Penn State, which qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1965, had particular reason to feel gratified. When the Lions announced that they would be joining the Big Ten starting in 1992-93, the other Atlantic 10 teams decided that they didn't want Penn State around next season. So the Lions will spend 1991-92 as an independent.
But Penn State coach Bruce Parkhill was far more interested in celebrating his team's NCAA bid than he was in debating conference politics. "This is like the cherry on top of the sundae," said Parkhill, who inherited a 5-22 team when he took over the Nittany Lions eight seasons ago.
George Washington's turnaround was much faster. The Colonials finished 1-27 two years ago and 14-17 in 1989-90 but are 19-11 this season under first-year coach Mike Jarvis, who coached Patrick Ewing at Cambridge (Mass.) Rindge and Latin High before beginning a successful run at Boston University in 1985. In the game against Penn State, Jarvis drew a technical on George Washington's first possession. That helped the Lions get off to a fast start, and the Colonials never recovered. Still, Jarvis wasn't discouraged. "I'm going to pray for these kids to be accepted to the NIT," he said.
On Sunday his prayers were answered. More important, George Washington's prayers may have been answered when it hired Jarvis.
Utah coach Rick Majerus, who underwent bypass surgery in December 1989, had an unsavory gift awaiting him when he arrived at his hotel room in Laramie, Wyo., site of the WAC tournament. "I've got heart trouble, and I get to my room where there's a welcoming goodie basket with fudge, peanut brittle and chocolate bars," said Majerus. "Why don't you just shoot me?"...Lamont Strothers, a guard for Division III Christopher Newport College in Newport News, Va., ended his collegiate career with 20 points in a 110-50 loss to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. That game marked the 116th consecutive time that Strothers scored in double figures, which is an NCAA record. The previous mark of 115 was set last season by Lionel Simmons of Division I La Salle.... As if Georgia State isn't going to have enough trouble with Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA tournament this Friday, the Panthers faced the possibility of having to make do without their best player, 6'6" senior forward Chris Collier. As a devout follower of the Worldwide Church of God, Collier does little more than rest and pray from sundown on Fridays to sundown on Saturdays. Georgia State successfully petitioned for an afternoon starting time on Friday, and Collier will be able to play.