During coach Jud Heath-cote's press conference after Michigan State's 67-65 loss to Northwestern last week, the lights went out. Heath-cote, whose team had just shot a measly 43%, cracked, "It wasn't us."
In its 108-99 defeat of Clemson last week, North Carolina had 70 points in the second half and scored on every one of its final 18 possessions. Three days later, the Heels' Kenny Smith, who hit a career-high 41 points against the Tigers, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. He is expected to return within two weeks. Without him on Sunday, the Heels suffered their second loss of the season, 60-58 at Notre Dame.
With SMU a sorry 1-7 in Southwest Conference play, a Mustang assistant picked up a ringing phone in the basketball office and answered, "Morgue."
The Antelopes of Kearney ( Neb.) State recently won three NAIA games in a row—in double, double and triple overtime.
UC Santa Barbara coach Jerry Pimm has moved into a 47-foot boat that has three staterooms, a huge galley and a satellite dish. Says Pimm, "I wanted a change of scenery, and I don't like yard work."
For every gross underachiever like Louisville or Georgia Tech, there have been several gratifying surprises:
? Georgia's Hugh Durham is Coach of the Half-Year. Within days of beating Kentucky in Louisville on Dec. 30, the Dawgs lost their leading scorer (Toney Mack, bad grades), rebounder ( David Dunn, broken foot) and defender (Patrick Hamilton, grades also). Down to seven scholarship players, Durham installed a doctrinaire 2-3 zone and walk-it-up offense over his players' misgivings. "They think only wimps and nerds, whatever they are, play slow," Durham says. But after beating LSU, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Tennessee, and losing to Auburn and Alabama in overtime, the 12-7 Dawgs believe.
?Despite the loss of point guard Carl Lott at least until tournament time with a broken finger on his right hand, TCU has continued to clamp down on defense. On Jan. 19 Texas missed 17 straight shots in a 52-37 loss to the Horned Frogs. Last week Rice scored only nine points in the first half of the Frogs' 64-38 win; two days later Owls coach Tommy Suitts announced his resignation. TCU's 14-game winning streak is now the longest in the nation.
?Picked for the Big Eight second division in most preseason polls, Kansas State is 14-5, thanks largely to the return to eligibility of U.S. Army and NCAA-wars veteran Norris Coleman. Juco transfers Mitch Richmond and William Scott have also infused Lon Kruger's Wildcats with life. Says Wichita State center Henry Carr, whose team is 1-1 against the Wildcats but 1-0 against Big Eight power Kansas: "[ Kansas State has] six or seven good players. Kansas has one."