Iona coach Pat Kennedy says, sure, he's happy for nearby St. John's, which became the No. 1 team by upsetting Georgetown (page 12), but he can't be exactly ecstatic that the Redmen's success has upstaged that of his Gaels, who are 16-1 and off to their fastest start ever. "We wish we'd had the kind of year we're having when St. John's wasn't having the same kind of year," says Kennedy.
Iona is the only major college team other than St. John's and Georgetown with only one loss (to Memphis State on Dec. 22), an achievement Kennedy hardly expected. After the departure of guard Steve Burtt and forward Gary Springer, Iona's top two career scorers, Kennedy was braced for the worst following last season's heroics, when the Gaels went 23-8, won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title and lost 58-57 to Virginia in the NCAA East first round.
But Iona is a force again, mainly because of a potent backcourt. Senior Rory Grimes, who's 5'9", leads the Gaels in scoring with a 17.6-point average, while freshmen Richie Simmonds and John Kijonek, who share Burtt's vacated shooting-guard spot, have combined for 17.3 per game. "You know what gets these kids?" says Kennedy. "They see some of the Top 20 teams play on television, come to my office and say, 'We can beat those teams.' They're right. When we're on our game, we can beat them."
Georgetown wasn't the only No. 1 team to topple from the ranks of the unbeaten. With senior forward Shelia Collins scoring a career-high 32 points, Tennessee's women's team upset top-ranked Old Dominion 67-64 in Norfolk. Lady Vol coach Pat Head-Summitt told ODU coach Marianne Stanley, "We just got you a national championship. Your kids can't help but feel relieved in a day or two."
Meanwhile, the men's coach at Tennessee, Don DeVoe, took a shot at his opposite number at Georgia, Hugh Durham. DeVoe told The Atlanta Journal that he believes the Bulldogs violated NCAA rules in recruiting freshman center Cedric Henderson and that the NCAA should rule Henderson, a 15-points-per-game scorer, ineligible, thus voiding Georgia's 13 victories this season. The NCAA has been investigating the Henderson matter since December 1983, when he was still a high school student in Marietta, Ga.
Some interesting stats came out of the NCAA offices last week. Three players from Southern University—Donevin Hoskins, Glenn Dedmon and John Staves—were listed among the Top 10 field-goal percentage shooters in Division I. Their numbers were astounding: Hoskins, 78 of 99 for 78.8%; Dedmon, 87 of 120 for 72.5%; and Staves, 83 of 120 for 69.2%. An NCAA first? Yes, if true. At week's end Jim Wright, the NCAA's statistics coordinator, said that he was in the process of conducting an audit of Southern's books.
The chatter following Purdue's 62-52 Big Ten victory over Indiana was not about the first confrontation between the state's co-Mr. Basketballs of 1984, freshmen Troy Lewis of the Boilermakers and Delray Brooks of the Hoosiers. Instead, it was of Indiana coach Bob Knight's decision to bench junior forward Mike Giomi, the team's top rebounder, and senior reserve swingman Winston Morgan for the entire game. "We knew they were in the doghouse," said Lewis, who outscored Brooks, 12 points to none. "But we prepared for the game as if they would play." Knight refused to meet the press afterward, and it was learned that Giomi did not travel with the team to West Lafayette for the game. Both Giomi and Morgan took a flight on a separate plane after the Hoosiers' 86-84 loss at Ohio State on Jan. 19.
On his morning TV show before Indiana's game Sunday at Illinois, Knight said he was "going to play freshmen." Neither Giomi nor Morgan made the trip to Champaign, where Indiana dropped its third straight game, 52-41. Senior center Uwe Blab saw plenty of action, but, inexplicably, because Knight was not in an explanatory mood, neither sophomore guard Steve Alford, Indiana's top scorer with a 19.5 average, nor fellow veterans Stew Robinson, Marty Simmons or Dan Dakich left the bench. Knight played Blab and six freshmen. Said Illinois coach Lou Henson: "It would suit me fine if they didn't play those guys in Bloomington on Feb. 21."
Arizona State's 83-82 double overtime victory at Oregon State might have had its origin four hours before the tipoff while the Sun Devils watched the St. John's-George-town game on television. "St. John's was blowing them out," said freshman forward Chris Sandle. "I told myself this might be a day of upsets." And so it was: Sandle's game-winning free throw with :08 left snapped the Beavers' 17-game homecourt winning streak.
The long and the short of Texas Tech's 64-63 Southwest Conference stunner over SMU in Lubbock were the performances of each team's best player. Bubba Jennings, Tech's smallest player at 5'10", drilled home a game-high 26 points, most of them from long range. Meanwhile, SMU's 7-foot Jon Koncak, the tallest player on the floor, had his worst game in two years. He missed his first six shots from the field and finished with only six points before fouling out with 6:48 to play.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
CHRIS MULLIN: St. John's 6'6" senior swingman scored 49 points and had 15 rebounds, 10 assists and five steals in Red-men wins over Big East foes Syracuse (82-80 in OT) and Georgetown (66-65).