Illinois, unbeaten in seven outings, zapped Kent State 82-44. The Illini, who lead the country in field-goal percentage defense, held State to 23% shooting. Illinois' main defensive cog is 6'11" Derek Holcomb—The Incredible Hole—who has already equaled a school season record by blocking a total of 32 shots.
Big Ten teams were not the only ones to surprise more heralded squads. Mississippi dealt Nebraska a 70-67 setback, and Xavier of Ohio pulled off two shockers at the Volunteer Classic. With Nick Daniels scoring 24 points, the Musketeers downed Southern Cal 75-68 in the first round at Knoxville, and then a last-second shot from the corner by Gary Massa gave Xavier a 51-50 victory over Tennessee in the finale in which Daniels, the tournament MVP, had 22 points. The victories gave the Musketeers a 6-2 record. USC beat Niagara 75-63 for third place.
Evansville stopped Murray (Ky.) State 59-58 for its first win since the plane crash that took the lives of all of last season's team.
The Stephen F. Austin women's team won the Christmas Tournament at Columbus, Miss, by beating Valdosta (Ga.) State 78-65. Tennessee, which was ranked No. 1 nationally, was fourth, losing to Austin 69-60 and to Louisiana Tech 64-56.
1. NOTRE DAME (4-0)
2. LSU (5-0)
3. MICHIGAN STATE (3-1)