COLLEGE BASKETBALL—While the NCAA title fight was running its course in North Carolina (page 22), the Big Ten continued its postseason success as PURDUE and INDIANA captured the NIT and CCA championships respectively. The Boilermakers downed Utah 87-81 in New York and the Hoosiers bombed Southern California 85-60 in the inaugural conference runner-up event at St. Louis. Other tournament triumphs were earned by MERCER COUNTY of Trenton, N.J. (Junior College), IMMACULATA of Pennsylvania (Women) and JACKSONVILLE (AAU). It was the second straight championship for Mercer and the third in a row for Immaculata.
PRO BASKETBALL—ABA: Sometimes it seemed most of the action was on the sidelines: in Memphis, Referee George Conley ejected Tarn Coach Butch van Breda Kolff in the first period against Kentucky because he wouldn't come out of the stands. In the third period, Conley was threatened by an irate fan who wouldn't stay in them. Kentucky finally won 121-103, but not before another Tarn fanatic bounced a cup of ice off the head of Colonel Guard Louie Dampier. "I'm sorry he got in the way," the lady explained. "I was trying to hit the ref." Only two nights earlier Memphis had been sentenced to the East Division cellar for the third straight year while Utah was clinching its third consecutive West Division title by sinking the Tarns 118-103. Indiana and San Antonio were in a dead heat behind the Stars for second place. Both managed wins over slumping Carolina, the Spurs 100-93, the Pacers 104-102. New York stayed .008 percentage points ahead of Kentucky in the tight East Division race as both won three games.
NBA: While Los Angeles was making waves with victories over Western Conference powers Milwaukee and Chicago, Golden State was nose-diving into San Francisco Bay. The turnabout all but assured the Pacific Division championship and last remaining playoff berth for the Lakers. Guard Jim Price scored 24 points in each of the Los Angeles wins, 120-114 over the Bucks and 99-93 over the Bulls, and Elmore Smith's 29 points against Chicago was a season high. Milwaukee had plenty of consolation in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's winning the league MVP award. Golden State, meanwhile, fell to the Bucks 111-100, twice to Seattle 110-107 and 139-137 and Buffalo 115-102. In spite of its also-ran status, Atlanta enjoyed a successful week as Pete Maravich keyed three triumphs, including a 99-89 victory over Boston when he scored 38. Kansas City- Omaha was another non-contender to knock off a playoff-bound team, managing a 107-106 win over New York, whose biggest concern now is the comeback attempt of Center Willis Reed. Reed appeared for eight minutes of action in a 106-104 win over Phoenix, marking his first time on court since Nov. 25.
BOWLING—JOHNNY GUENTHER of Seattle ran up his second straight victory on the PBA tour, defeating Larry Laub of San Francisco 225-215 to take the $10,000 prize at the Miller High Life Open in Milwaukee.
CURLING—The UNITED STATES team, skipped by Bud Somerville of Superior, Wis., won the world championship in Bern, Switzerland, 11-4 in nine ends over defending champion Sweden.
DOG SLEDDING—CARL HUNTINGTON of Galena, Alaska, mushed his seven-dog team into Nome to win the 1,049-mile Iditarod race and the $12,000 first prize, completing the trek from Anchorage in 20 days, 15 hours and 2:07.
GOLF—JOHNNY MILLER'S third-round hole in one highlighted his fourth tour victory of the year, an impressive three-stroke triumph worth $40,000 in the Sea Pines Heritage Classic at Hliton Head Island, S.C. (page 26).
HOCKEY—NHL: Bobby Orr celebrated his 26th birthday, and answered the request of a seriously ill teenager by scoring three goals in Boston's 7-0 defeat of St. Louis. Orr met the young fan, 16-year-old Ronald Michaud of Fall River, Mass., at a hockey awards dinner in Swansea, Mass. after he was taken there by ambulance. The Bruin defenseman's promised goals were his 28th, 29th and 30th of the year. Meanwhile, Mickey Redmond led Detroit to upset wins over the East Division's second-and third-place teams, Montreal and New York, getting his second hat trick of the year in the 7-6 triumph over the Canadiens and his 50th goal for the second straight year in a 5-3 defeat of the Rangers. Los Angeles stayed in strong contention for a West Division playoff berth behind Goalie Gary Edwards' first shutout performance this season, 5-0 against Vancouver. It marked the Kings' 10th straight game without a loss.
WHA: New England remained very much in command of the East Division, but the five teams behind were bunched within eight points of each other. The only club without a hope for the playoffs was last-place Jersey, whose five-game unbeaten streak was ended by Chicago, 4-1. The Cougars' own six-game winning string was snapped by Cleveland 7-4. Toronto gained a 6-3 victory over West Division champion Houston as Wayne Dillon scored four goals. The Aeros had clinched their title the night before by edging Cleveland 5-4.
MOTOR SPORTS—CALE YARBOROUGH wheeled his Chevrolet at an average 136.91 mph to a 21.7-second victory over pole-sitter David Pearson in the Atlanta 500. The South Carolinian's triumph paid $15,950.