Other conference tournament champions were Centenary in the Trans America and Oral Roberts in the Midwestern City.
1. LOUISVILLE (28-3)
2. TEXAS A&M (24-7)
3. MISSOURI (23-5)
"I told my players to go home and pray to the Man Upstairs," said Oregon State Coach Ralph Miller after a 52-51 triumph over California. "He was more responsible for this win than anything we did." That was small comfort for the Golden Bears, who exploited gaping holes in the Beavers' zone defense but missed two last-minute chances for an upset. With six seconds left, Cal Guard Phil Wilhite cut loose with a pass intended for Walt Gillespie, who was all alone under the basket. The Bears' Doug True, thinking the pass was meant for him, leapt at the ball, it struck his hand and was deflected out of bounds. A traveling violation by State with two seconds to go gave Cal the ball for one last shot. Air ball.
Cal's misses plus Washington State's 71-58 defeat of Arizona State locked up the Pac-10 title for Oregon State. The Cougars knocked the Sun Devils out of a first-place tie as Forward Don Collins popped in 21 points. Collins then scored 19 more and Stuart House 35 as Washington State (22-5) stopped Arizona 74-71. That left Collins with 422 points in Pac-10 play, a single-season record that surpassed the 406 scored in 1953 by Washington's Bob Houbregs. A 75-61 victory over Washington enabled Arizona State (21-6) to cling to second place.
As for Oregon State, the Beavers took their final game from Oregon 67-55 behind Steve Johnson's 19 points and 11 rebounds, an effort that left Coach Miller smiling. For years Miller has been a stoneface, but with four seconds to go he turned to the student section at Oregon State and, as he had promised he would if his team finished first, broke into a broad grin.
Brigham Young was all smiles while winning twice. Up and down the court the Cougars zipped in their scurrying, almost pellmell style, shooting .580 from the floor and picking off 42 more rebounds than their opponents. Hawaii was trampled 107-82 as Devin Durrant netted 27 points and Danny Ainge 22. Then San Diego State took it on the chin 114-81 as Ainge scored 30 points, Scott Runia 22 and Fred Roberts 21. In that game, BYU's Alan Taylor grabbed a Marriott Center-record 23 rebounds.
New Mexico, buffeted by troubles all season, suffered the final blow. Guard Kenny Page kept the Lobos in front of UTEP until the end in a Western AC battle, but then came a last-second 20-foot net-cutter by Center Anthony Burns that sent New Mexico to a 68-67 loss.
One of the biggest playoff surprises was San Jose State's triumph in the Pacific Coast AA. The Spartans, who finished in fourth place at the end of the regular season, bumped off UC-Santa Barbara 73-66, first-place Utah State 94-68 and second-place Long Beach State 57-55 to take the conference title.
San Francisco clinched the West Coast AC crown by defeating Portland 81-58 and Seattle 71-59.