The top 25
6 North Carolina
19 Wake Forest
22 Oklahoma State
24 Mississippi State
25 St. John's
It is vain to look for a defense against lightning.
—Publilius Syrus, circa 45 B.C.
In this topsy-turvy, unpredictable world, it's nice to have a sure thing, isn't it? No one's happier about it than our Chief Executive, you can bet on that. President Clinton may be facing all kinds of adversity on Pennsylvania Avenue—health care, Haiti, that Newt Gingrich thing—but, by gosh, he's still got his Arkansas Razorbacks.
How 'bout them Hogs? All five starters back from a team that won the national championship in 1994. The best player in college basketball in power forward Corliss Williamson, one of the best clutch shooters in swingman Scotty Thurman, one of the most underrated point guards in Corey Beck and one of the best coaches in Nolan Richardson, who preaches an inventive brand of basketball from his bully pulpit.
"For a few years we hung around outside the door," said Richardson recently, taking a metaphor and running the break with it. "Last season we knocked that door down. Now we're inside the room. But there's a lot of other people in there with us. Where I want to be is at that head table. I wanna be presidin'!"
Well, since Arkansas has that kind of zeal, that kind of team and even the presidential stamp of approval, it's time to introduce our No. 1 team for the 1994-95 season. Ladies and gentlemen, we present...
That's right, the UCLA Bruins, those underachieving beachcombers from the underachieving Pac-10, a team that was last seen falling behind Tulsa 46-17 in the first round of the NCAA tournament before finally losing 112-102. But we think the Bruins can turn it around this year. They have the material, the motivation and, for a change, the toughness. And after all, this is a throwback year.
UCLA's beleaguered coach, Jim Harrick, for whom the term "on the hot seat" does not begin to describe the pressure he is under, did not take our No. 1 news all that well. "That is stupid," he said. "That is ludicrous. There's no way you can take anyone but Arkansas.... I don't think we belong in the top spot. I don't think I'd want it, either."