On the same day that Arkansas moved into the top spot in the Associated Press poll, the Razorbacks walloped Baylor 82-56. "We wanted to play like the No. 1 team in the nation and not slop around," said Arkansas' Sidney Moncrief. Five days later the Hogs got slopped by Houston 84-75, preventing Arkansas from taking undisputed possession of first place in the Southwest Conference.
The game at Houston was Arkansas' third of the week. Previously the Razorbacks had defeated Southern Methodist (86-75) as well as Baylor, and they appeared to have locked up the bye into the finals of the SWC tournament, which goes with the conference championship, after Texas dropped its second league game. Should both Texas and Arkansas win their final regular season games this week, Texas will receive the bye by virtue of its two wins over Houston.
Arkansas entered the game against the Cougars with the best shooting percentage (.556) in the nation, but hit only 46% of its shots against Houston's full-court press.
Texas won two out of three of its games, but lost to the same Baylor team Arkansas had embarrassed earlier. Jim Krivacs scored 34 points for the Longhorns in a listless 90-66 win over Texas A&M. In that game Texas was outrebounded 64-42, much to the dismay of Longhorn Coach Abe Lemons. "We're just not a rebounding team," he said. "We've got some guys who can jump, but nothing seems to happen. It's hard to jump with your hands over your head. It makes you dizzy."
The Longhorns must have felt a little dizzy after lowly Baylor got through with them. The Bears' Jim Vaszauskas, a transfer student who did not become eligible until January, hit two free throws with eight seconds remaining to seal the victory. "I wish it had been anybody up there but him," said Lemons. "He's too inexperienced to choke."
Oklahoma, which had lost twice to Nebraska by trying to run against the Huskers, used a more controlled offense and came up with a 74-68 win that eliminated Nebraska from the Big Eight race. Nine of the Sooners' 14 first-half baskets were layups. Oklahoma's victory helped Kansas, which beat Iowa State 80-70 and Nebraska 75-70 to clinch its 37th Big Eight championship. The Jayhawks built a 25-point cushion against Iowa State, but the Cyclones trimmed it to eight points before Kansas freshman Darnell Valentine scored six quick points to nail down the win. Valentine also scored 13 of the Jayhawks' last 17 points against Nebraska.
In the Metro 7, Florida State earned the top seed in the league's postseason tournaments and at least a tie for the conference title with an 81-70 defeat of Louisville. The Seminoles got 24 points from Eugene Harris—and some help from Georgia Tech, which beat Louisville 69-59, then lost to Memphis State 61-59 to guarantee Florida State the tie for the title. Memphis Guard Darrell Hollimon made an 18-foot jump shot with one second to play against the Yellow Jackets.
Creighton, one of two new members of the Missouri Valley Conference, moved into first place in the league standings with victories over West Texas State (72-51) and Indiana State (89-57). The Bluejays got a break when the Sycamores' Larry Bird, the nation's second-leading scorer, came down with the flu. Bird scored a career low of 11 points against Creighton, 19 below his average.
1. ARKANSAS (25-2)
2. KANSAS (22-3)
3. FLORIDA ST. (19-4)