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THE TOP THREE:
The Big Ten race was hardly under way and already there were almost as many contenders as there were also-rans, IOWA, on to new Coach Ralph Miller's running game now, was in first place after whacking Wisconsin 92-62 and Michigan State 85-78. MINNESOTA and PURDUE each had a victory, too.
Undefeated Indiana, however, finally found a team it could not press to death. ILLINOIS simply turned loose its big shooters—Tal Brody, Skip Thoren and Bogie Redmon—against the Hoosiers and they ran away for 23, 21 and 20 points, respectively, and the Illini won 86-81.
Then it was Illinois' turn to go down. MICHIGAN, with some fence-mending to do after its disastrous trip to New York, set out to beat the Illini off the boards in boxy little Yost Field House. Bill Buntin and Larry Tregoning snapped up almost every rebound in sight, Buntin and Cazzie Russell poured in baskets (they each scored 30 points) and the Wolverines led by 13 early in the second half. Then the lead began to shrink. But this time Michigan held on to win, 89-83.
Wichita State and St. Louis, both 4-0 in the Missouri Valley, are heading for a showdown next Saturday. The Shockers shot magnificently—Nate Bowman was nine for 10, Kelly Pete eight for 10 and Dave Leach five for seven—against Bradley and beat the Braves 85-79. Cincinnati was tougher but the overly cautious Bearcats also lost, 65-61. St. Louis opened up a 16-point lead over Tulsa and then almost blew it before winning, 54-53. Coach John Benington's new defense—a half-court press that fell back into a 2-3 zone—puzzled Drake long enough for the Bills to win, 66-63.
Big Eight opponents of KANSAS had a problem: whether to give the Jayhawkers their inside or outside shooting game. Obviously neither Nebraska nor Missouri had the answer. Kansas beat the Huskers 66-56 and Missouri 73-66. But the Jayhawkers had company at the top. OKLAHOMA STATE, playing Hank Iba's patient game, took Iowa State 54-52 in overtime, then went out of character to whomp Nebraska 93-54.