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"No, miss," said Lanier, "not basketball."
"Well, football," said the stewardess, "or fighting."
"You'd never guess," said Lanier. Then he stuck his size-19 shoes into the aisle and said, "I'm a soccer player."
The Soul Patrol will not be very popular when it meets N. C. State at Columbia, but the Bonnies should win. The last time N. C. State upset the regular-season ACC champ (1965), it was embarrassed in the East Regional by Princeton and Bill Bradley. The Wolfpack does have a big man, 6'9" sophomore Paul Coder, but he appeared to be nervous in the ACC tourney and scored only eight points. Wait until he sees Lanier.
N. C. State has a fine player in 6'6" Vann Williford, the only non-New Yorker on the all-ACC team and MVP in the tournament. Maybe the combination of "Moving Vann" and a slowdown could win against Lanier. More likely, the Bonnies will move into the regional finals against Villanova, the only team to beat them this year. Villanova (21-6) runs a crackling fast break, a radical departure from past Wildcat teams, but has retained Coach Jack Kraft's aggravating "ball defense" (a complicated zone). Howard Porter, a 6'8" junior from Florida who has amazing agility for a big man and a nice jump shot, is the star, but all five starters run well and any one of them can score 20 or 25 points.
Before getting to St. Bonaventure, Villanova must play Niagara (21-5) and its little demon, Calvin Murphy. The Purple Eagles shocked everybody, including themselves, by upsetting Ivy champion Penn 79-69. Villanova has beaten Murphy-led teams four times in a row and should make it a fifth, but the Eagles did not expect to get this far anyway. Said Coach Frank Layden: "Before the season I'd have figured I was going to the NCAA to watch."
A Villanova-St. Bonaventure final would be almost a toss-up. The Wildcats won by just two points the last time, but the Bonnies, a team that lost only that game, should win.
Kentucky, champion of the Southeastern Conference for the 25th time and beaten just once, faces the roughest regional heat in the Mideast. UK probably will not make it. This is a different sort of Kentucky team. Normally, crusty Adolph Rupp subjugates his stars to his system, allowing them about as much autonomy as the Herefords on his Lexington farm. But this season he has let 6'8½" Center Issel dominate the scene, and Issel, described by an Iowa scout as "the best post man I've seen this year," has become the most prolific scorer in the school's history. He shoots, rebounds, blocks shots and he has the aid of a strong, poised forward, Mike Pratt.
UK is matched against Notre Dame (21-6), a team it beat at Louisville 102-100 earlier in the season. The Irish have improved since then, mastering their double-stack offense that clogs up the middle and creates numerous shooting opportunities for junior Austin Carr. Carr either was given opportunities or created them himself in a qualifying game against Ohio U. Saturday. He scored 61 points, breaking Bradley's tournament record, and Notre Dame dumped the Mid-American champions 112-82.
Carr's record was the most noteworthy achievement of the busy weekend, a touch better than Wake Forest Coach Jack McCloskey's feat in the ACC tournament: he kicked a hole in the scorer's table without drawing a technical foul.