While Notre Dame and UCLA were doing their thing at South Bend, sixth-ranked Marquette was biding its time with some carefully planned lean talk among some fat scheduling. The Warriors beat Butler 73-54, and Coach Al McGuire sounded like a losing coach. "The second half was a completely undisciplined solo extravaganza," he said. "The only thing I liked about it was the horn at the end of the game. I don't know how we can possibly stop the drought that's coming without a complete turnaround. Our ball handling was atrocious and our offense was Dunkirk. I honestly don't know how we can be 13-1." The Warriors were 14-1 after downing another patsy, Fordham, 90-74, but with Long Beach State, Loyola and Notre Dame directly ahead, McGuire said with even longer face, "The party's over now."
Purdue and Michigan, until Monday the two undefeated teams in Big 10 play, both scored conference wins. The Boilermakers fast-broke their way past Northwestern 89-76 in a game that saw the two top scorers from both teams foul out. Michigan needed a 17-foot jumper from ex-football Tight End C. J. Kupec at the buzzer to nip Michigan State 84-82. Indiana and Wisconsin, with one conference loss each, continued to threaten the leaders. The Hoosiers scored the last six points to beat Northwestern 72-67 and scrambled back from a 48-42 deficit to edge Iowa 55-51. Indiana Coach Bobby Knight has now started 12 players one or more times while looking for the right combination. Wisconsin toyed with Illinois 101-75.
Kansas took over the lead in the Big Eight when it squeezed past Iowa State 73-69 and Oklahoma State 68-66. The Jayhawks virtually duplicated Notre Dame's shocking finish against UCLA when they scored the final 10 points of the Oklahoma State game in the last 1:56. A 25-foot jumper by a substitute, Tommy Smith, heretofore noted principally for his lackadaisical attitude, floated into the basket after the buzzer to decide the contest. Oklahoma, which clobbered Colorado 91-66 early in the week, fell out of a share of the lead when it lost to Nebraska 63-58.
Louisville handed Memphis State its third straight loss, 94-81, giving the Tigers their longest losing streak since Gene Bartow became coach three seasons ago. Louisville outscored Memphis State 22-7 at the free-throw line, where Cardinal Coach Denny Crum caused some of the action by drawing two straight technicals for questioning the officiating. "That was a lousy call," said Crum. "Look, even the player's laughing." First technical. "Look," insisted Crum, "the player's still laughing." Second technical.
Cincinnati was upset 99-82 by Ball State (on a rare five-game win streak) before rallying to beat Fairleigh-Dickinson 96-70. Ball State Coach Jim Holstein called his team's upset victory "the biggest win ever, personally and for the school." Oral Roberts put itself into enviable position for a postseason playoff berth with three wins, including a 70-68 thriller at Virginia Tech in which Eddie Woods tipped in his own free throw in the final nine seconds for the winning margin.
1. NOTRE DAME (10-0)
2. MARQUETTE (14-1)
Seventh-ranked Providence had its hands full and then some with lightly regarded but undefeated Massachusetts. With 2� minutes to play, U Mass led 70-62. The Friars resorted to a full-court press and scored seven straight points and then took a one-point lead, only to fall behind again 76-73 with but 34 seconds remaining. In addition, Friar star Marvin Barnes had fouled out. But somebody was watching over Providence. Massachusetts still led 76-75 when Rick Pitino blew a free throw, and with six seconds left, Kevin Stacom, who had been shooting poorly all night, hit an 18-foot jumper for a 77-76 Providence win. After that a 67-62 win over St. Joseph's which had lost earlier in the week to Penn 55-53, seemed a breather.
Syracuse held high-flying Larry Fogle to 24 points, 14 under his nation-leading average, and stopped Canisius 87-74. The Orangemen also beat Temple 70-61 to up their record to 10-3. Fogle, meanwhile, had another below-par night with 26 points against St. Bonaventure, but this time teammate Charley Jordan picked up the slack as the Golden Griffins won 69-64.