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•Florida, an early-season bust, bounced back to take the SEC lead at 5-1 and looked much the better team in its 58-56 win at Kentucky. The Gators won despite the loss for at least a month of freshman forward Livingston Chatman, who injured his right knee during the game and had to undergo surgery. After his team's defeat, Kentucky coach Eddie Sutton's criticism of guard Rex Chapman—who is known as King Rex around Lexington—intensified. "Other guys at times have taken marginal shots, but I'm more concerned about Rex than anybody," Sutton said. Chapman responded a bit peevishly. "I'm always singled out, so I guess I have to take the good with the bad," he said. "You've got to risk being a goat to be a hero. Maybe I should stop shooting. I guess I should just make every shot."
•Those seeking some relief from the rampant parity can take comfort in the performance of Purdue, which at week's end led the Big Ten with a 6-0 conference record. The Boilermakers feel they haven't gotten their due from the public. After a 91-85 win over Louisville, Purdue forward Kip Jones, in a bit of twisted logic, said, "If the name of the school was Indiana instead of Purdue, we'd be the state school and everybody would be cheering for us."
A FEARSOME FLAP
Things got downright ugly in Philadelphia last week during a game between La Salle and St. Joseph's. The seeds of conflict had been sowed before the game when the team's two mascots met. "The Explorer told me, 'Don't be coming over to our side,' " said St. Joe's Frank Simone, a 21-year-old food-marketing major who dons a feathery costume to become the Hawk. "I said the only time I had to go over was to do my figure eight. That's a tradition." And not one to be taken lightly since the Hawk is on an athletic scholarship and regularly works out to keep his arms in fine fettle for flapping.
But the Explorer, whose identity La Salle officials declined to divulge, takes his role seriously, too. When the Hawk neared the La Salle end of the court during a timeout with 17:08 remaining in the game, he was set upon by the Explorer and the La Salle male cheerleaders. Feathers flew, the Hawk's headpiece was pulled off, and the Hawk, flapping all the while, was lifted off the court. In flew the entire St. Joe's team to rescue the beleaguered bird. When the confrontation was over, the La Salle cheerleaders were ejected and feathers were swept off the floor.
After the game the Hawk apologized to St. Joseph coach Jimmy Boyle for the disturbance. But Boyle would have none of it. "Great job," he said, shaking Simone's hand. Oh, yes, the Hawks beat the Explorers 73-63.
It's common practice for top Division I teams to fatten up on a diet of patsies before taking on their more difficult conference schedules. But what do the patsies get out of it? A little exposure and a lot of money. "When I came here two years ago, this place was in total shambles," says Georgia State coach Bob Reinhart, whose Crimson Panthers (Crimson Panthers?) have lost on the road this season to Oklahoma, Wyoming and Georgia Tech by an average of 26 points. "One thing important to student-athletes is who you play. If I tell them we play Agnes Scott and Vassar, they aren't too impressed. Now we've played Oklahoma, Wyoming and Georgia Tech. When I tell them that, they know they'll play in front of big crowds, and most of those schools play on TV. I know that it doesn't help our immediate record, but from a recruiting standpoint, it's very beneficial. I call them our whore games."
Reinhart says that he received guarantees of $9,000 from Wyoming, $11,000 from Oklahoma and $8,000 from Georgia Tech. "In the budget, the first thing we put down is '$30,000—guarantee games,' " he says.
Georgia State, of course, isn't alone in this strategy. Here are the contenders for suicide schedules of the year: