An Up-and-down Player. With a fifth-place standing in the Big East through Sunday, Villanova is one of the surprise teams of the season. The Wildcats were picked in the preseason to be a conference doormat, but they have a shot to make the NCAA tournament. One big reason: the play of leading scorer Kerry Kittles, a 6'5" sophomore guard who last Saturday played all 50 minutes of a 93-88 double-OT win over Pitt, the Cats' sixth straight victory. Kittles scored 29 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and, as always, refused to pull up his right sock. He wears his left sock up to his knee; his right, down around his ankle. "It's something my whole team did my senior year at [ New Orleans's] St. Augustine High," says Kittles. St. Augustine went 31-3 and won the state Class-5A title. If Villanova keeps winning, don't be surprised if Kittles's seesaw sock style becomes de rigueur at the school's duPont Pavilion.
Over Hill, over Dale. Down 68-37 to Dale Brown's LSU team in Baton Rouge with 15:34 remaining on Feb. 15, things looked bleak for Kentucky. But that was before the Wildcats clawed their way out of the 31-point hole they had fallen into and won 99-95. All of which reminds us of the immortal words of Indiana's Bob Knight, whose Hoosiers in 1987 stormed back from a 12-point deficit with 12:24 left to defeat the Tigers 77-76 in the NCAA Midwest Regional final. Said Knight, "I looked down the floor and saw Dale Brown, and I knew we had a chance."
Foul Shooting. New Mexico State had a laudable 19-3 record at week's end and a No. 25 ranking in the latest AP poll, despite shooting only .569 from the free throw line, the worst mark in the Big West Conference. That has to be particularly galling to Aggie coach Neil McCarthy. His 1970 master's thesis at Cal State-Sacramento was entitled An Examination of the Results of One Method of Teaching Free Throw Shooting Form.
Coach Mellow. Last week Chicago Cub reliever Randy Myers reluctantly gave up being an assistant coach for the women's team at his alma mater, Clark Community College in Vancouver, Wash., and reported to spring training. "He never misses a game or a scrimmage," says the team's head coach, Ken Trapp, whose Penguins are 159-28 in the six seasons Myers has been with the team. Though Myers never played organized basketball, he is generous with suggestions for Trapp—too generous, sometimes. "During games I sit at least four seats away from Randy," says Trapp of the hyper-intense southpaw who facetiously calls himself Mr. Mellow. "I can hear him well enough from there, anyway."