It is now obvious that even the most highly regarded college teams need more than just a big reputation to survive this year. Michigan, Vanderbilt, St. Louis and Kentucky were the latest to fall. Penn State, an Eastern independent heretofore undistinguished in basketball, upset both Kansas and Kansas State, and in Sunflower territory, too. Evansville, long a small-college power, surprised Northwestern and Notre Dame. But there were signs that some of the preseason favorites might reclaim their ratings. UCLA, Duke and Davidson, after first-week losses, were winning again; San Francisco, Minnesota, Villanova, Bradley, Miami of Ohio and Wichita were still unbeaten.
THE TOP THREE:
1. MICHIGAN (4-1)
2. WICHITA STATE (4-0)
3. MINNESOTA (4-0)
There seemed to be no stopping MICHIGAN. When the muscular Wolverines clobbered Missouri 91-61, Coach Bob Vanatta said facetiously, "I want to get out of town as soon as I can in case they want to play us again." Michigan's Dave Strack gushed, "We're unbelievably good." Strack was certain of it when sweet-shooting Cazzie Russell poured in 27 points in 28 minutes before the reserves finished off Indiana State 102-64. But three nights later the Wolverines, after building up a 10-point half-time lead, suddenly found themselves fighting desperately for their No. 1 ranking against fast-breaking NEBRASKA. With one second to go, Nebraska's Fred Hare, a slim, 6-foot-1 guard, grabbed a rebound, casually flipped the ball over his head, and it went in. Michigan had its first loss, 74-73.
Missouri took care of St. Louis. The Tigers' hard-driving fast breaks got the unbeaten Bills in foul trouble early and they never recovered. Ned Monsees, an erratic reserve last year, scored 24, passed off for several more, and Missouri won 62-56. But the week was not all fun and games for Big Eight teams. PENN STATE, an unheralded outlander, turned the Sunflower doubleheaders at Manhattan and Lawrence into a shambles. The Nittany Lions tied up Kansas with a tight zone and beat the Jayhawkers 50-48 when Carver Clinton threw in 10 points in the last 9� minutes and finished off with a perfect pass to Bob Weiss for the winning basket. The next night Penn State got off to a 17-2 lead against Kansas State, but the Wildcats found a way to crack the zone, and pretty soon the Lions were in trouble. Again Clinton came through. He matched Jeff Simons' free throws in the closing seconds, then blocked a shot to save a 60-59 victory.
One of these seasons major teams will learn to avoid Evansville, Ind. Northwestern made the mistake of going there and got trimmed by EVANSVILLE 83-75. Notre Dame (page 28) was next, and the Irish discovered there is indeed no place like home. They outrebounded the scrappy Aces 50-29 but outfouled them 27-9 and were outscored 89-82 for their first loss.
There were still some unbeaten teams left in the Midwest. WICHITA STATE, with Coach Gary Thompson comfortably perched on his tall bar stool, complete with seat belt (in protest of the new rule that prohibits coaches from jumping off the bench), shifted easily from zone to zone press to full-court man-to-man to combination defenses against Brigham Young. These maneuvers upset the Cougars, and Wichita State won twice, 93-76 and 81-65. BRADLEY held off Murray State 76-74, then whipped South Dakota 100-72. INDIANA, after routing Oklahoma 87-69, hit North Carolina with a press and a dazzling fast break that swamped the Tar Heels 107-81. MINNESOTA trounced Marquette 78-59, while DEPAUL'S good outside shooting nailed Middle Tennessee 89-68. MIAMI OF OHIO could not handle Dayton's 6-foot-11 Henry Finkel (he got 33 points), but Charley Coles and Jeff Gehring scored 51 between them, and the Redskins won 95-88. Then Miami defeated Western Michigan 82-70.
THE TOP THREE: