For some 950 college basketball teams taking to the courts next week on the 68th anniversary of the game, what they have been doing for the past six weeks may well have more bearing on what they do in the following 20 than all their height, sight or fight put together. And for the millions of spectators who throughout the season will live and die, suffer and exult on the sidelines, the secret of success may well be less visible than the yeast in a loaf of bread.
An unseen leaven can make a team rise—to backboards, baskets and occasions. Coaches across the country have been trying to brew it since October 15, the first day under NCAA regulations for authorized collegiate practice.
The form it takes at first is sometimes hard to recognize in the final product. The figures you see here, for example, are not the Sandows and Tarzans of the future. They are basketball players of the present, preparing for their coming layups, rebounds and all-court presses. Next week in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S annual college basketball preview Jeremiah Tax explains these new practices in practice, new conditions in conditioning, of three outstanding coaches, Fordham's John Bach, Navy's Ben Carnevale and LA State's Sax Elliott.
New techniques in training are one thing. New players in action are another. This season looks like a strong one for sophomore prospects. Who they are is a feature of the scouting reports on 180 leading college teams.
On the visual side there turns up next week a new way of portraying the game. Our SPECTACLE in color is a unique study by Photographer John Zimmerman in which his imaginative use of the camera invents a representation of basketball that captures the quintessence of its most exciting moments.
Although some 40 pages of the issue are devoted to basketball, we are not neglecting the other sports events" of the season. Both college and pro football claim substantial attention, skiing is represented by Part II of Willy Schaeffler's Sprungwedeln and, finally, Teddy Roosevelt III tells in A Rough Ride with Retrievers how he coped with the dogs that menaced his marriage.