1. UCLA (14-0)
2. LONG BEACH STATE (14-1)
Two weeks ago when a fractured kneecap cost Texas Larry Robinson, its ace forward and last year's Southwest Conference player of the year, Coach Leon Black moaned: "There is simply no way to describe his value to our team." Now perhaps Black could find the right words. As defending champion, Texas opened conference play by losing to Baylor 85-79, and then Saturday was upended by Arkansas 76-72—at home. In the SWC nobody but nobodies lose at home and it didn't take long for the unbeatens to be reduced to two: Arkansas and Texas Tech. Arkansas' big gun is hotshot Guard Martin Terry, who hit for 29 against the Long-horns. Texas Tech had no problem easing past TCU 87-65 after starting the second half with only a six-point lead. In the Atlantic Coast Conference, Wake Forest threw a tight 2-1-2 zone at North Carolina and for 11 minutes everything went fine for the Demon Deacons. Then the Tarheels went into one of their patented explosions, scored five points in 13 seconds, and the 2-1-2 crumbled 99-80.
Against Duke the Tarheels fell behind by three at halftime, but dipped into their bench to get 20 points from John O'Donnell and won 82-71. North Carolina State had no problems against Clemson, winning 86-76, while Maryland spiked Navy's guns 76-67.
Vanderbilt, still trying to get untracked in the Southeastern Conference, heard Coach Roy Skinner warn that Mississippi State could be trouble. With 1:24 remaining the Commodores finally pushed to a 69-69 tie. But Mississippi State had the ball. "Hold for the last shot," ordered State Coach Kermit Davis. Freshman Rich Knarr missed the signal and, with 40 seconds left, missed a shot too. Down came Vandy's Lee Fowler with the ball. Fouled, Fowler sank two. A few seconds later he sank two more after another foul and Vandy pulled it out 75-69.
Kentucky, which had moved up into a tie for second place in the Southeastern Conference behind Alabama, ran into trouble against Tennessee and lost 65-64. Key to Tennessee's victory was Mike Edwards, a guard with a long memory and a hot hand. Last year Edwards missed a bonus free throw with four seconds to play and Kentucky won 67-66. This year Edwards pumped in 22 points, mostly on shots from 25 feet or deeper. "I didn't sleep much after that game last year," he said, "and it bugged me all during the off-season. People wouldn't let me forget." They will now.
1. N.C. STATE (13-0)
2. MARYLAND (11-1)