THESE DOGS CAN BITE
It happens every year. An upstart underdog from some hyphenated conference knocks off an established power in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Given the proliferation of surprises already this season, can anyone doubt that it will happen again? Here are the candidates most likely to play giant-killer:
? North Carolina A & T, champion of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, is a poised, senior-dominated team, one that also happens to have the longest home-court winning streak (37) in Division I. Paced by 6'7" senior forward Claude Williams and his 16.5 points and eight rebounds per game, the Aggies play a tough matchup zone, which has held opponents to just 41.8% shooting, ninth best in the nation.
? Arkansas-Little Rock knows all about tournament upsets—it knocked Notre Dame out of the NCAAs in '86. This season the Trojans beat UTEP.
? North Carolina Charlotte came within one questionable call of defeating Kentucky in Rupp Arena in December before succumbing 84-81. Junior guard Byron Dinkins, a master penetrator who is averaging 21.5 points per game, makes the 49ers go.
? Mid-Continent Conference champion Southwest Missouri State had an impressive 82-80 four-overtime win at Kansas State early in the season. The Bears finished the regular season on a tear, winning 16 of their last 18 games Senior forward Stan Worthy has been especially torrid over the past 11 games averaging 17.4 points on 72% field-goal shooting.
? Boise State has rolled through an un impressive list of opponents to end the regular season at 22-5. But two close de feats to Wyoming, the most recent coming on Friday by a score of 56-50, indicate that the Broncos can be dangerous.
MOURNING'S TOUGH NIGHT
Indian River (Va.) High center Alonzo Mourning, the most coveted school boy recruit in the nation, is a marked man Take last week's win over Maury High in the first round of Virginia's AAA Eastern Region playoffs. Final score (in triple overtime): 20-19. That's no misprint. A game-long stall and a triple team in the lane held Mourning, who is headed for Georgetown, to four point; on five shots. At the end of regulation play the score was 15-15.
True to his Hoya calling, Mourning missed a free throw that could have won the game with two seconds left in the first overtime. But in the third OT he blocked three shots at the end of the period to preserve the victory. "It's unfortunate that people have to resort to those tactics," said Indian River coach Bill Lassiter afterward.