What began as glorious evening for Louisville, with the rededication of Freedom Hall (newly expanded to 19,000 seats) and the introduction of Howard Schnellenberger as the school's new football coach, ended on a sour note. Though the Cards beat Virginia Commonwealth 67-55, senior guard Milt Wagner fractured a bone in his right foot and will miss at least six weeks of the season. "I was coming down off a rebound and stepped on somebody's foot," said Wagner. His injury came just five days after coach Denny Crum had said that he'd probably have to redshirt Kevin Walls, the Cards' highly touted freshman guard, who will undergo arthroscopic surgery to his right knee.
Memphis State roared to a pair of victories, 79-62 over Arkansas State and 61-45 over Southern Cal in the Mid-South Classic. Senior forward Keith Lee scored a career-high 39 points on 13 of 18 shooting against the Indians, who in 1981 believed they had successfully recruited Lee out of West Memphis (Ark.) High. "I told Keith I thought he was trying to get me fired," said Arkansas State coach Nelson Catalina, who as an Indians assistant had nearly landed Lee.
During the showdown between the Georgia Lady Bulldogs, the No. 1 team in the SI women's preseason Top 10, and visiting Texas (No. 3), many Georgia fans waved white socks, passed out by the cheerleaders as substitutes for pompons. The Lady Longhorns responded by socking it to the Lady Dawgs 83-69 before the largest crowd—6,188—ever to watch a women's game at Georgia.
Before chugging into Chattanooga for the Choo Choo classic, North Georgia coach Bill Ensley was assured that his team's first-round game would be an easy one. Little did Ensley know how easy. The opponent was Crowley's Ridge College, a tiny (150 students) Christian school in Paragould, Ark. "It was obvious when they took the floor that they weren't a basketball team," said an embarrassed Ensley. "We only played our starters six minutes. If we hadn't pulled them, we would have scored 250 points." As it was, the Saints crushed the Eagles 133-44. Ensley tried to even the competition a little bit by keeping his team on the floor at halftime for an intra-squad scrimmage. North Georgia lost the tournament final to Tennessee Temple 84-74, but Crowley's Ridge improved somewhat—particularly on defense—in the consolation game. It lost to Shorter College, 119-50.
The basketball team at Washington is out to prove that the school's Orange Bowl-bound football team isn't the only pack of Huskies who can play defense. In rolling past host Fresno State 53-45 in the title game of the Sun Met Classic, Washington held the Bulldogs to only 13 first-half points. "It was like a fighter getting knocked down five times in the first five rounds," said Fresno coach Boyd Grant, "and the manager telling the fighter to go in there, he can still win." Tournament MVP Detlef Schrempf, who had scored 20 points in the Huskies' 66-55 opening-night defeat of Ball State, led Washington with 16 points and nine rebounds against Fresno.
After Nevada-Las Vegas defeated Colorado State 88-78 in the rarefied air of Fort Collins (elev. 5,100 feet), Rebels coach Jerry Tarkanian marveled at his team's stamina. "In the second half we really played super defense," said Tark. "Even with this altitude we came out and pressed. We've never pressed this well in altitude." UNLV forced the Rams into 23 turnovers and held them to 23.1% shooting in the second half.
Northern Arizona beat host New Mexico 64-56 to win the inaugural Tribune Classic in Albuquerque and notch its first victory over the Lobos since the 1951-52 season.