It is one of the unfortunate curiosities of college basketball that the regular season doesn't count in the Atlantic Coast and Southern conferences. Last week Duke, with Art Heyman scoring 40 points, overwhelmed North Carolina 106-93 to become only the second team in conference history to go undefeated in its ACC games. Southern Conference leader West Virginia, after getting past independent Penn State 83-82, romped over George Washington 104-86. But now both Duke and the Mountaineers must win at conference championship tournaments this weekend to get the coveted NCAA spots. The top three:
1. DUKE (21-2)
2. MISSISSIPPI STATE (19-5)
3. GEORGIA TECH (20-4)
Everything seemed normal enough when Cincinnati trampled North Texas State 91-61. But suddenly there was Tulsa scoring the first 13 points of the game and then leading the shocked Bearcats 48-37 with eight minutes to go. And at Cincinnati, no less. The Missouri Valley champions pulled through, but just barely, 55-54, after Ken Cunningham, a rarely used sophomore, put in three 15-foot shots and George Wilson sank a free throw at the end. The MVC had another surprise, too, when Bradley beat Wichita 64-63.
Ohio State and Illinois were still tied in the Big Ten, with Indiana a close third. Gary Bradds totaled 71 points while leading the Bucks past Michigan State 87-77 and Iowa 83-70. Illinois got by Purdue 87-79 and Wisconsin 89-77. Indiana's Jimmy Rayl, held to two points in a 72-71 victory over Iowa, scored 56, a conference record, as the Hoosiers outshot and outgalloped Michigan State 113-94.
It was a long pull, but Kansas State finally made it to the top in the Big Eight. The Wildcats beat Kansas 67-54 and Iowa State 62-50 to get there, while Missouri upset Colorado 60-58, and the Buffs, in turn, put down Oklahoma State 49-40. Bowling Green, after a good 67-58 win over Notre Dame, defeated Western Michigan 82-75 to remain tied with Toledo in the Mid-American. The top three:
1. CINCINNATI (21-1)
2. LOYOLA OF CHICAGO (23-1)
3. OHIO STATE (17-3)
It was a week of bribe offers, riots and fights in the Southwest Conference. But nothing bothered Texas. The big Longhorns bowled over Texas A&M 83-73 and managed to stay out of a postgame brawl at Austin, then smothered SMU 92-76 to clinch the championship after two Mustangs had reported a bribe attempt by a fellow student.
The first Western AC title went to the favorite, Arizona State. While Utah helped out with a 106-100 win over Brigham Young, the Sun Devils outran Wyoming 82-72 and New Mexico 76-62. Houston slowed down Loyola of Chicago but still lost 62-58. The top three: