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Every season the debate is rejoined over which conference is the best in the land. While there's no sure method for resolving the question, the results of non-conference games provide the best barometer. Now that most teams have completed their nonleague schedules, the records of the major conferences look like this:
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
The biggest surprise is the Metro's performance. Strong showings by Virginia Tech, Florida State, South Carolina and Southern Miss have overcome the disappointing play of traditional powers Memphis State and Louisville. The numbers also support the notion, fast gaining currency, that the Pac-10 is now only the third best conference in the West, behind the WAC and the PCAA.
T IS FOR TRASH
Things got boisterous with :05 remaining in the Georgia-Florida game in Athens, Ga., last week. Bulldog fans, celebrating a seemingly insurmountable 10-point lead, began throwing rolls of toilet paper onto the court, and Georgia was hit with a two-shot "intentional technical" foul. Bulldog coach Hugh Durham grabbed the PA. mike and pleaded with the crowd, "That's a two-shot technical! Would you cut it out?" Gators center Dwayne Schintzius sank the two foul shots. But another fan then threw a paper cup onto the floor, giving Florida a second two-shot T. Schintzius again converted both free throws, cutting Georgia's lead to six. As a result of the intentional foul, the Gators were awarded the ball; they missed a three-pointer, and the Bulldogs held on from there to win 71-65. Still, the incident raised some eyebrows—and questions.
If a two-shot intentional foul seems to be a harsh penalty for such fan behavior, well, it is. An incident like the one at Georgia is usually treated as a delay of game, resulting in a one-shot technical and possession going to whichever team had the ball at the time of the infraction. But the NCAA's basketball rules committee, concerned over a surge in court-littering antics by spectators, has sent out a memo encouraging officials to call the maximum penalty—a two-shot intentional foul. "Our basic thrust is to eliminate the wholesale stuff," says rules committee secretary-editor Ed Steitz, who says that he has received reports of "fruit, vegetables, soaked rolls of toilet paper embedded with stones, ice cubes, etcetera" being thrown onto courts. Steitz's only caveat to officials on calling the two-shot intentional T: "If you can't identify [which team's fans are responsible], you can't call it."
That mandate was prompted in part by an incident a few days earlier in a game at Georgia State against Mercer. Two refuse-throwing incidents resulted in Mercer's sinking three of four foul shots, and the Bears went on to win 80-78. The home fans were especially upset after the Georgia State bench claimed that in one case the roll of toilet paper had come from the Mercer section of the stands. The incident is under review by league officials.
READING WITH RAVELING
Southern Cal has a new ticket-distribution scheme, and the keys to its working are librarians and junior high students. Tickets for USC home games are given to students in exchange for academic effort in a program dreamed up by Trojan coach George Raveling. Radio station KDAY buys the tickets from USC and distributes them to L.A. school districts, which then award the tickets—11,000 will be handed out by season's end—to junior high students based on their reading accomplishments. The list of books for the program was developed by Raveling, an avid reader since childhood, and includes titles like Treasure Island, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and Silas Marner.