1. NORTH CAROLINA (11-1)
2. TENNESSEE (10-2)
3. VANDERBILT (12-3)
There was no way that Georgia could possibly win in Lexington. Because Kentucky would be on the road the rest of the month, school officials decided to honor Adolph Rupp as the winningest college coach in history. Never mind that a win over Georgia would be only The Baron's 770th—one less than Kansas' Phog Allen. They were certain the Wildcats would get Rupp the record in their next two games. Before 11,600 in Memorial Coliseum, including many former players who showered praise on the old coach, Georgia cooperated nicely, losing 104-73. But the kudos for Coach Rupp turned out to be premature. Auburn, beaten by Vanderbilt 74-65 earlier in the week, refused to roll over and play dead. Alex Howell ruffled the Wildcats with a succession of long shots for 25 points and, when sophomore Mike Casey foolishly fouled Auburn's Tom Perry in the backcourt with 38 seconds to go, Kentucky was in trouble. Perry calmly made two free throws, and the Tigers held on to win 74-73. "We blew it," admitted Rupp disappointedly.
The one thing Tennessee does best is play defense. The Vols clearly demonstrated that when Florida came to town. Their 1-3-1 zone swarmed all over the Gators' talented 6'11" Neal Walk and held him to 16 points. He got only one field goal the entire second half, and Tom Boerwinkle, Tennessee's 7-footer, had his best game ever. Boerwinkle scored 27 points as the Vols won 67-52 for their 31st straight at home.
Florida got another shot at Tennessee in Gainesville, where many a good team has suffered the miseries of the road (Vanderbilt and Kentucky, for instance), and this time things were different. Walk escaped the Vols' zone to score 38 points, and the Gators took Tennessee 59-46.
The Ohio Valley race had barely begun, but already Western Kentucky was just about out of it. The Hilltoppers lost their third game, to Morehead 88-72, while Murray State, despite a 74-67 loss to East Tennessee, held on to first place by beating Austin Peay 91-82. But there was some solace for Western. It edged Dayton 75-74 in overtime and then beat La Salle 84-79.
Florida State, the South's best independent, cornered Georgia Tech with a zone defense, forcing the Jackets to shoot from outside and, without ailing Guard Phil Wagner, Tech was helpless. Dave Cowens flipped in 21 points, and FSU won easily, 73-57.
1. ST. BONAVENTURE (13-0)
2. COLUMBIA (11-3)
3. ST. JOHN'S (12-3)
"It's like playing Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," said St. John's Coach Lou Carnesecca. He was referring to St. Joseph's and its celebrated ball stealer, quick-handed little Billy DeAngelis, a guard whose talent for pilfering had accounted for 44 steals in 13 games. But that was before Carnesecca's Redmen beat the Hawks 80-72. St. John's attacked patiently, and DeAngelis, nursing a sore ankle, failed to steal the ball even once. He and the other St. Joe's players were too busy defending as John Warren scored 20 points and sophomore Joe DePre 19 for the disciplined Redmen.