Before facing Butler in Indianapolis, Coach Al McGuire of Marquette said: "When my kids first meet me they think I'm a con man. But I let them talk and I talk to them." All of which, he claims, creates a healthy atmosphere. But in the locker room after the Warriors had struggled from a 66-61 deficit to a 67-66 win, the conversation was noticeably one-sided. McGuire was the speaker—shouter would be more correct—as he questioned his players' intestinal fortitude. Two nights later Marquette won its 10th game without a loss by beating DePaul 60-59 on Larry McNeill's hook shot with nine seconds remaining. Four of the Warriors' past five games have been decided by a total of eight points, and four times the other team had the last shot that could have won. Maybe it is the players who are conning McGuire, who said, "I need a psychiatrist."
"We just couldn't put the stupid ball in the hole early," said Ohio State Coach Fred Taylor after being jostled by Michigan 68-62 despite 28 points from Allan Hornyak. Wolverine Coach Johnny Orr had a more graphic analysis: "We boarded tremendously well, confused 'em with our 1-2-2 zone and kept them from shooting free throws." It also helped that Campy Russell connected for 23 points. It was the first time since 1966 that the Wolverines had won at Columbus, but the real shocker during the opening round of Big Ten play was Iowa's 65-62 overtime win at home over previously unbeaten Minnesota. "I don't know if we're willing to pay the price for what it takes to win." said Gopher Coach Bill Musselman, who also expressed disbelief at having been out-rebounded 47-44. Kevin Kunnert of the Hawkeyes dominated play, scoring 26 points and getting 15 rebounds. With Northwestern missing its first 11 shots, Michigan State had no trouble earning a 90-77 win.
A year ago Oklahoma Coach John MacLeod correctly noted that the quality of play in the Big Eight was "a little down," causing some fellow coaches to consider him a Benedict Arnold. This season MacLeod said he doubted that there was a stronger conference than the Big Eight, which won him friends but still left much to be proved. Neither Missouri (11-0) nor Kansas State (9-2) played last week and Oklahoma State lost to St. Louis 78-55, so MacLeod's Sooners did their best for the coach's theory, knocking off Texas 81-78 and SMU 84-68.
For the 10th time in succession Houston won the Bluebonnet Classic, drubbing West Texas State 130-84 and Texas A&M 114-85. North Texas State rarely gets a chance to take on Southwest Conference teams—the Eagles met their last SWC opponent five years ago—so it was ready when it played TCU, rallying to win 67-53.
Oral Roberts won twice, 81-76 over Marshall and 103-86 over Morehead State. Pan American jetted to a 35-20 lead over Southwestern Louisiana, then lost 86-75.
A sign urged Loyola of Chicago to "Beat MacMurray in a Hurry." The Ramblers did, rushing to a 45-15 advantage and a 103-79 win.
1. MARQUETTE (10-0)
2. MISSOURI (11-0)
Another coach who likes to interact with his players is Bucknell's Jim Valvano, 26, who says, "When I took the job I had a one-hour interview with each player, letting him do all the talking. Then I talked to the team for two hours. I'm not a front-of-the-bus coach. I want to be tight with my team." Visually, Valvano is tight with Joe Namath, whom he resembles. "The difference between Namath and me," he says, "is that Joe is rich and he's called ruggedly handsome. I'm poor and people say I have a big nose." After losing to Georgia 97-80 and beating Georgia Southern 68-63, Bucknell, with five wins, looked as handsome as it did all last year.