Princeton's magnificent Bill Bradley gave the Tigers a certain tie in the Ivy League. He scored 64 points (for a new Ivy record) as Princeton took Columbia 78-59 and Cornell 61-55. RHODE ISLAND beat Connecticut 54-53 to force a tie for the Yankee Conference title and a playoff for an NCAA berth.
THE TOP THREE:
1. KENTUCKY (21-3)
2. DUKE (20-4)
3. DAVIDSON (22-4)
A funny thing happened to Davidson on its way to Kansas City. The precocious Wildcats, who had bludgeoned their way through the Southern Conference regular-season schedule, were suddenly nowhere. Instead, VMI, 9-11 going into the conference tournament at Charlotte, won its first championship ever and will represent the Southern in the NCAA East regional. The hustling Keydets were full of surprises. First they beat Furman 77-73, then they shocked Davidson 82-81 on sophomore Charlie Schmauss's basket with 13 seconds to go. This put VMI into the final against GEORGE WASHINGTON, another spoilsport. The Colonials had shocked Virginia Tech 64-62 and West Virginia 88-80. Then with Noodles Blair, a clever little backcourter who was unable to raise his arm to shoot after he injured a back muscle early in the game, directing the traffic, and 6-foot-2 Schmauss zipping in and around weary GW for 19 points and 17 rebounds, VMI beat the Colonials 61-56 for its first winning season in 21 years. "It's the greatest," gushed Coach Weenie Miller.
It was enough to make DUKE a wary bunch of Blue Devils after they thrashed Wake Forest 98-83 and North Carolina 104-69 to finish far ahead of the pack in the Atlantic Coast. But now Duke will have to do it all over again in the conference tournament that begins Thursday in Raleigh.
A man has to get up early in the day to outsmart KENTUCKY'S cagy old Adolph Rupp. After ALABAMA upset his Wildcats 65-59 with a zone defense. The Baron, quite correctly, figured that Tennessee would try to win with a slowdown and a box-and-one on Cotton Nash. So he had Nash act as a decoy. The Vols went for it hook, line and box-and-one. While they chased Nash, who took only one shot and made only five free throws, sharpshooter Tommy Korn bombed them for 17 points. It gave Kentucky a close 42-38 victory and Rupp his 21st Southeastern Conference title. Said Rupp later,"Had Tennessee decided to play basketball, it might have won."
The black magic finally paid off for TULANE, everybody's patsy in the SEC. After 22 straight losses, the Greenies beat LSU 80-68 as Bob Davidson flipped in 29 points and made off with 19 rebounds.
THE TOP THREE: