It was holiday time, and the sound of the consolation game was in the land. Where there is a consolation game, or two, or five, there is a basketball tournament, and this year the NCAA scheduled more tournaments than ever before: 48, in fact, of what are called "principal in-season tournaments." Thirty-five of them occurred over a 12-day period during the holidays, and that's a lot of consolation games. If the sport's festival time proved anything, however, it is that home is not always happy for the holidays, and that determining the best teams in the land must wait until conference races are over—when tournaments again will provide the answers.
1. PRINCETON (8-1)
2. BOSTON COLLEGE (9-1)
3. PROVIDENCE (9-2)
Born in Boston, a prep in North Carolina, a college student in PROVIDENCE, Jimmy Walker is now New York's boy. For the second straight year, the Holiday Festival crowds in Madison Square Garden were dazzled by Walker's presence. After St. John's and Brigham Young, two anticipated powers, were eliminated by NORTHWESTERN 62-60 and ST. JOSEPH'S 67-61, respectively, the field lost some of its luster. But Walker scored 37 points to lead Providence past Duquesne 82-55; then against Northwestern he went man-to-man against the Wildcats' strong guard, Jim Burns, and, though missing 25 floor shots, still scored 38 points. Burns got 26 himself but the Friars pulled away at the end and won 91-79. St. Joseph's meanwhile displayed a masterfully coached full-court pressing defense and, helped by Cliff Anderson's 39 points, ran Rhode Island out of the Garden 89-75. Asked how he would play Walker, rookie Coach Jack McKinney said, "Three Mafia guys will stop him at the hotel." But the next night, to the tones of "The Hawk is dead" from one end of the arena and "The Hawk will never die" from the other, the Hawks did stop Walker—for 20 minutes. Leading 45-35 at the half, St. Joe's offense died against the Friar zone—it could not hit from outside or control the offensive boards. Walker then took more and more personal control. In a decisive 11-minute period he scored 14 points and passed off for four other baskets, as the roaring acclaim of 18,499 showered down on him. Providence won going away 82-76, Walker had 25 points and New Yorkers were swearing again that here was the finest all-round player in the land.
GEORGETOWN manhandled the field at the Kodak City Classic in Rochester, defeating Purdue 104-82 and Dartmouth 101-69. And CONNECTICUT won its own Invitational, outscoring George Washington 89-69 and Virginia 100-79.
1. HOUSTON (11-1)
2. TEXAS WESTERN (8-2)
3. SMU (7-3)
In the Arkansas State Invitational HOUSTON dogged it past a couple of easy marks. Elvin Hayes and Don Chaney scored 22 points apiece as the Cougars defeated Kent State 85-73. The Flashes made it close on four goal-tending violations by Hayes but Chaney got the points right back by making seven steals. In the championship game against Arkansas State Hayes rammed in two stuff shots to get the Cougars home 68-58. For the two games, Hayes had 45 points and 39 rebounds.
El Paso's Sun Carnival usually is the setting where Texas Western lures three victims to its mountain retreat and hacks them into small bits as Miner supporters whoop with glee. This year the TW backers only roared at the officiating, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS went with a 1-3-1 zone to keep David Lattin from the ball, and when Daddy D got a little boisterous going for it he was called for three fouls within eight minutes. The Salukis upset the Miners 59-54 as Ralph Johnson scored 22 points. But in the final Southern came up against SMU, and the zone was not good enough. Denny Holman scored 15 points, the last two on foul shots with nine seconds left, to win it for the Mustangs 66-64.
The nation's oldest tournament had the holidays' biggest surprise when Cinderella MONTANA STATE upset solid Texas 91-87 and previously undefeated Temple 61-60 to reach the finals of the 31st All-College tourney in Oklahoma City. Then, against a typical Abe Lemons ("When in doubt, shoot") Oklahoma City team, the Bobcats did it again—an 82-81 overtime chiller for the championship.