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COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Morin Bishop
December 14, 1987
WHERE EGOS SOAR
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December 14, 1987

College Basketball

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TOP 20

Won-lost records include games played through Dec. 6.

THIS WEEK

 

PRESEASON RANKING

1

KENTUCKY (3-0)

5

2

MISSOURI (2-0)

3

3

WYOMING (3-0)

4

4

DUKE (3-0)

6

5

PITTSBURGH (2-0)

8

6

INDIANA (2-1)

2

7

ARIZONA (5-0)

17

8

SYRACUSE (4-2)

1

9

MICHIGAN (4-1)

7

10

NORTH CAROLINA (4-1)

9

11

TEMPLE (1-0)

14

12

IOWA (6-0)

15

13

FLORIDA (4-1)

10

14

PURDUE (3-1)

11

15

MEMPHIS STATE (3-0)

16

16

GEORGETOWN (3-0)

18

17

OKLAHOMA (3-0)

19

18

KANSAS (4-2)

12

19

BRADLEY (1-0)

20

20

NOTRE DAME (1-1)

WHERE EGOS SOAR

In the college coaching fraternity, hot tempers don't always cool in the off-season. LSU's Dale Brown, never one to suffer in silence, has gone public in his crusade against the wretched excesses of Indiana's Bob Knight. Brown is convinced that Knight's famed courtside telephone slam during the NCAA Midwest Regional final in Cincinnati last March cost his Tigers momentum and, ultimately, the game, which the Hoosiers won 77-76.

"We beat Indiana," Brown said recently. "We outhustled them. We stymied their attack. What happened during that fiasco [Knight was slapped with a technical foul and then bashed a phone on the scorer's table] took away our chance to break their back. Knight isn't above the game. When is somebody going to say, 'Sit your butt down, pal, or you're out?' I'm not going to tolerate him or what he does. His game plan is very simple. Everybody is afraid of him, particularly in coaching. All dictators have the same philosophy, and it's called intimidation."

Knight was a tad less verbose in reply. "As long as the Dale Browns of the world are in disagreement with me, then I think I'm in pretty good shape," he said. As for the tournament game in question, Knight conceded that, with five minutes left, he thought his Hoosiers might be in jeopardy. "Then I looked down the floor and saw Dale Brown, and I knew, well, we had a chance."

Knight isn't the only coach embroiled in a brouhaha with Brown. At the SEC's preseason media day, Tennessee's Don DeVoe, perhaps not coincidentally a former Knight assistant, attacked Brown's hiring for next season of Jim Childers, the high school coach of 6'11" Stanley Roberts, a top recruit who recently signed a letter of intent with LSU; DeVoe labeled it "unethical." Brown responded by saying, "Divorce is unethical." DeVoe was divorced four years ago.

D AS IN DECORUM
Georgetown has already signed two of Virginia's top high school talents, 6'10" center Alonzo Mourning and 6'7" forward Milton Bell, to letters of intent for next season. In announcing Bell's signing, Hoya coach John Thompson offered these words of praise: "What impressed me most on our home visit was his willingness to serve and show respect for his mother and grandmother in an old-fashioned way.... He got them chairs and water and was very helpful. These qualities make for the best defensive player." One wonders what Thompson looks for in his offensive stars. A hotfoot for Mom, perhaps?

A TALENT LOST?
Six-foot-eleven Georgia freshman Elmore Spencer, the heavily recruited—not to mention, heavy (260 to 315 pounds)—center who led Washington High to the Georgia class AAAA state title, has been redshirted for the season. He spent five weeks in a psychiatric ward over the summer because of a manic-depressive disorder for which he was taking daily medication. When Spencer fell behind in his classwork, Bulldog coach Hugh Durham suggested he take a medical withdrawal, which would have allowed him to return to the team in the winter term, but athletic director Vince Dooley and school president Dr. Charles Knapp advised Durham to have Spencer sit out the entire season.

HOPE ON THE RANGE

Fennis Dembo, Wyoming's outstanding senior forward, has been his usual flamboyant self on the court thus far this season. Against Colorado, after dunking over a hapless Buffalo, Dembo ran back up the court wagging both index fingers in the air, and even extended his hand to offer high fives to surprised players on the Colorado bench. After the game, a 100-68 Cowboys victory, Dembo sang a different tune. "A Top 10 team? Now? We ain't done nothing yet," he said. "I know as a player how good this team can be, and we're nowhere near it. Right now we're not Top 10. We're not even Top 20."

Wyoming's fans, however, have been less circumspect, especially after the Cowboys scored 100 or more points in each of their first two victories. So smitten are the Wyoming faithful that some have decided to eschew a junket to San Diego for the Cowboy football team's Holiday Bowl appearance and save their money for a trip to Kansas City for the Final Four next April. "I'm giving up a sure thing for the prospect of a maybe," says Jim Foster, the proprietor of Foster's Country Store in Laramie.

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