The lineup for the postseason tournaments was taking shape last week, with the majority of the country's top 10 teams headed for the NCAA. Assured of all but one of the 15 major conference winners, the NCAA has defending champion Cincinnati (Missouri Valley), Arizona State (Western AC), Texas (Southwest) and St. Joseph's (Mid-Atlantic) already in, along with some strong independents: NYU (15-2), Pitt (17-5), Loyola of Chicago (23-1), Notre Dame (16-7), Colorado State (17-4), Texas Western (17-5), Oklahoma City (17-7), Seattle (18-5), Utah State (20-5) and Oregon State (15-7).
Meanwhile, New York's National Invitation Tournament was still working on its 12-team field. Miami (21-4), Providence (17-4), Memphis State (17-5), Canisius (16-5), Wichita (16-7) and Marquette (14-7) have accepted. Still hopeful are Idaho (18-4), Niagara (12-4), Penn State (14-5), La Salle (15-6), Temple (14-6), Fordham (15-7), St. Louis (15-8) and Houston (14-10).
Just as long as Notre Dame's aggressive Jay Miller was where he could keep a watchful eye—and a too firm hand—on NYU's Barry Kramer, the Irish did just fine. They even led 44-36 early in the second half. But then Miller got into foul trouble and Kramer got going. Scoring a total of 29 points, he led NYU to an 80-79 win.
It seemed that St. Joseph's was in for an easy night when Tom Wynne and Jimmy Lynam shot the Hawks ahead of La Salle 20-10 in their Mid-Atlantic showdown. But Coach Jack Ramsay wasn't taking any chances. He put his Hawks into an all-court press and bigger La Salle did just what Ramsay hoped it would. The Explorers threw the ball away and shot badly as St. Joe's won easily 66-49, its fifth title in a row.
Pitt, upset by Temple 77-71 earlier in the week and with an NCAA invitation at stake, was on guard against Penn State. The Panthers split State's defense and won 83-67. Providence, after barely beating Assumption 68-67, held Seton Hall's Nick Werkman to 13 points and defeated the Pirates 82-62. Niagara, however, couldn't hold St. Bona venture's Fred Crawford. He scored 22 points and the Eagles succumbed 87-63. St. John's played its waiting game against Loyola of Chicago, but found waiting is useless when you can't shoot, losing 70-47.
The Ivy League had one less contender. Penn and Princeton were still on top but Yale, a half-game behind, knocked Cornell out of the race 61-60. Rhode Island beat Connecticut 65-62 to take the Yankee Conference lead. The top three:
1. NYU (15-2)
2. ST. JOSEPH'S (20-3)
3. PROVIDENCE (17-4)
Kentucky's Adolph Rupp won't win any titles this year—except Most Disappointed—but he isn't about to help anybody else win one either. The Baron, who fretted dreadfully while his Wildcats lost to Vanderbilt 69-67, had them ready for Auburn, and Kentucky trapped the Tigers' interminable shuffle with a solid defense. Meanwhile, Cotton Nash, back in form after four poor games, scored 28 points, and down went Auburn (78-59) into a second-place tie with Georgia Tech in the Southeastern Conference. Tech, struggling painfully at times, got past Tennessee 72-60 and Georgia 66-58 in overtime. With two games to play, Mississippi State was all alone at the top, but the Maroons, who beat Georgia 86-75 and LSU 99-64, aren't likely to go to the integrated NCAA tournament. If Georgia Tech and Auburn tie for second, Tech will go on the basis of its regular-season win over the Tigers.