PRIDE OF THE EAST
Congratulations on your Nov. 26 college basketball preview and especially Curry Kirkpatrick's article about David Thompson and the ACC (David Goes After Goliath). With players like Thompson, Bobby Jones, Tom McMillen et al., there can be little doubt that the ACC is the best conference. Coach Bob Boyd of Southern Cal showed a great sense of humor when he said the Pacific Eight teams were better year in and year out than the ACC teams. The ACC's record speaks for itself. Last year the seven conference teams won 72 games and lost 18 against outside competition, a winning percentage of .800. Quite a record.
I would wager that if UCLA played an ACC regular-season schedule and then topped that off by playing in the ACC tournament, the Bruins would not come through undefeated. As for Bob Boyd's statement, I can only laugh, but I believe David Thompson would just smile and wink.
Attaway to tell it, Curry! That was probably the best article ever written for SI, and sure enough, the ACC is ready for another chance this year. Admittedly, the Bruins are the class of the land, but I had to read through all of the Top 20 scouting reports to find another Pacific Eight team listed. Oh, if we only had a crack at Mr. Boyd's Trojans! I don't guess they've got much of a chance, though.
When is the ACC going to stop making excuses and start winning championships? In your latest article we again hear the age-old alibi that the best team doesn't always represent the ACC in the NCAA tournament (you say only 13 times in 20 years) because of the competition in the ACC's own postseason playoff. Doesn't that tell you something about the worth of their playoffs?
As for Curry Kirkpatrick's excuse for Maryland's trouncing in last year's Eastern regionals, Len Elmore was playing on one foot because Providence kept him hopping. Even with Ernie D out for half of the game, and despite playing in ACC country, Providence put Maryland where it belongs.
I find it very sad that a magazine such as yours, which has made a success of covering the world of sport, has seemingly lost track of the spirit of good sportsmanship. How could you print an article in which Curry Kirkpatrick actually wishes the UCLA basketball team an unsuccessful year? Coach John Wooden once came to the microphone during a game at Pauley Pavilion and asked that the home fans root like mad for UCLA but that they not root against our opponent. That is class, Kirkpatrick; maybe you and your editors could learn from it.
I. R. SCHLOSSBERG
If the Atlantic Coast Conference conspired to place David Thompson, Len Elmore, Tom McMillen, John Lucas and Monte Towe on the same team, with North Carolina's bench and Lefty Driesell as coach, it still couldn't beat UCLA in Chapel Hill, Raleigh, College Park—or Oshkosh.
South Bound Brook, N.J.
Surely your ranking of UCLA No. 1 and North Carolina State No. 2 (The Top Twenty, Nov. 26) cannot be knocked. But how can anyone who knows anything about basketball talent leave a perennial Top 20 team unranked and devote only seven measly lines to it? The University of Houston will again be in the NCAA playoffs.
FELIX H. JACKSON
Notre Dame knocked off ex-No. 1 USC in football, and it will knock off UCLA in basketball. This is the year of the Irish.
How can you be so inconsistent? You mentioned defending NIT titlist Virginia Tech, which returns nine of its first 10 players this year. In light of this, how can you place Alabama and Notre Dame, two of the teams the Gobblers knocked off in the NIT last year, in your Top 20 while omitting the resurgent VPI team?