Oklahoma stayed atop the Big Eight, but its cast of pursuers changed as Missouri and Nebraska were replaced by Kansas and Kansas State. The Sooners began the week by winning 74-67 at Oklahoma State behind Al Beal's 18 points and 11 rebounds and John McCullough's 19 points. Darnell Valentine put on perhaps his finest performance for Kansas—27 points, six steals and four assists—as the Jayhawks won 88-85 at Missouri. Three days later it was a must-win situation for Kansas as it faced visiting Oklahoma. The Jayhawks forced eight turnovers in the first six minutes and zoomed in front 20-4. The Sooners tied the score early in the second half, but lost 74-62 as Kansas' John Crawford popped in 17 of his 19 points in the late going. Valentine again excelled, getting 19 points, nine assists, five rebounds and four steals. Kansas State dumped Nebraska 58-46 and Colorado 59-57 to tie Kansas for second, one game behind Oklahoma.
Indiana State twice came on like gang-busters in the second half to remain unbeaten. With Larry Bird pumping in 20 of his 33 points after the intermission, the Sycamores came through with a rousing 62 points in the second half as they swamped Drake 100-79. At Bradley, State trailed 29-28 before storming to a 91-72 win in which Carl Nicks had 31 points. But Bird, who was double-teamed, had a career low of four points.
Texas A&M seemed to be emulating its football team, which began last season 4-0 and then fell apart. The Aggies, 20-4 and tied for the Southwest Conference lead at the beginning of the week, lost twice. At Arkansas, the Aggies could not cope with the Razor-backs' press and were defeated 60-56. And at Texas Tech, A&M quickly fell behind by 14 points, was kept off balance by the Red Raiders' full-court pressure defense and. despite Rynn Wright's 22 points, lost 67-63. Texas became the undisputed leader in the SWC by running roughshod over Rice 95-52 as Phil Stroud had 23 points and 14 rebounds. Jumping up to second place, one game back of the Longhorns, was Arkansas, which got 28 points and 15 rebounds from Sidney Moncrief while clobbering TCU 108-65.
Louisville beat Memphis State 103-82 and Tulane 77-66 to improve its Metro 7 record to 7-0.
Alcorn (Miss.) State brought its record to 22-0 by downing Mississippi Valley State 90-69 and Jacksonville State 84-71.
1. INDIANA STATE (22-0)
2. LOUISVILLE (21-4)
3. TEXAS (17-5)
"We don't even belong on the same court with that team," said Ohio State Coach Eldon Miller before facing visiting Michigan State. Miller's Buckeyes proved him right by getting blown out 73-55. Five different Ohio State defenders tried—and failed—to corral the Spartans' Earvin Johnson, who peppered the nets for 26 points. That left Ohio State, Iowa and Purdue tied for the Big Ten lead, one game ahead of Michigan State.
The Spartans began the week with a 60-57 victory at Iowa. The Hawkeyes then wore down Wisconsin's big men in the second half and got 19 points from Kevin Boyle and 18 from Ronnie Lester in a 79-65 triumph. Purdue won twice at home, 71-65 over Illinois and 76-64 over Northwestern as Joe Barry Carroll contributed 48 points. Before being floored by Michigan State, Ohio State survived 21 points and 14 rebounds by Michigan's Phil Hubbard to win 63-60.