1. MICHIGAN (11-4)
2. LOYOLA (15-1)
3. KANSAS (14-3)
Like UCLA, the big teams of the Missouri Valley found no friends on the road. Bradley, Tulsa and Cincinnati, the leaders, were all beaten, and suddenly six teams had a shot at the title. After struggling by little St. Joseph's of Indiana 71-66, Cincy traveled to ST. LOUIS and ran into Gene Moore's coming-out party. The 6-foot-7 sophomore had 17 points and 15 rebounds as the Bills won 73-64. Tulsa's first league road game was a disaster, WICHITA STATE'S Kelly Pete held Hurricane star Eldridge Webb to eight points, and the Shockers won 87-72. That brought Wichita State, Louisville and DRAKE into the race. The Bulldogs beat Iowa State 74-71 and North Texas State 78-68.
The talk in the Big Ten was that MICHIGAN is In. But the Wolverines' play wasn't up to the conversation. Cazzie Russell managed just one basket in the second half, and Michigan squeaked by weak Wisconsin 69-67. MICHIGAN STATE won twice, 92-74 over Purdue and 77-68 at Northwestern, to hold second place. But IOWA, which took an offensive show from Ohio State 98-89, and MINNESOTA, a 91-75 winner over Purdue, also had a chance.
Among the independents, the only challenger to Loyola was DAYTON. The Flyers beat another Loyola (of Los Angeles) 85-57. MIAMI of Ohio had the Mid-American race locked up after beating Marshall 74-57.
1. PROVIDENCE (13-1)
2. ST. JOHN'S (11-3)
3. ST. JOSEPH'S (13-4)
There was a weird slant to the din in Philadelphia's musty old Palestra last Saturday night. It was more like a funeral dirge. Not even playmaker Matt Guokas' whizzing passes could stir St. Joseph's as DAYTON'S 6-foot-11 Henry Finkel climbed over the Hawks for 23 points and sophomore star Don May flipped in 16. St. Joe's may have expected that but it had not figured on being hurt by Glinder Torain, a 6-foot-6 sophomore who came off the bench in the second half to pop in 10 points. That finished the Hawks. They were upset 79-76.
Providence beat Niagara 80-67, but it was a struggle. The Eagles had the Friars by 12 points, and tough Mike Riordan was out on fouls with 13:30 to go. Then versatile Jimmy Walker took charge. He moved to the back line on defense and began grabbing rebounds, his whirling jumpers (he got 30 points) set Providence off on a 33-8 tear, and the Friars won.
St. John's, Boston College and Syracuse had it easy. St. John's beat Pitt 74-51, Boston College took Colby 95-79 and Syracuse, with Dave Bing scoring 32 points, overwhelmed Massachusetts 114-72. With tournament time approaching, some other independents were also making their moves. ST. BONA VENTURE edged Seton Hall 88-82 and Duquesne 71-70 while GEORGETOWN overtook Fordham 81-79 for its fifth in a row. NYU bombed Fairleigh Dickinson 108-76 as Mai Graham scored 47 points.