Georgetown ran Nevada-Las Vegas out of the Capital Centre 82-46, and in so doing handed coach Jerry Tarkanian his worst defeat in 11 seasons in Las Vegas. "I never dreamed we'd get beaten this badly," Tarkanian said. "We needed intelligence out there, and we had none. We had no recognition of what they were doing. We were cold, rattled and had no poise."
Georgetown's pressure defense shut down the Runnin' Rebels' fast break. With Georgetown center Patrick Ewing dominating the middle, UNLV front-liners Richie Adams, Ed Catchings and Frank (Spoon) James made only six of 21 shots and combined for a mere 16 points, while guard Anthony Jones, who had transferred from Georgetown to Las Vegas a year ago, shot 4 for 19.
The day before Virginia's ACC opener at Duke, a letter from sophomore center Olden Polynice was delivered by his girl friend to the UVa basketball office. "I have to get away from everything for a few days to think and make some decisions...." the letter read. "The way I am right now I can't really think straight, study or play basketball." Polynice has been the focus of controversy since it was revealed on Nov. 21 that he had been acquitted, in a private student trial, of violating UVa's 142-year-old honor code. Polynice admitted to turning in as his own another student's term paper last March. A guilty verdict would have resulted in Polynice's expulsion from the university, and published reports suggested he got special treatment because he was a basketball player. Cavalier coach Terry Holland insisted that wasn't so, and, indeed, a highly placed university source told the Roanoke Times & World-News that the majority of students who are brought up on charges of Honor Code violations are acquitted. Whatever, Polynice's life, especially on the road, was miserable. Before Virginia's 68-57 win at VMI on Dec. 3, the cadets turned their backs on Polynice when he was introduced. During a 54-53 loss at William & Mary on Dec. 5, fans waved term papers and hung insulting banners. Undoubtedly, he couldn't face the Duke crowd, one of the toughest in the country on visitors. Without him, Duke whipped the Cavs 78-65. At week's end Polynice was in hiding, and no one knew when, or if, he would return.
UCLA had attracted some bad press after its 1-2 start, so coach Walt Hazzard tried firing up his Bruins for their game at Memphis State by tearing up one of the offending articles and showering the team with the resulting confetti. But no one was more pumped up than the Tigers' Keith Lee, who whipped up on the Bruins with a game-high 24 points and 15 rebounds in the Tigers' 86-70 victory. The performance capped a brilliant week for Lee. In an earlier 90-77 win over Middle Tennessee State, he had 33 points and 16 boards.
After SMU's Butch Moore hit a six-foot jumper to put the Mustangs ahead of Kentucky 56-54 with four seconds left, at least two Wildcats—center Bret Bearup and forward Kenny Walker—immediately tried to call time out. But the Cats fell short when their signals went unnoticed by the three officials working the game, and immediately thereafter Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall gave the referees an earful. A couple of days later, Hall revealed his scheme for attracting the referees' attention next time. "I guess I'll walk to midcourt before the game, when I'm still allowed outside the coaching box, and fire a little pistol with a flag that falls out and says, 'Time out.' "
When Louisiana Tech's star center Karl (Mailman) Malone picked up three fouls in the first two minutes of the Tech- Louisville game in the opening round of the Wendy's Classic at Western Kentucky, it looked as if Louisville would win without breaking a sweat. Malone scored only four points, but Willie Simmons came through with 20 points and seven blocked shots to lead Tech to a 73-64 victory over the injury-plagued Cardinals. Tech then beat the host Hilltoppers in the title game, 59-54.
Indiana's 81-68 defeat of Kentucky was not only coach Bob Knight's 400th career victory, but it also made Knight, at 44, the youngest man to reach that milestone. "Right now I feel like the oldest," said Knight, who no doubt had aged a lot during the Hoosiers' 74-63 loss to Notre Dame earlier in the week. The key to Indiana's return to form against the Wildcats may have been a man-to-man talk between Knight and 7'2" center Uwe Blab, who had been in his coach's doghouse since his disastrous opening-game performance against Louisville. Against Kentucky he scored 18 points, grabbed five rebounds and blocked three shots. "I told him that's what we were after from him," said Knight. "It wasn't like he played a perfect game, but he did play very hard." Sophomore guard Steve Al-ford scored 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting, and outperformed Kentucky's James Blackmon, whom Alford had edged out for Indiana's Mr. Basketball award in 1982-83. Blackmon was held scoreless by Indiana's '83-84 Mr. Basketball, Hoosier freshman Delray Brooks.