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IT ALL STARTS HERE
Alexander Wolff
November 28, 1983
The annual Peach Basket Festival in Springfield, Mass. celebrates the beginnings of basketball and the opening of every new season
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November 28, 1983

It All Starts Here

The annual Peach Basket Festival in Springfield, Mass. celebrates the beginnings of basketball and the opening of every new season

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It has also raised some hairs. None of the first four games was decided by more than six points; twice games have gone into overtime; and there have now been two certified upsets, St. John's having stunned North Carolina's defending NCAA champions last November. In large part, the good games have been a byproduct of astute matchmaking. "We want the dynasties, the UCLAs and Kentuckys," says Steitz, one of the Classic's founders, who has the connections to line them up. "The gravy for the Hall of Fame comes from television, and it's a year-to-year deal with TV. So the game has to have appeal."

Great games have come with great teams, but Saturday's could have been better. Olajuwon quite literally walked through it, traveling on four occasions. Phi Slamma Jamma's highly touted fledgling pledge, freshman Rickie Winslow, went scoreless in 12 minutes. Benny Anders looked more enthusiastic during his visit to the Hall. And Coach Guy V. Lewis kept his Cougars in a tight zone even after Charles began floating outside to can 17-footers. But Lewis, who was one of the first coaches to broach the idea of a game to benefit the Hall of Fame, might note that both Louisville (1980) and North Carolina (1982) found losses in Springfield to be springboards to lousy starts. Let's not forget, though, that this is still November, when any school can prattle about Seattle.

Oh yes, Seattle, the site of the '84 Final Four. For all the preseason forecasting, there's really only one certainty. This season will end in rain.

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