AN OPPOSING VIEW
THIRTY YEARS AGO
After watching ISU go down to lowly Hampton, Texas to Temple, Oklahoma to Indiana State, and the other numerous upsets, I was quite nervous as the Jayhawks took on Cal State, Northridge. Could it be that the Big 12 would take a complete dive? Would KU’s streak of 18 straight first round wins be stopped? With the score tied at 33 through 15 minutes of the first half, I was doubly nervous. However, the Hawks finally got tracked and went on a 17-0 run to finish the half, and the score wasn’t close throughout the second period, as the Jayhawks went on to a 99-75 victory.
What the hell happened to the Cyclones? Apparently they just ran out of gas after tearing up the conference. But against Hampton, a 15-seed? Since 1985, when the NCAA tourney went to 64 teams, only 4 of the 68 15-seeds (less than 6%) have won games against 2-seeds. It’s really a shame to end the year that way, as they had a great team and a great year. Made the Big 12 look bad in the process.
With Missouri dropping to Duke this afternoon, now it’s up to KU to solely defend the conference reputation. I’m sure hoping that KU will get revenge against Syracuse, which kept us from going to the Final Four in 1996.
my last newsletter, I proposed that the NCAA go back to 48 teams.
Here’s a response I received from my brother-in-law:
got a chance to read this and thought I would drop a line with an opposing view.
I can't agree with your proposal for 48 teams.
1) The NCAA already has 3 divisions, where do you draw the line;
what is accomplished by creating yet another division. Who determines who are
the elitists for your new division one? The polls??, we already have a mess of
subjectivity in football, let's not let that migrate to basketball.
Part of the 'magic' of the tournament is seeing underdogs every year
3) In my opinion there were several teams seeded above 12 in this year's tourney that should not have been there. Example, if anyone stayed awake through the Mizzou - Georgia game, their staying power was better than mine. Those team's records did not deserve their making the tourney and while the game was close the ineptitude of both teams was pronounced. Why did they make it into the Big Dance, only because of their association with a particular conference. Are they better this year than a Hofstra, Holy Cross, Georgia State??, I don't think so.
4) Finally while it is true that Duke thrashed Monmouth, teams
like Hofstra, Holy Cross, and Southern Utah made very strong showings.
What are teams like Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio State and (sorry Iowa fans)
Iowa State doing Sunday; watching from the side lines.
I think we know who the Kent States, Georgia States and Hamptons are
now!!!!!! Again the magic of the Big Dance!!!!!!!!
A friendly view from a different perspective!!!!
THIRTY YEARS AGO
1971 UCLA Bruins, which featured Sidney Wicks, Curtis Rowe, Steve Patterson and
Henry Bibby, were not the powerhouse of years past, but they were a bunch of
scrappers who went 29-1, though eight of their victories were by 5 points or
less. Their sole loss was to Notre
Dame in South Bend, a game in which All-American Austin Carr scored 48 points to
lead the Irish. Other great players
that year included Artis Gilmore of Jacksonville, who led the country in
rebounding with 23.2 rpg, Jim McDaniel of Western Kentucky, and Dean “The
Dream” Meminger of Marquette. Julius Erving of Massachusetts was emerging as a
had a great year under Maury John, finishing in a 9-5 tie for the Missouri
Valley crown and ranked 19th in
the final regular season poll. Forward
Jeff Halliburton (one of the best one-on-one players I ever saw) was their star
along with Al Sakys and Bobby Jones.
Dick Schultz’s Hawkeyes had a down year in 1971 after losing four senior
starters from the great 1970 team which tore up the Big Ten 14-0.
The only holdover for 1971 was “Downtown” Freddie Brown, who almost
single-handedly led the Hawks with 27.6 ppg.
The only other starter in double digits was soph center Kevin Kunnert
with 10.0. The forwards were Sam
Williams and Ken Grabinski and the point guard was Gary Lusk.
Overall, the Hawkeyes had a 9-15 record and they finished in a tie for
seventh in the conference with a 4-10 record.
by coach Glen Anderson, Iowa State had a terrible year, finishing 5-21 overall
and tied for last in the Big Eight with a 2-12 record.
Gene Mack starred for the Clones, averaged 19.8 ppg and was named to the
conference second team. Other starters included Jack DeVilder, Rick Engel, Bob Moser
and Larry Gibson. Anderson was
fired at the end of the year and the Clones attracted Maury John away from
had the best frontline in the country in 1971, and remain as KU’s all-time
best rebounding team with 51.4 caroms per game.
All-American center Dave Robisch, Bud
Stallworth, Roger Brown and Pierre Russell contributed an average of 57 points
and 30 rebounds per game. Starting
guards were Bob Kivisto and Aubrey Nash. The
Jayhawkers stormed through the Big Eight with a perfect 14-0 record and finished
the regular season 25-1, the best in school history.
Their lone loss was a heartbreaker at Louisville.
However, they were playing their third game in four nights and just
weren’t up to par that night.
NCAA regional play in Wichita, KU squeaked by Houston 78-77 behind Robisch’s
29 points and Stallworth’s 25. KU
then beat Drake 73-71 in the regional final, as Robisch scored 27 points.
No one expected Drake to be in the regional final, as they first had to
play No. 12 Notre Dame, led by All-American Austin Carr.
But Bulldog guard Bobby Jones threw a blanket over Carr, and Drake upset
the Irish 79-72 in OT.
the final, few gave Drake a chance against the vaunted Jayhawks.
Nonetheless, Drake led the Jayhawks by 9 at the half and KU’s
Stallworth and Russell fouled out early in a very physical game. KU finally
caught up and won the game on a couple of free throws at the end.
The victory sent KU to the Astrodome for a matchup with five-time NCAA
champion UCLA, ranked No. 1 in the nation at that time.
Although KU and UCLA had the same 27-1 records heading into the game, KU
had struggled, winning its last six games by a total of only 13 points, two of
them in overtime. Kansas never
recovered from a seven-point halftime deficit and lost 68-60.
Robisch scored 17 points and Stallworth and Pierre Russell added 12 each
as KU’s 21-game winning streak came to an end.
Incidentally, that game was Denny Crum’s last as John Wooden’s
assistant, before taking the Louisville job.
the other NCAA semi-final, Villanova topped Western Kentucky in two overtimes.
Western Kentucky, regarded for years as Kentucky’s poor country
cousins, was in the Final Four after thrashing Kentucky 107-83.
Villanova was led by Howard Porter, who was named the Most Valuable
Player of the tourney. The NBA and
fledgling ABA were in a bidding war for players, and both Porter and Western
KY’s Jim McDaniel had signed ABA contracts before the tournament.
Both signed affidavits that they had not inked pro contracts.
Thus, once those facts were confirmed, the records of Villanova and
Western Kentucky were erased from the record book, as was Porter’s award.
the final, UCLA whipped Nova 68-62. It
was noteworthy in that Wooden had his team stalling much of the game.
Aside from the game strategy, he later said he was trying to make a case
for the 35-second shot clock, which incidentally was approved by the NCAA the
Robisch finished his career as KU’s second all-time scorer, and now holds 6th
place with 1,754 points. He also is
6th on KU’s all-time rebounding list.
He was a great pitcher for KU’s baseball team and was drafted by the
major leagues, but he chose basketball and went on to play 13 seasons in the ABA
and NBA. As a side note for
Iowan’s, Keokuk’s Greg Douglas was a senior on this team. He came to KU with great promise and had a stellar sophomore
year. But drugs and mental illness eventually diminished his capacity to play,
limiting him to only 19 games his senior year, and he only scored an average of
2.7 per game. Sadly, he returned to
Keokuk and for many years has been in a mental institution there.
As an interesting sidebar to March Madness that year, Joe Frazier won a unanimous decision over Muhammad Ali in ‘the fight of the century’.