East. Dartmouth, preseason Ivy League favorite, finally made it to the top after a bumbling start by beating Brown and Penn while Columbia and Princeton were losing. Duquesne, defending NIT champ which has had its troubles most of the season, began to make noises like a possible two-straight winner by beating Fordham, Villanova and Temple. Seton Hall and Niagara, two other NIT entries, and NCAA-bound Holy Cross and Canisius scored easily, but St. Francis, unbeaten through its first 18 games, ran into trouble and lost two in a row before finally beating weak Siena by one point at week's end.
Far West. While others plotted how to overthrow San Francisco in the playoffs, the Dons kept breezing. Most recent victim was Santa Clara (80-44) as Bill Russell scored 29 points and on defense so befuddled the opposition that Santa Clara trailed 61-28 when he left the game. UCLA (12-0) and California (10-2) face a two-game showdown Friday and Saturday to settle the Pacific Coast Conference standings and there were few willing to bet the Northerners could turn the trick. UCLA's latest was a 108-89 victory over Oregon which set a conference scoring record. Utah's 82-77 victory over Brigham Young left the Utes with a 9-2 record and a comfortable lead for the final race to the wire. Idaho State won its fourth straight Rocky Mountain championship with two easy victories over Colorado College and also won an NCAA berth opposite independent Seattle. The latter, making a Midwest swing in celebration of the at-large invitation, was soundly trounced by Dayton but regained some prestige with a 70-63 victory over Oklahoma City, another NCAA entry.
Midwest. Illinois's startling loss to Ohio State and Iowa's overtime victory over Minnesota the same night left the two tied at 10-1 for the Big Ten lead and placed the issue squarely on the line in a nationally televised Saturday afternoon (March 3) game between the two at Iowa City. Kansas State, 8-2 after victories over Nebraska and dangerous Iowa State, now had to worry only about Colorado (5-3). Houston, its Missouri Valley season completed with a 9-3 record, faces a playoff with St. Louis (8-3) if the latter can get past Oklahoma A&M Saturday night.
South. Alabama's victory over Kentucky, after Kentucky had first disposed of Vanderbilt, just about wound up the Southeastern Conference race. But two other major conferences, the Atlantic Coast and Southern, were just getting ready to start playing basketball. Ignoring the results of a long season, each league prepared for an eight-team tournament March 1 to 3 to settle its champion. In the ACC the favorite was North Carolina (11-3) after North Carolina State (11-3) lost Ron Shavlik. In the Southern, George Washington and West Virginia (each 10-2) expected to fight it out for the title.
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