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While Louisville was losing to North Carolina in the opening game of the Winston Tire Classic, Minnesota was beating the host school, Southern California, 74-67. The Gophers then took the title game 76-60 as their zone defense bottled up the Tar Heels. After leading by four at halftime, Minnesota pulled away from North Carolina by using a motion offense, something it hadn't practiced all season. The strategy worked because of the fine outside shooting of MVP Mark Hall, who popped in 18 of his 23 points after the intermission.
Joining Louisville as early contenders for the FOTY (Flop of the Year) Award were Indiana, a two-time loser, and Texas A&M, which lost three games. After squirming past Rutgers 55-50 in the first round of the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, the Hoosiers lost to Clemson 58-57 when Chris Dodds sank a jumper with 10 seconds left, and then were shocked 66-60 by Pan American, which got 21 points from MVP Kenneth Green and 20 from Curtis Glasper. Clemson finished first, thanks to a pair of overtime wins—50-49 over Louisiana Tech and 75-71 over Hawaii. Kevin Magee scored 34 points and Randy Whieldon 27 as UC Irvine jarred Texas A&M 91-74 in the first round of the KOA Classic in Billings, Mont. The previously unbeaten Aggies were further humiliated in the consolation game by a 39-38 loss to Eastern Montana. The defeat was sealed when Eastern Montana's Calvin Weinberg stole the ball with four seconds to go and made the decisive foul shot three seconds later. A&M also lost to TCU, 56-51. Everything turned out A-O.K. in the KOA for UC Irvine, which defeated Montana 65-63 in overtime for the championship. Magee, who leads the nation in scoring with a 30.6 average, had 15 points, 10 rebounds and sank two free throws with :03 left to send the championship game into overtime.
"DePaul plays just as good as it has to in order to beat you," said Georgetown Coach John Thompson after a 72-67 loss to the Blue Demons in the first round of the Cabrillo Classic. "They're like a professional team in that way." The Hoyas lost even though they had a 49-30 rebounding edge, made five more field goals than the Blue Demons and cut a nine-point deficit to four with 3:51 left. DePaul saved itself with superb foul shooting—32 of 35, including 13 of 15 in the closing minutes. San Diego State, which got a school-and tournament-record 26 rebounds from freshman Forward Michael Cage while trimming LaSalle 93-67, was outclassed in the title game. With Teddy Grubbs scoring 14 of his team's first 18 points in the second half, DePaul zipped to an 85-69 triumph.
Oregon State took the Far West Classic in Portland by breezing past previously unbeaten Rhode Island 103-55 and then stopping Oregon 67-57. Beaver Coach Ralph Miller used his subs so liberally against the Rams that they outscored the regulars 53-50. Oregon slowed down Oregon State's running game in the finale, but the Beavers prevailed as Mark Radford pumped in 20 points. Radford also scored eight clutch points in the late going at Arizona State as Oregon State won its Pac-10 opener 71-67. Washington tried a variety of zones at UCLA, but the Bruins shredded them all in a 96-74 rout.
For the first time in more than seven seasons at Nevada-Las Vegas, Coach Jerry Tarkanian's club dropped two straight home games. First, the Rebels blew a 45-36 half-time lead and lost 76-75 to Utah, which got 26 points from Karl Bankowski. Then came a 92-90 overtime setback by Brigham Young, which got 20 points and 11 rebounds from Steve Trumbo, 24 points and eight rebounds from Fred Roberts and 27 points from Danny Ainge. Danny Vranes scored 22 points as Utah won 74-60 at Air Force, and Ainge got 24 as BYU downed the Falcons 77-65.
As if to prove that its two early-week losses were no flukes, Texas A&M dropped its SWC opener to Texas Christian 56-51 after leading 51-48 with 1:24 left. The Horned Frogs, 3-7 entering the game, got 25 points from Darrell Browder.
North Carolina also spurted at the end, out-scoring Kansas 8-1 during the last 1:41. It wasn't enough, though, as the Jayhawks pulled off a 56-55 upset by putting three-quarter-court pressure on the Tar Heel back-courters and using a zone to keep the ball from Carolina's big men.
Kansas State abandoned its zone and went man-for-man while beating Louisville 64-47. The Wildcats even outrebounded the Cardinals 39-24, Ed Nealy grabbing 20 missed shots. Three days earlier, Kansas State ended Fresno State's string of victories at 13, 47-39.