Barely waiting for football to vacate the premises, college basketball shoved a foot inside the door and proceeded to turn loose the latest crop of sure-sighted shooters, stratospheric rebounders and doughty defenders. Baskets rattled vibrantly from coast to coast as most preseason favorites managed to survive the early firing, but a few teams were already seeking out the comeback trail.
New Yorkers got another look at Cincinnati's fabulous Oscar Robertson, and 14,587, the largest Madison Square Garden crowd to watch a regular-season college double-header in almost six years, were enthralled. Fresh from a 41-point performance in a 93-64 victory over Indiana State, Robertson eluded NYU's double-teaming box defense for 45 points. "The Big O" made full use of his expansive skills, feinting and rebounding (see right) to put the Bearcats in front 88-67. On the same bill, St. John's took the wraps off touted Sophomore Tony Jackson, a jump-shooter of rare excellence, who lived up to his advance billing as the Redmen overcame Providence 73-55.
Pitt opened with a loss to Michigan, but Don Hennon, a little man (5 feet 8� inches) with a big talent, perked up the Panthers against Ohio State, outhustling the Buckeyes for 41 points in a 73-70 triumph.
Temple, last year's eastern leader, was upset by Lehigh but then pushed Kentucky to the limit before losing 76-71. St. Bonaventure, Niagara, St. Joseph's, Dartmouth and Navy were among those still unbeaten at the end of the first week.
Lou Pucillo, hustling little North Carolina State marksman who spent last summer practicing an arcing set shot so he could shoot over the heads of taller players, reaped the first dividend from his off-season pursuit. Pucillo looped in a soft one-hander with two seconds to play to beat Maryland 55-53, but the Wolf-pack had to prowl through two overtimes before slinking past Wake Forest 56-52, lending strength to predictions that the Atlantic Coast race will be a dog (or, possibly, wolf) fight. North Carolina served notice that it, too, will be heard from, moving comfortably by Clemson 83-67.
West Virginia, gunning for national honors and a fifth straight Southern Conference title, had a cumbersome time of it before overcoming Furman 76-67 and VMI 82-71 to stretch its league winning streak to 38.
Kentucky, its newcomers blending efficiently with veteran Johnny Cox under the magic hand of Coach Adolph Rupp, lit into Florida State 91-68 before heading east to beat Temple, but the Wildcats may hear more from SEC challengers before too many weeks pass. Tennessee, after edging Wyoming 72-71, moved westward to beat Michigan 80-66 and Wyoming again 90-69 in the Midwestern Invitational Tournament at Kent, Ohio; Alabama scored its biggest strike, handing the fabled Phillips Oilers their first loss to a college team since 1953 39-38; Mississippi State tuned up on three lesser rivals. Even Georgia began to show muscles, muzzling Florida's Gators 66-63 and Clemson 76-59.