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Then Hall patiently brought his charges on, watched them "grow up" more times than Tuesday Weld and led them past Alabama at midseason. That contest reversed the flow of things; the 'Cats won their last nine games and Kevin Grevey turned into one of the hottest sophomores in the land.
"We wanted to show that a good white team can beat a good black team," sophomore Mike Flynn said after the Alabama victory. It is likely the Wildcats will get another chance at that since their old sparring partner, Marquette, is back again in the other half of the draw.
The Warriors always have found a way to lose this regional in the past, but the clues say now is their time. They are probably the quickest team in America, for one thing. They have a new dominant big man in Maurice Lucas, for another. Even the superb scrap and hustle that Bobby Knight's Indiana will bring to their game should not be enough to offset Marquette's dazzling movement and board play.
Bobby T, or "General Patton," as Marquette's Al McGuire calls Knight, has done the coaching job of the year in molding a freshman backcourt to go with a couple of sophomores and team leader John Ritter. The Hoosiers" tenacity in outlasting Minnesota at the bell was impressive, and they are very deep. For Indiana to keep winning, however, senior Center Steve Downing has to have exceptional nights, and it is probably too much to expect him to battle alone Marquette's Lucas, Larry McNeil and the King of Garbage, George (Sugar) Frazier, up above the rims.
"General Patton will have his troops ready," says McGuire. "All I hope is they let us play. We like to be physical."
The winner of this game should get by Kentucky to St. Louis. The Warriors especially have a score to settle with the Wildcats from last year when Kentucky not only beat them but took some cheap shots, too. McGuire, certainly, is a master at score-settling, and his team finally should take the Mideast.
Down at Charlotte, meanwhile, all of Lefty Driesell's fans in Carolina are sure to lay out the welcome mat for the prodigal son. Lefty coached at Davidson for nine years. Now he coaches Maryland. You remember Maryland—the Pepperdine of the East. Well, after N.C. State was banished and North Carolina was upset last weekend, Driesell suddenly found himself with the stupefying prospect of having only to beat Clemson, Wake Forest and Syracuse to reach the East final. Quickly, Maryland was two-thirds there, backing in all the way, and everybody still had Lefty to kick around some more.
Maryland is one of the more interesting teams in the country, combining guys who play tennis, quote Ferlinghetti, impersonate clowns, dig paintings by C�zanne and serve on presidential committees. The Terps have two Whites, two Browns, a Bo, a Bozo, a Mac, a Mo and much more—Len Elmore by name. Despite the presence of the more publicized Tom McMillen, it is the 6'9" Elmore upon whose broken foot the hopes of the Terps now rest. Maryland needed him against Wake Forest last week and he won the game with his hobbling-rebounding. The next night Driesell's men played so well they almost beat N.C. State without him.
Now peaking and playing its best under the direction of freshman John Lucas, Maryland should get by small and pesky Syracuse, but the East finale might be a different story. There, Driesell's guards, Lucas and defensive ace Bob Bodell, will be hard-pressed to stop a Providence backcourt that is probably the best in the country.
This assumes the Friars defeat their nemesis of last year, Penn, which is no certainty. The Quakers under Coach Chuck Daly have led the nation in defense all season and they eliminated St. John's in the first round by holding Bill Schaeffer to just 16 points. Penn's reconstructed backcourt, with sophomore John Beecroft, handles pressure well, and everybody plays defense with savage flair. But the offense depends entirely on Phil Hankinson and Ron Haigler, and Daly admits to having "reluctant shooters."