When those piranhas died, Hill replaced them with three baby shark fish, but they went belly up after only three days. He then got some cichlids, known for aggressive behavior, and this batch apparently is doing swimmingly. So is Hill. After Xavier's 95-63 rout of Valparaiso last Saturday, he was averaging 18.3 points and 11 rebounds for the 3-1 Musketeers—and building a fan club among the pros. "He could use a little polish," said Cleveland Cavalier general manager Wayne Embry, "but he is definitely an NBA first-round pick."
Hill and his teammates are favored to win the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, but watch out for a feeding frenzy of rebounds before that. On Jan. 2, Hill will get to trade elbows with Gathers when the Musketeers host Loyola.
LEARNING THE HARD WAY
Instead of loading up Arkansas's December home schedule with boring patsies, Razorback coach Nolan Richardson, to his credit, invited mighty Missouri into Barnhill Arena on Dec. 13. The Razorbacks got a loss, 89-88, to make their record 5-1, but they also learned what it's going to take to be competitive when NCAA tournament play begins.
To beat the physical Big Eight teams like Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas, the Razorbacks can't just rely on the perimeter shooting of Lee Mayberry and Todd Day. They have to pound it inside, as Missouri did with 6'10" Doug Smith and 6'9" Nathan Buntin, who ripped the soft Arkansas defense for a total of 48 points and 22 rebounds.
The game was so eagerly awaited by Razorback students that they began gathering outside Barnhill at 7:30 a.m. A Fayetteville pizza chain reported the students ordered 614 pizzas during the wait, but that didn't kill their appetite for an upset of the Tigers.
Richardson tried to counter Missouri's inside strength by ordering Mayberry, who scored 16 points in the first half, to forget shooting and feed center Mario (Easy) Credit. That enabled Credit to wind up with 20 points, but it took Mayberry out of the offense. He didn't score in the second half. Still, the Razorbacks did have the last shot to win it, with four seconds remaining, but Mayberry missed a trey, ending the Hogs' home court winning streak at 14.
This week's raspberry for unsportsmanlike scheduling goes to Georgetown coach John Thompson, whose Hoyas rolled to a horrendous 112-39 sleepwalk over the District of Columbia. The excuse for this mismatch was that UDC coach George Leftwich, a high school teammate of Thompson's, had requested the game last summer. Sorry, but that's not good enough—unless, of course, such things as valid competition and entertainment value no longer count in college sports....
Last Saturday, SMU defeated Texas- Arlington 36-31, proving that the 45-second clock and the three-point shot can't beef up the offense of bad teams. The go-ahead basket came when an intended pass went through the hands of SMU forward Vernon Perdue and into the hoop. Fortunately for basketball, only 1,056 were in attendance at Moody Coliseum in Dallas.