Seven teams were eliminated in the first round (page 28) but defending champion TEXAS WESTERN, playing in the Far West Regional this year, was still in contention. The Miners eased past Seattle 62-54 in Fort Collins, Colo. HOUSTON edged New Mexico State 59-58 in the Midwest while PRINCETON beat West Virginia 68-57, ST. JOHN'S took Temple 57-53 and BOSTON COLLEGE survived an agonizing stall to defeat Connecticut 48-42 in the East. The surprises were in the Mideast, where DAYTON shocked Western Kentucky 69-67 and VIRGINIA TECH upset Toledo 82-76.
The winners all play this weekend in the NCAA Regionals in College Park, Md., Evanston, Ill., Lawrence, Kans. and Corvallis, Ore.
By wisely extending an invitation to the nation's No. 1 small-college team, Southern Illinois, and winning approval from the ACC and Big Eight for their conference runners-up to compete, New York's own tournament had an interesting look. Then the Salukis and underdog Rutgers made it through the opening round and the selection committee began to look positively brilliant.
A group of SOUTHERN ILLINOIS students, spiffy in blazers, rolled out a green carpet for their team before the game with St. Peter's and the Salukis took it from there. They ball-handled smartly, defended strongly and, although noted for their ball-control style, even whipped St. Peter's at its own running game. Sophomore Dick Garrett, a sharp jump shooter, and Little All-America Walt Frazier poured in 52 points between them and Southern rolled it up 103-58. "I've always been a conservative," explained Coach Jack Hartman, "but we were able to get the ball out, so we ran."
For a while it looked as if MARSHALL was going to shoot Villanova right out of sight. Jim Davidson, George Stone and Lew D'Antoni, firing from long range, hit over the Wildcats' usually effective 3-2 zone and the Thundering Herd had a 10-point lead at the half. Then Coach Jack Kraft made some adjustments in his defense. His players began to press and double-team, and Johnny Jones, a smooth sophomore shooter who scored 28 points, got Villanova into a 64-64 tie. But Marshall's 6'9" Bob Allen, who had taken only one shot—and made it—killed off the Wildcats in overtime. Although he missed three free throws, Allen also scored three points, was fouled at the buzzer and calmly made both shots to win for Marshall 70-68. "It was like I was in a world all by myself," reflected Allen. "I said a prayer."
Memphis State thought it had a good chance against PROVIDENCE with its deliberate game and a defense that was the second best in the nation. The Tigers, naturally, had heard all about Jimmy Walker and how he bewildered defenders with his deft ball handling, between-the-legs dribbles, twisting jumps and blind passes, but they had to see him to believe it. Coach Moe Iba put Alan Mirrielees, his best defensive player, on Walker but Mirrielees was helpless. Jimmy scored 37 points and Providence won 77-68.
New Mexico came into New York with 11 pretty dancers and cheerleaders, a karate-type man-to-man defense and a superb re-bounder in 6'9" Mel Daniels. All of this came in handy in a rough battle with Syracuse. Until he fouled out late in the game Daniels gave the Lobos the boards and the points—he scored 20—for a 62-58 lead with 1:46 to play. Then Ron Sanford, Daniels' sub, and Syracuse's Rick Dean got into a no-punch scuffle on a held ball and an unkind official surprisingly called a technical on Dean for "elbowing." Ron Nelson shot the technical that gave New Mexico a five point lead and the Orange never quite caught up. They lost 66-64.
What looked like a breeze for MARQUETTE suddenly turned into a fight for survival when Tulsa staged a late rally. Bob Wolf, an outside sharpshooter, had flipped in eight baskets to give Marquette an early 21-8 lead and Coach Al McGuire's switching defenses kept Tulsa under control until the last 3� minutes. Then Eldridge Webb and Bobby Smith got loose for 10 points. But it was too late. Marquette won 64-60.