This is the game that Detroit and its controversial coach, Dick Vitale, have been waiting for. It is a neighborhood grudge match between the citywise Titans and their suburban neighbors from Ann Arbor. Vitale, called by one writer the "clown prince of basketball," should be at his firey best.
Unlike Holy Cross, which troubled Michigan with its patience Saturday, Detroit would rather put the ball up quickly. And the thought of a fast tempo makes Rickey Green, Phil Hubbard and the Wolverines smile.
Hubbard, especially, should like this matchup. Detroit has no big man to push him around, so he will get a rare opportunity to maneuver freely inside. His probable defender 6-7 Terry Tyler, averages 17 points and 11 rebounds a game. North Carolina-Charlotte (26-3) vs. Syracuse (26-3)
Syracuse gained notoriety by upsetting Tennessee last week, but Eastern teams still are hardly feared nationally. And what is a North Carolina-Charlotte?
Answer: A talented squad that gave Kentucky all it could handle in the NIT final last year. The nucleus of that playoff-tested team, 6-8 Cedric Maxwell (most valuable player in 1976 NIT) and 6-4 Lew Massey, are good enough around the basket to beat most opponents, especially anyone who takes them lightly.
Syracuse is remembered for its embarrassing showing two years ago in the final four at San Diego. But this Orange team has a quick center, freshman Roosevelt Bowie, to go along with its usual good outside shooting and hustle. This should be a delightfully competitive contest.