It was a light but interesting week in the Big Ten and when it ended Michigan was still alone in first place, Iowa and Minnesota were back in the race and defending champion Ohio State was down in the cellar after five good years at the top.
Michigan squared accounts with Purdue and in the process found a new ringleader for its booming attack. Oliver Darden, a 6-foot-7 junior who had been something of an enigma this year, suddenly found himself again. He swished in 27 points as the Wolverines battered Purdue, the team that knocked them out of an undisputed championship last year, 103-84.
The real rumble, though, was at Bloomington, where a finicky state fire marshal decided that the usually noisy crowd of 10,500 was too much for the Indiana field-house because of a shortage of exits. He limited attendance to only 3,400. Without the normal comforting din and, even worse, without ailing Guard Jon McGlocklin (bone chip in the ankle), the Hoosiers simply rolled over and played dead for hustling IOWA. The Hawkeyes won 74-68.
Minnesota, stepping livelier than ever following a public tongue-lashing in the Minneapolis press by star Lou Hudson, whipped Ohio State 97-77—the first time in 12 games. Hudson accused his teammates of lax play and "selfishness" and said 6-foot-6 Dennis Dvoracek and 6-foot-8 Mel Northway "could play better." He was right about those two, anyway. Dvoracek scored 18 points, Northway picked off 18 rebounds and, along with Hudson's 21 points and 15 rebounds, the Gophers had more than enough to throttle the Bucks.
Just when KANSAS STATE was about to be toppled out of the Big Eight race, Coach Tex Winter decided it was time to have a fling at unorthodoxy. He tried what few coaches have dared this year—to play Kansas with a pressing man-to-man with only one player on 6-foot-11 Walt Wesley. Sure enough, Wesley got 30 points, but K-State's 6-foot-10 Roy Smith tossed in 25 and Winter gamble paid off with a 71-64 victory. Then IOWA STATE proved that Kansas could be had with a zone, too. State beat the Jayhawks 64-58. So OKLAHOMA STATE, a 55-53 winner over Nebraska, led the league by 1� games.
Everybody had problems in the Missouri Valley. Bradley lost a nonleague game to BUTLER 80-74, Cincinnati dropped its third straight to DRAKE 89-80 and Wichita State's Gary Thompson, who loses All-America Dave Stallworth in February, announced that Nate Bowman, his 6-foot-10 senior center, who has been averaging 12.4 points a game, has been declared ineligible for academic reasons.
Miami of Ohio (page 50) looked good enough to challenge anyone as it bombed Kent State 87-55. NOTRE DAME'S Johnny Dee, deciding to sacrifice height for speed, benched his big men and the freer-running Irish smothered Toledo 113-65. Undefeated EVANSVILLE barely got by Southern Illinois 81-80 (left), but routed Ball State 117-81 for its 15th victory.
THE TOP THREE:
1. HOUSTON (12-6)
2. OKLAHOMA CITY (12-5)
3. TEXAS A&M (9-4)