All those stunned losers could perhaps take a measure of consolation from VMI. The Keydets played three Southern Conference games, losing 72-61 to The Citadel, 99-69 to Western Carolina and 81-61 to Tennessee- Chattanooga. That left VMI, which is 0-14, with more defeats than North Carolina (1), North Carolina State (3), Villanova (3) and Georgetown (5) combined.
During a week in which seven of SI's Top 20 teams lost, one nationally ranked squad not only kept winning but also did so by overwhelming margins, 74-46 over Long Beach State and 94-53 over Oral Roberts. The Louisiana Tech women's team thereby set a women's major-college record by extending its victory streak to 52 games. The defending national champion Lady Techsters have won their 18 games this season by an average of more than 30 points. All-America Center Pam Kelly led the way against Oral Roberts with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
The Midwest's biggest shocker came when Illinois, which was 2-3 in the Big Ten and which had a reputation for being guard oriented, won 64-57 at Minnesota while outrebounding the Gophers 25-24. Iowa took over sole possession of first place in the conference by winning 49-48 at Northwestern and drubbing Michigan 56-38. The Hawkeyes never led the Wildcats until Kenny Arnold sank a driving layup with five seconds left.
"I think I can drop-kick them better than they shoot them," Coach Ray Meyer said after DePaul missed 13 of 34 foul shots while beating Alabama-Birmingham 79-68. "The only thing that saved us was our outside shooting." Pumping in shots from the perimeter were freshman Kenny Patterson (18 points) and Skip Dillard (15). The Blazers still might have drop-kicked the Blue Demons had it not been for Terry Cummings' 24 points and 19 rebounds.
Kentucky had little trouble at the foul line at Florida, making 35 of 43 attempts and winning 91-76. The Wildcats then disposed of Vanderbilt 67-58 with a second-half flourish as Dirk Minniefield kept them rolling with 10 assists and 16 points. Eddie Phillips scored 37 points as Alabama beat Georgia 81-66 and Florida 82-71. Tennessee, the Southeastern Conference leader, got 44 points from Dale Ellis while knocking off Mississippi State 54-44 and Louisiana State 77-67.
"Two years ago, Aaron Howard guarded the man [Tracy Jackson] who made the winning shot for Notre Dame," Villanova Coach Rollie Massimino said, recalling the 30-footer that beat the buzzer and the Wildcats 70-69. "I found Aaron in the shower crying. I hoped in some way that Aaron could contribute to a victory tonight." He did. His 17-foot shot with three seconds left beat the Irish 48-46.
Buttons reading YOU'LL LIKE OUR STUFF, compliments of a local grocery chain, were given to the first 5,000 fans to enter Hearnes Center in Columbia when Kansas came to tangle with Missouri. Although the Tigers virtually had to shop for points and couldn't score enough to match Coach Norm Stewart's age on this, his 47th birthday, they treated a sellout crowd of 11,906 to what it wanted most—a win, by the score of 41-35. The point totals were the lowest since 1949 for the Jayhawks and since 1968 for Missouri.
Next time out Tiger Ricky Frazier got 17 points in 28 minutes, and Steve Stipanovich had 14 rebounds and five blocks in just 23 minutes during an 84-64 blowout of Oklahoma before a Hearnes-record crowd of 12,944. Thus, for the first time since the arena opened in 1972, there were back-to-back sellouts. Those fans savored Mizzou's 16th consecutive triumph, giving the Tigers the best start by a Big Eight team since Kansas went 19-0 in 1945-46. With Idaho and North Carolina having lost, only two major unbeatens remained—Missouri and Texas.