The Hoosiers of Indiana tried their best to downplay the ferocious 99-64 mauling they handed Maryland last week. Coach Bobby Knight: "A lot of things broke well for us." Guard Isiah Thomas: "I think we can play better."
If that's true, the NCAA ought to call this whole thing off rig`ht now. After spotting the speedy Terps an 8-0 lead—like Renaldo Nehemiah giving Jackie Gleason a few hurdles' head start—Indiana began blasting away. Ray Tolbert had 26 points and four blocks. Thomas had 14 assists and zero turnovers. Landon Turner must have made at least 100 dunks. If the Hoosiers only play to 80% of that performance, they'll win the national championship.
Default this regional at Bloomington to Indiana. DePaul did, by losing to Jimmy Lynam. Wake Forest did, by losing to Boston College. And Kentucky did, too, by losing to Clean Gene Bartow's team, Alabama-Birmingham, which had no business rousting Kentucky, 69-62, but did anyway, thanks to 5'10" Glenn Marcus, who made 12 of 15 free throws while Wildcat Coach Joe B. Hall was leafing through the phone numbers of some more high school Ail-Americans.
Knight will get all the coaching competition he wants from the survivor of St. Joe's-Boston College, whose Dr. Tom Davis has done wonders with the spectacular John Bagley (35 points against Wake Forest) and a crew of overachievers. But chalk should prevail.
It's difficult to imagine that at one time Indiana was 7-5 and floundering. Then Turner came around, Thomas' play began to glow like his smile and the Hoosiers peaked just right. Knight's 1976 Indiana team won the NCAAs in Philadelphia. Bob knows the way back.
No Mormon major league in-fielder with back spasms ever had a better day on the basketball court than Brigham Young's splendid Danny Ainge did against UCLA. While the Bruins were looking ahead to Notre Dame, Ainge personally outscored UCLA in the first half, 23-22, and ended the day with 37 points and several RBIs in a 78-55 runaway. Then he said he didn't even miss not being at spring training with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Digger Phelps' Irish wouldn't still be around if they had been playing somebody other than Dolley, make that James, Madison, surprise winners over Georgetown. Tracy Jackson had to save Notre Dame's 54-45 victory while Kelly Tripucka and Orlando Woolridge were missing 11 of 15 shots. Jackson may be called on to guard Ainge in the next round at Atlanta unless Digger comes up with one of his Mickey Mouse gimmick defenses. The Irish will slow down the fast-breaking Cougars, but if Ainge is the best player on the floor, Brigham Young can block Notre Dame's path to another encounter with Virginia.
The last team to play the Cavaliers' 7'4" Ralph Sampson man-for-man was Ohio State, and Sampson knocked down 40 points. The next will be Tennessee, whose 6'7" center, Howard Wood, held his man without a basket in the Vols' 58-56 overtime win over Virginia Commonwealth. But now Tennessee draws Sampson. And the muttonchopped, squashed-nose Wood, who looks old enough to have dated Delilah, admits "I'll need help."