Ohio State was at the bottom of the Big Ten and Coach Fred Taylor was philosophizing. "You have to live on both sides of the street in this business whether you like it or not," he said. "Right now, it's like Rod McKuen says, 'You got to remember the good times.' " Taylor had a taste of the good times at the end of the week when his Buckeyes got five clutch free throws in the closing minutes from Larry Bolden to upset Indiana 85-79. The loss dropped the Hoosiers, who had beaten Michigan State 91-85 earlier in the week, into a first-place tie with Michigan. On the strength of Campy Russell's 64 points, the Wolverines downed Wisconsin 78-74 and Minnesota 79-56.
For the seventh straight year Marquette had an invitation to the NCAA tournament, but the Warriors' play was not up to their billing. Only a 27-point performance by Maurice Lucas, who hit 12 of 17 shots from the field, saved them from an embarrassing loss to Toledo, and Coach Al McGuire saw no reason to rejoice over his team's 61-58 win. "We're still having trouble with our cohesiveness," McGuire moaned. "The kids aren't selfish, but all the talent seems to be individual talent. I think we stunk." Imagine what he thought after Cincinnati's Bearcats drubbed his Warriors 92-77. But McGuire wasn't entertaining any notions of turning down the tournament bid, as he did four years ago. To play in the NCAA, he said, "We'd go to East Taiwan with clipclops on." Marquette will meet Ohio University, which wrapped up the Mid-American Conference by beating Bowling Green 71-70.
With an NCAA at-large bid at stake, Oral Roberts overcame Southern Illinois' 52% shooting with overwhelming rebounding plus 68 points from Sam McCants, Al Boswell and Greg McDougald to win 102-88. Awarded a spot in the Midwest regionals, the Titans subsequently disposed of Oklahoma City 103-84. Fly Williams' 38 points paced Austin Peay to a 91-66 win over Ohio Valley co-leader Middle Tennessee State. The Governors will play Notre Dame in the Mideast regional. The Irish, in the meantime, won easily over Ball State 93-69 and then Villanova 115-85. Dayton, which also received an at-large bid and will play in the West regional, beat Miami of Ohio 79-74 and Northern Michigan 73-59.
Both Kansas and Kansas State, vying for the Big Eight title, ran into trouble with Nebraska. The Cornhuskers used a tenacious defense to limit the Jayhawks to 19 first-half points and less than 37% field-goal accuracy for the evening. Kansas also missed 13 of 18 free throws but, by employing both its big pivotmen—Danny Knight and Rick Suttle—at the same time, gained control of the backboards and eked out a 51-46 win. Fortunately for the Jayhawks, Nebraska shot only 33.3%. Kansas State was less fortunate. Cornhuskers Jerry Fort, Ricky Marsh and Tom Novak fired in 44 points over the Wildcat zone as Nebraska triumphed 58-54. Kansas then edged Colorado 70-68 on a 23-foot jump shot by Norm Cook with 28 seconds left. The Jayhawks can clinch the Big Eight by beating the Wildcats at home on March 6.
1. NOTRE DAME (24-1)
2. MARQUETTE (22-4)
Pennsylvania won a fifth consecutive Ivy League title and ensured a fifth straight 20-victory season when it downed Columbia 90-65. The Quakers jumped out to a 14-2 lead and poured in 53 second-half points to end Brown's and Princeton's hopes of tying for the title. Penn then polished off Cornell 84-68.
The Quakers will play Providence in the NCAA East regional. The Friars upped their record to 25-3 by handling St. John's easily, 85-67. Providence used fast-break basketball and shot 62% to put the game quickly out of reach. Earlier in the week Providence had blistered Canisius 97-69 while St. John's had downed Holy Cross 98-72. St. John's decision to play in the NIT might have helped open the door for Syracuse, which beat Colgate 64-57 and accepted an NCAA bid.
St. Joseph's surprised La Salle 76-71 in the Middle Atlantic Conference finals and will meet Pittsburgh, which ended the week with an 83-78 win over West Virginia, in the East regional. To reach the finals St. Joe's had to survive a double overtime scare with Lafayette. The Hawks blew an early 14-point lead but finally prevailed 64-61 when they converted five free throws in the final 1:08. "It's about time we won one of these," said Guard Jim O'Brien, recalling three overtime losses the Hawks suffered in one four-game span in February. St. Joe's was apprehensive because Guard Mike Moody had bruised a rib in a pileup and missed the overtime periods. But he returned the next night against La Salle, played all 40 minutes, scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. "We don't win without him," said Coach Jack McKinney. "He keeps coming up with the big play."