For one thing, the Friars do not have a power forward, and Barnes says he will have to guard Thompson. This would leave Burleson open in the middle, where Penn's John Engles had a field day last week. Ultimately, for Providence to upset State, Barnes will have to stay down under, and Stacom must have a dazzling night while Thompson and company are suffering post-ACC letdown. The Friars are just one little Italian guard short of being able to pull it off.
The Midwest: This is the regional that came in from the cold. Originally nobody wanted it. Now nobody can win it. Transferred from New Mexico State to Wichita State to Kansas State, the games were finally put down at Oral Roberts and then—surprise!—the Titans were invited to play.
The fact is the champion here ought to mail in its scores to Greensboro. Louisville is too small. Kansas is too slow. Creighton is too white. And Oral Roberts—well, this is not a year to get the Devil ticked off.
"The Lord meant ORU to play in Tulsa," orated Oral himself after somebody up there put a hate on Syracuse and gave the Titans an 86-82 overtime win by virtue of missed Orange free throws.
Roberts had long since forced Coach Ken ("Ah'm not scientific; Ah jest want mah gahs shootin' 50 tahms a half") Trickey into resigning. Then big Guards Sudden Sam McCants and Al Boswell came through with flashy seasons, and ORU became a spectacular freak show of offense.
On the other end of the floor, though, the team is godforsaken. An equally fast opponent with discipline can get all the three-footers it wants, and that's the scenario Louisville hopes to follow.
Coach Denny Crum's Cardinals have the finest gang of flyers since the Wallendas, featuring rookie Wesley Cox, a 6'5" center, and Bill Butler, a 6'1" forward, on the high wire. Allen Murphy is Sudden Sam's equal as a shooter, and Louisville's Junior Bridgeman will be the best player on the floor. But a run 'n' gun affair might take too much out of the winners for them to recover enough for a physical tussle with, probably, Kansas.
The Jayhawks are not a lock to defeat Creighton, the tournament light-horse, which is well-coached, poised and has traveled everywhere but to the Golan Heights under the reins of Eddie Sutton. But Kansas, with pivots Danny Knight and Rick Suttle muscling inside, Norm Cook and Roger Morningstar scoring from the wings and Tom Kivisto supplying brains in backcourt, has some impressive artillery.
Speaking of which, security guards recently shot a man who threatened to bomb the Mabee Center at Oral Roberts. When the shooting stops this time, the survivor should be Kansas.
The Mideast: A lot of things could have happened in Tuscaloosa. There could have been a kind of rematch of the national football championship between Alabama and Notre Dame. There could have been a rematch of the national bad-taste-and-obscene-finger-gestures championship between Marquette and Wisconsin. But what is here is simply the best regional of the four—again.