beat Michigan pretty soon, all of a sudden they'll be champions." So he sent his big young Bucks out to swarm all over the brawny Wolverines every time they got the ball. He also put them into a weave to set up screens for Gary Bradds. Bradds got 42 points, and Ohio State won 86-85. But MICHIGAN did not stay beaten very long. Bill Buntin and classy Cazzie Russell shot for 37 and 28 points and Illinois, which earlier had been upset by INDIANA 104-96, went down, 93-82. Ohio State came back to beat Indiana 98-96 in overtime as Bradds scored 40 points.
Wichita, after taking Loyola 65-60 for its 11th straight, was brought up short by BRADLEY at Peoria. A hustling, sniping defense and Leon Hall's last-second shot did in the Shockers 76-74. But DRAKE was hot on Wichita's trail in the Missouri Valley. With McCoy McLemore grabbing almost every rebound in sight, the Bulldogs beat St. Louis 70-57.
Kansas State's Tex Winter and Colorado's Sox Walseth, who had changed their offenses and defenses almost every time the ball changed hands, looked for new ideas when their teams went into overtime at Boulder. Winter wandered through the crowd while Walseth sprinted along the sidelines talking to the officials. Winter's strategy worked better. K-State won 60-59 to take second place behind Oklahoma State in the Big Eight.
THE TOP THREE:
1. TEXAS WESTERN (18-2)
2. TEXAS A&M (11-5)
3. HOUSTON (14-7)
Texas A&M was still winning—and leading—in the Southwest Conference, but the Aggies were giving Coach Shelby Metcalf fits. They trailed Baylor 34-28 at half time before Bennie Lennox perked them up with his good outside shooting (for 20 points) and led them past the Bears 83-58. Arkansas, too, had A&M down at the half and then let the Aggies get away. They won 72-64.
But A&M was not yet out of the woods. The Aggies were headed for a showdown with second-place TEXAS TECH at Lubbock. Tech, running and shooting merrily in Coach Gene Gibson's "quail" offense ("we just get the ball and scatter," explains Gibson), had won nine of its last 10 games. Last week Dub Malaise, a skinny little sophomore, and Harold Denney wrecked TCU 90-74 with 53 points; then Malaise pushed in five points near the end and SMU lost, 85-83.
Texas Western, meanwhile, was busy proving that a team does not have to run to win. The Miners, the nation's No. 3 defensive team, went up against New Mexico, the country's best on defense, and out-defensed the Lobos 62-60. OKLAHOMA CITY took St. Louis 80-75 and Denver 77-57, while HOUSTON routed Trinity 74-57.
THE TOP THREE:
1. UCLA (19-0)
2. OREGON STATE (20-3)
3. UTAH (18-3)
UCLA, brash and unbeaten, looked the part of a winner as it romped over California 87-67 in Berkeley last Friday. Walt Hazzard's flashy passes set off the Bruins' withering fast break, and he and Gail Goodrich shot over the frustrated Bears for 47 points. The next night Cal set out to guard Hazzard with or without the ball, and it almost worked. The Bears refused to succumb to UCLA's zone press, big Camden Wall began to hit from the pivot and soon the Bruins were in trouble. UCLA barely won, 58-56.
Oregon State, however, rarely looked better. With Mel Counts stuffing in points and picking off rebounds and Jim Jarvis and Frank Peters booming in shots from outside, the eager Beavers whomped Portland 97-68 and 95-61. SAN FRANCISCO, an early-season disappointment, was coming on strong in the West Coast AC. The Dons beat San Jose 64-47 and California at Santa Barbara 73-65 for their ninth straight.
Utah's Dennis Couch is alleged to be one of the worst shooting centers in college ball. To prove it, he missed his first nine shots against Brigham Young. Then, with 18 seconds to go in overtime, he blithely flung in a looper from the key and Utah won 91-89. Groused BYU Coach Stan Watts, "I guess it's better to be lucky than good."
THE TOP THREE:
1. DAVIDSON (18-1)
2. KENTUCKY (17-2)
3. VANDERBILT (17-2)
It was like old times in the Southeastern Conference. Everybody was gunning for KENTUCKY, and Adolph Rupp's frisky Wildcats just kept on winning, over Georgia 103-83 and Mississippi 102-59 (see page 24). But Kentucky had company at the top. This week it was GEORGIA TECH. The Jackets needed seven points by sub Bill Nigg in the last minutes to get by Auburn 62-57, and R. D. Craddock's soft little jumper with three seconds to play to edge LSU 51-49. Tulane, the SEC patsy with 18 straight losses, was easier. Tech thrashed the Greenies, 92-68.
Vanderbilt and Tennessee also were too close for comfort. Vandy was only a half game behind after smacking down Alabama 111-73, hapless Tulane 96-64 and squeezing past hard-luck LSU 66-64 on Clyde Lee's tip-in. Tennessee beat Mississippi State 82-58 and trailed the leaders by a game.
Trying to pin down DUKE in the Atlantic Coast Conference, North Carolina State played slowdown. But Jeff Mullins and the tall boys, 6-foot-10 Hack Tison and Jay Buckley, simply shot over the smaller Wolf-pack, and the Devils won 66-48. Maryland's sophomores tried a somewhat racier approach and all they got for their trouble was a 104-72 beating. NORTH CAROLINA looked like the best of the ACC also-rans. The Tar Heels beat Virginia 89-76, then they turned Billy Cunningham loose for 33 points to take Wake Forest 81-73.
"We're like lambs being led to slaughter," mourned William & Mary's Bill Chambers before his team played DAVIDSON. He was so right. Fred Hetzel and the other Wildcats went at his ball-controlling lambs with a furious zone press and trounced them 111-84. Against Georgia Southern, Hetzel scored 29 points in 29 minutes and Davidson won 95-76. WEST VIRGINIA, meanwhile, rolled over Maryland 91-67 and George Washington 82-75, and VIRGINIA TECH routed Richmond 103-85.
Memphis State figured to be weary after losing to SEATTLE 105-88 and upsetting Creighton 87-86 on the road, but the Tigers fairly bristled with vitality when they got back home. George Kirk threw in 30 points, Bob Neumann scored 28 and State shocked DePaul 98-67. MIAMI'S Rick Barry even drew raves from the opposing coach when he poured in 52 points to help the Hurricanes beat Jacksonville 117-92. "I stood up and applauded him like everybody else," admitted Jacksonville's admiring Dick Kendall.
THE TOP THREE:
1. VILLANOVA (17-2)
2. LA SALLE (14-5)
3. ST. BONAVENTURE (13-4)
Villanova's Jack Kraft now knows just how much Wally Jones means to his team. Jones's trickery got the Wildcats past St. Bonaventure 57-52 for their 13th straight, and they were out in front of neighboring LA SALLE—until he twisted a hip muscle in the first half and had to leave the game. Without Jones, Villanova's offense dried up against La Salle's sliding zones and its usually reliable defense could not handle the Explorer's hot-shooting Frank Corace and George Sutor. La Salle upset the Wildcats 63-59.
Loyola expected to breeze when it came to New York to play ST. JOHN'S. The young Redmen, so everyone thought, lacked the experience and know-how to compete with the seasoned national champions. But St. John's ran with the Ramblers, beat them off the boards in the late stages and out-scored them, 71-69, on sophomore Bill Lawrence's two foul shots with seven seconds to go.
NYU was beginning to look like a team that would make a tournament. With Happy Hairston scoring 38 points, the Violets trounced Holy Cross 103-83, then Barry Kramer got 23 to lead them past Brandeis 88-45.
All of a sudden, the East was full of tournament hopefuls. SYRACUSE beat Niagara 83-81 and Pitt 96-84; DUQUESNE routed Santa Clara 92-68 and Kentucky Wesleyan 90-74; PROVIDENCE thumped Boston College 102-78; ST. JOSEPH'S defeated Georgetown 79-70 and St. Peter's 97-84. And the Ivy League was crawling with contenders. PRINCETON, CORNELL, YALE and PENN were all tied for first.