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Coach Joe B. Hall was so disgusted by Kentucky's defense in a 63-58 defeat at Tennessee—the Wildcats' 11th loss to the Vols in Knoxville in 12 years—that he held two days of brutal workouts in which the Cats spent a good deal of time running up and down the steps inside Rupp Arena. Kentucky got the message: In a 76-57 romp over Mississippi, it outrebounded the Rebels 46-25 and was credited with 10 steals. Sam Bowie scored 20 points and took down a career-high 19 rebounds against Ole Miss, then added 20 points and 16 rebounds in a 90-68 win over LSU in his final regular-season appearance at Rupp. Bowie cried when the pep band struck up My Old Kentucky Home during a pre-game ceremony, thereby losing a bet with his teammates for being the first to shed a tear. "After all the respect and love I've received from the state of Kentucky, it's hard to leave a place like this," said Bowie.
After scoring just six points and grabbing two rebounds in a 78-59 loss to Indiana, Purdue's Jim Rowinski dominated Ohio State in his final appearance in Mackey Arena. Rowinski got 23 points and nine boards in the Boilermakers' 85-63 rout of the Buckeyes. Illinois regained a first-place tie with Purdue in the Big Ten with a 70-53 victory over Indiana. Earlier, the Fighting Illini beat Ohio State 73-58, as Efrem Winters and Bruce Douglas combined for 50 points.
The Sun Belt Conference tournament was held in Birmingham for the third consecutive year, and for the third time in a row, host Alabama-Birmingham won it. The Blazers coasted to a 62-60 victory over Old Dominion to earn their fourth consecutive berth in the NCAA tournament. UAB earned its spot in the final by upsetting regular-season champion Virginia Commonwealth 52-50, as Luellen Foster hit a pair of free throws with two seconds left. Old Dominion, the tournament's second seed, advanced to the final by knocking off Western Kentucky 78-72.
With a 96-83 double-overtime defeat of Duke in Chapel Hill, North Carolina became the first team to go undefeated in the ACC regular season since North Carolina State did so in 1973-74. But Carolina's last obstacle proved to be a tough one. The Blue Devils would have beaten the Tar Heels in Carmichael Auditorium for the first time since Jan. 8, 1966, during the arena's inaugural season, if forward Matt Doherty hadn't hit a 15-foot jumper at the buzzer to send the game into OT, tied at 73. "I dream of taking shots like that," said Doherty. "When I got to the bench, Sam [Perkins] kissed me on the cheek." Duke's Johnny Dawkins hit a scoop shot to put the game into the second OT, tied at 79. Then Perkins and Michael Jordan took control. Jordan, who scored 20 of his team-high 27 points after halftime, made a three-point play with 4:27 left in the second OT to give the Tar Heels an 82-79 lead. Perkins, who had 23 points and 11 rebounds in his final Carmichael appearance, scored six points in the final 3:45 to put the game away for North Carolina.
"I don't think anybody in the country outside of North Carolina was expected to go unbeaten in their conference," said coach John Chaney after Temple beat archrival St. Joseph's 69-58 to finish the Atlantic 10 regular season 18-0. Granger Hall scored 17 of his team-high 21 points in the second half, and the Owls' airtight zone held the Hawks' frontline starters—Tony Costner, Bob Lojewski and Kevin Springman—to a combined 17 points on 5-for-18 shooting.
Georgetown rolled to a 48-27 halftime lead en route to an 88-71 defeat of Syracuse, which clinched the Big East title for the Hoyas. Georgetown electrified a capacity crowd of 19,035 in the Capital Centre by shooting 69.2% in the first half. The ball-hawking Hoya defense, meanwhile, held the Orange to a woeful 34.6% from the floor in that half. Patrick Ewing led seven double-figure Georgetown scorers with 16 points and had a game-high 10 rebounds.
Four teams earned early bids to the NCAA tournament. Iona got its berth by defeating Fordham 72-61 in the championship game of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament. Steve Burtt, the tourney's MVP, scored a tournament-record 33 points for the Gaels. Bill Ryan's 25 points led Princeton to a 65-57 win over Brown—and the Ivy League title. Tournament MVP LaVerne Evans scored 38 points as Marshall beat UT- Chattanooga 111-107 in double overtime and won the Southern Conference tournament title in Asheville, N.C. North Carolina A&T got its third straight NCAA bid with a 65-58 defeat of Howard in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference final in Greensboro.