After a weekend of upsets, deciding who is No. 1 in college basketball is not easy to answer.
Probably not Memphis State. Certainly not Virginia. Not St. John's.
Maybe Indiana--again. Or even UCLA.
Saturday completed a week of upsets that began Monday with Virginia Tech's 69-56 victory over top-ranked Memphis State.
Memphis State (12-1) came back with an 80-63 victory over Cincinnati Saturday, but second-ranked Virginia (12-2) lost to North Carolina, 101-95, and third-ranked St. John's (14-1) was upset by Boston College, 68-64. Fourth-ranked Indiana (12-1) defeated Purdue, 81-78, and No. 5 UCLA (11-1) beat Oregon State, 99-77.
"Welcome back, Tigers," Memphis State Coach Dana Kirk said after his team's victory. The Tigers led by 27 points in the second half.
Boston College's players knew what was at stake in their game with St. John's. "After our pregame meal, we were watching the Virginia game," said Michael Adams, who led the Eagles with 27 points, eight steals and five assists. "We knew St. John's would be No. 1 and we definitely wanted to stop that."
"I think a lot of people will say the rankings affected us," St. John's Coach Lou Carnesecca said. "But the BC team beat us, not the game this afternoon, not the rankings. You play 28 games, you have peaks and valleys. The whole evening, we were struggling."
The other major upsets Saturday were all Southeastern Conference games: Darrell Lockhart scored 22 points to lead Auburn to a 75-67 win over No. 6 Kentucky, the first time the Tigers had beaten the Wildcats in Lexington, Ky., in 27 games; Donald Hartry's jump shot from the top of the key and Vern Fleming's foul shot with one second left gave Georgia a 67-64 victory over No. 10 Alabama, and Jeff Malone scored nine of his 35 points in overtime to lead Mississippi State to a 75-74 victory over 18th-ranked Tennessee.
Auburn Coach Sonny Smith called his team's victory a milestone in his coaching career, but added, "Of course we have to beat Alabama so my family can eat." Auburn leads the SEC with a 3-1 record; Kentucky, Mississippi and Vanderbilt are 3-2.
North Carolina's three-point shooting is the talk of the Atlantic Coast Conference this weekend. The Tar Heels attempted 23 three-pointers in a one-point victory over Maryland Wednesday, then took 22 against Virginia. The last game between those two teams ended in a 47-45 Carolina victory March 7 in the ACC tournament final.
Those who thought Coach Dean Smith's team would have trouble adapting to the new rules were mistaken. "We have a lot of set plays for the three-pointer," senior guard Jimmy Braddock said last week. "The rules are there; we would be wise to take advantage of them."
Guard Adrian Branch of Maryland still is leading the ACC in scoring with 19 points per game. But a four-game shooting slump has dropped his field goal percentage from 53 percent to 45 percent.
In those games, three of which the Terrapins lost--including Saturday's 86-67 defeat by Duke--Branch has made 20 of 66 shots. Branch's importance to Maryland's offense cannot be overestimated. Coach Lefty Driesell has at least two offenses designed especially for Branch.
When he is shooting this poorly, it's difficult to run those special plays. Branch made seven of 21 from the field Saturday in Maryland's embarrassing loss at Cole Field House.
He didn't force any shots--just missed the ones he usually makes. He made three in a row during one stretch and hopes that is a sign the slump is almost over.
"I had better technique," Branch said. "I just kept missing by that much. My form isn't all the way back. But I know I'll shake out."
As Branch said, confidence has as much to do with shooting as form does. And Driesell is worried about Branch's confidence.
"You better believe I'm concerned about his shooting," Driesell said. "It looks like he's lost all his confidence. We need him to come out of it soon."
George Washington Coach Gerry Gimelstob called his team's 58-54 victory over Temple Saturday night perhaps its biggest victory of the year.
"I don't think I ever been more proud of the players than to go to the Palestra in front of a sellout crowd and beat Temple (in the third game of a tripleheader)," he said. "It was a tremendous accomplishment." GW is 7-6, 1-3 in the Atlantic 10; Temple is 6-6 and 3-2.
Guard Dave Hobel clinched the game by making both shots of a one and one with eight seconds remaining. Guard Troy Webster led GW with 19 points and center Mike Brown had 16 points and 16 rebounds.