After North Carolina massacred Manhattan 129-45 in the first round of the Miami Orange Bowl Tournament, Jaspers coach Tom Sullivan deadpanned, "They might have caught us looking ahead to the championship game."
The 84-point margin was Manhattan's worst loss ever, by 25 points, and the Tar Heels' most one-sided win, by 15. Brown provided a sterner test for UNC in the final as the champion Heels escaped with a 115-63 victory. Counting an earlier win over The Citadel, UNC has outscored its last three opponents 348-159. Coach Dean Smith complained that he hadn't known in advance "who was going to be in the tournament. I never dreamed anything like this would happen." The Tar Heels begin ACC play Jan. 4 against N.C. State, and Smith, for one, can't wait. "I'm not sure there's anything we can gain from games like these."
Earlier, Jacksonville fans did more than wave their hands to distract the Heels in a 69-65 Dolphins loss. When Kenny Smith, UNC's best-ever free-throw shooter, went to the foul line in the second half, a curvaceous young woman ran behind the basket and opened her overcoat. She was clad, barely, in a bathing suit. Smith made both shots.
How nerve-racking was N.C. State's 80-73 upset of UNLV in the Chaminade Classic in Hawaii? When things heated up late in the game, coach Jim Valvano stood up too suddenly—and fainted. Valvano, who says he has swooned before, was revived almost immediately and stayed on the bench. Even in fainting he apparently maintained his presence of mind. He said later, "I was worried about landing outside the coach's box and getting a technical."
Far be it from Louisville's Denny Crum to criticize an official. He did, however, have this to say after his Cards traveled across the state and lost to Kentucky, 69-64, for the third time in four games since resuming their rivalry in 1983: "I wish I had a whistle." Louisville was called for 22 fouls, the host Wildcats only 12. "They called them the way they saw them, but I don't have to agree," said Crum, tight-lipped.
Kentucky's 6'8" forward Kenny Walker looks more like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with each passing week. Not only does Walker, who had 11 points against Louisville, have a respectable sky hook, but after suffering his third minor eye injury earlier this season, he also sports the same praying-mantis-like protective goggles favored by Abdul-Jabbar.
In a nationally televised 85-70 imbroglio during which fans threw ice cubes on the court and DePaul coach Joey Meyer earned his first career technical, Georgetown served the Blue Demons their worst Rosemont Horizon defeat ever. The Hoyas may also have rung in the beginning of the end for DePaul—again. Last December, after being blown out by Georgetown in Landover, Md., the previously undefeated Deacons went spiraling south, finishing a disappointing 19-10. Would it happen again?
"How we respond to losing is the key to our season," said Meyer after the Georgetown game. That warning inspired his players to new levels of listlessness. They bowed 71-56 to Purdue two nights later. Giving away up to six inches to his opponents, Boilermaker Doug Lee, at 6'5" one of the stubbier forwards in the Big Ten, helped himself to a career-high 13 rebounds. Then, in the first round of the Cotton States Classic, DePaul choked on a 12-point lead with less than nine minutes left to lose to Navy 67-64.