1. NORTH CAROLINA (18-4)
2. VIRGINIA (15-3)
3. SYRACUSE (15-4)
It had taken almost a full season, but Michigan State had finally made believers of the doubters in the Big Ten, rolling up 13 consecutive wins, and getting a No. 5 national ranking and the conference lead. Then in one long nightmare of a week, the Spartans lost twice. The first defeat, 71-66 at Indiana, was bad enough. The Hoosiers had lost five of their last six conference games, and things had turned so sour in Bloomington that when Coach Bob Knight's name was announced before the Michigan State game, there were some boos from the crowd of 12,347.
But what really hurt the Spartans was the 65-63 loss at East Lansing to cross-state rival Michigan. State fans had the feeling that the Spartans would break a 1-9 drought against the Wolverines, and in anticipation of that, they hurled invective at Michigan Coach Johnny Orr. But when Mark Lozier's 29-foot shot fell through the net as time expired, the . Wolverines were on top once again. Looking like Joel Grey on a bad night, Orr danced onto the floor after the game, blowing kisses at the Michigan State students who had abused him.
After the Spartans won a return engagement against Indiana 68-59. they were tied with Purdue for the conference lead, both with 8-2 records. The Boilermakers made it to the top by dumping Michigan twice. In the first game at Ann Arbor, the Wolverines hit just 38% of their shots and took only one free throw, compared to 21 foul shots for Purdue, which won 80-65. The Boilermakers then slipped by Ohio State 71-69, and then Purdue's Joe Barry Carroll hit the Wolverines with 17 rebounds. 12 points and three blocked shots in a 75-66 victory. Said Orr. who was no longer dancing. " Purdue is the best team we've played this year."
Minnesota moved back into the Big Ten chase by beating Northwestern twice and Iowa once. Against the Hawkeyes, the Gophers connected on 22 of their 25 shots in the second half.
Loyola added Indiana State and Georgetown to its list of highly regarded victims, which had already included Marquette. The Ramblers handed the once-feared Sycamores their fifth straight loss, 79-76, before surprising the Hoyas 68-65 in overtime.
Kentucky took a stranglehold on the Southeastern Conference lead with a 90-73 victory over Georgia and an 88-61 defeat of Florida. Sophomore Guard Kyle Macy hit 11 of 13 shots and all eight of his free-throw attempts against Florida. He also had nine steals and six assists. Shooting 68%, Florida then turned around and beat Alabama 84-73, with Al Bonner scoring 29 points.
Wisconsin-Green Bay, the No. 1-ranked team in Division II, ran its record to 21-0 with victories over Northeast Missouri (92-59) and Indiana-Purdue (86-59). Green Bay is leading the division in four of the six team statistical categories: defense, scoring margin, field-goal percentage and won-lost percentage. Green Bay Center Ron Ripley is the nation's leading field-goal shooter, hitting at a 70% clip.
1. KENTUCKY (16-1)
2. MARQUETTE (17-2)
3. MICH. ST. (16-3)