THE TOP THREE:
1. TEXAS (5-0)
2. OKLAHOMA CITY (5-1)
3. RICE (5-1)
San Francisco's Pete Peletta wasn't the only one enchanted by OKLAHOMA CITY'S pure shooting. SMU's Doc Hayes, after watching Bud Koper lob in his pretty jump shots for 44 points to beat the frustrated Mustangs 95-90, was bug-eyed with admiration. "The greatest shooting I ever saw," gushed Doc. "I just had to go over and shake his hand." Against TCU, Koper came up with a cold hand, but sophomore James Ware and the other Chiefs fired away steadfastly, and the Frogs succumbed 67-62.
Southwest Conference favorite TEXAS was still winning, but the Longhorns weren't exactly stampeding anybody. Jim Clark tossed in five free throws in the last 52 seconds to hold off LSU 70-65, then contributed a field goal, steal and two foul shots in the final minute to overtake Oklahoma 81-78. RICE, meanwhile, looked like a contender. With 6-foot-10 Kendall Rhine and Larry Phillips doing the rebounding and scoring, the Owls put down Tulane 90-62, Florida State 102-81 and Centenary 90-76.
THE TOP THREE:
1. NYU (4-1)
2. VILLANOVA (4-1)
3. NIAGARA (3-0)
Despite an abundance of talent that would make life serene for most coaches, NYU'S Lou Rossini had big problems. His Violets managed to get by Northwestern 75-66 in Chicago but their helter-skelter attack and haphazard defense just were not good enough against TOLEDO in New York. The ambitious Rockets harassed Barry Kramer and Happy Hairston, NYU's big shooters, with a switching man-to-man and, after a while, they even took command of the boards. Meanwhile Larry Jones and Bobby Williams, a pair of speedy, deft playmakers, spread the confused Violets with wide patterns that let Jim Cox (he got 33 points) and Ray Wolford slip in for short jumpers and easy layups, and Toledo won 87-74.
Villanova, after a delightful 97-48 warmup with Scranton, found the going stickier in upstate New York. The Wildcats got by Buffalo 58-56 on Wally Jones's late six-point burst, but NIAGARA upset them, 63-57, as sophomores Art Coleman and George Phillips snapped up 28 rebounds. Seton Hall also lost its clean record, to ST. JOHN'S. The young Redmen, working the patient offense that Coach Joe Lapchick prefers, surprised the Pirates 69-65. PROVIDENCE, out in the Midwest, looked like the Friars of old while outhustling St. Louis 72-66. But then DEPAUL scattered their scrambling defense with quick, sharp passes and won 82-64.