All sorts of brochures, buttons, place mats and business cards put out by UD were proclaiming "a new era of basketball excitement," and maybe they were right. Certainly Wells was excited when he won his second successive MVP trophy. Certainly Vitale was excited when he earned a technical foul in the first five minutes of the game.
The Titans were not ready yet to challenge the Red Wings or Pistons as gate attractions, but they had won their 11th Motor City Classic in 22 years and, after nine games, Vitale had a .889 winning percentage as a varsity coach, considerably higher than John Wooden's .752 and Dean Smith's .639. With Minnesota, St. Bonaventure, Marquette, Louisville and other toughies left on the schedule, the Titans could still shrink into Tiny Tims, but chances are they will finish anywhere from 17-9 to 20-6 and get a bid to the National Invitation Tournament, where they could be rematched with Fairfield.
"I'm totally ecstatic," said Vitale in his locker room. "We said a little prayer here after the game, hoping that the new year will bring us happiness and more good health. Maybe we're better than even Dick Vitale thinks." As in Hi, pal.