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At a Glance
NCAA Champion--UCLA (30-0; coached by John Wooden/25th of 27 seasons with Bruins; won Pacific-8 title by five games with a 14-0 record).
NIT Champion--Virginia Tech (22-5; coached by Don DeVoe/second of five seasons with Hokies).
New Rules--The free throw on the first six common fouls each half by a team is eliminated. . . . Players cannot attempt to create the false impression that they have been fouled in charging-guarding situations or while setting a screen when the contact was only "incidental." A referee can charge the "actor" with a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct if, in the referee's opinion, the acting is making a travesty of the game. . . . NCAA bylaws make freshmen eligible to play varsity ball. . . . NCAA Tournament first-round byes determined on the basis of an evaluation of the conference's won-lost record over the previous 10 years in playoff competition.
NCAA Probation--Centenary, Duke, Kansas, New Mexico State, North Carolina State, Western Kentucky.
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--Doug Collins, G, Sr., Illinois State (26 ppg, 5 rpg, 81.8 FT%); Ernie DiGregorio, G, Sr., Providence (24.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 8.6 apg, 80.2 FT%); Dwight "Bo" Lamar, G, Sr., Southwestern Louisiana (28.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg); Ed Ratleff, F-G, Sr., Long Beach State (22.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 3.9 apg, 50.1 FG%); David Thompson, F, Soph., North Carolina State (24.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 56.9 FG%, 82.5 FT%); Bill Walton, C, Jr., UCLA (20.4 ppg, 16.9 rpg, 65.0 FG%); Keith Wilkes, F, Jr., UCLA (14.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 52.5 FG%).
National Player of the Year--Walton (AP/UPI/USBWA/Naismith).
National Coaches of the Year--Memphis State's Gene Bartow (24-6/NABC) and UCLA's John Wooden (30-0/AP, UPI, USBWA).
UCLA, spearheaded by center Bill Walton, became the first major college in history to compile back-to-back perfect-record seasons. The Bruins also became the first school to be ranked No. 1 at the end of three consecutive years when they were also atop that season's first AP poll. "Walton might have been a better all-around player (than Lew Alcindor)," UCLA coach John Wooden said. "If you were grading a player for every fundamental skill, Walton would rank the highest of any center who ever played."
Illinois State guard Doug Collins became the only white NCAA consensus first-team All-American to play for an African-American head coach (Will Robinson). . . . Oral Roberts, coached by Ken Trickey, established an NCAA record for most field-goal attempts per game with 98.5. ORU and Southwestern Louisiana finished 1-2 in the team national scoring race for the second consecutive season. . . . USL, coached by Beryl Shipley, ranked among the Top 10 in final wire-service polls in each of its first two campaigns at the Division I level. . . . Oklahoma City's Ozie Edwards (28.4) and Marvin Rich (25.3) became one of only four sets of teammates in NCAA history to each average more than 25 points per game in a single season.
Marquette's 81-game homecourt winning streak, which started in 1967, was snapped by Notre Dame, 71-69, on guard Dwight Clay's right corner jumper with four seconds remaining. The Irish overcame a 10-point deficit with less than 13 minutes remaining. . . . Freshman James "Fly" Williams, the fifth-leading scorer in the country, became a folk hero of sorts by leading Austin Peay State to the Ohio Valley Conference championship after the school finished in last place the previous year. He set an APSU record with 51 points in two different games (against Georgia Southern in finals of Claxton Fruitcake Classic and against Tennessee Tech). His exploits inspired the clever chant, "Fly is open! Let's go Peay!" Austin Peay finished in the final top 20 of a wire-service poll for the only time in school history. Teammate Howard Jackson, a center-forward and two-time All-OVC selection, went on to coach his alma mater for two seasons in the mid-1980s.
Los Angeles State's Raymond Lewis (39.9) and Tulsa's Willie Biles (41.6) had staggering scoring averages in their final five games, but they still finished second and third, respectively, in the national scoring race behind Pepperdine's William "Bird" Averitt, who averaged 38.1 points per game in his last 10 contests. . . . Lewis established a Pacific Coast Athletic Association (predecessor to Big West Conference) standard by pouring in a DI school-record 53 points in a double overtime game against third-ranked Long Beach State (22-1 at the time) on his way to a league record 32.9-point scoring average. The sophomore guard hit only 8 of 34 shots from the floor in an earlier matchup with the Jerry Tarkanian-coached 49ers. Lewis, a first-round draft choice of the Philadelphia 76ers as a hardship case after the season, went on to be acknowledged in some quarters as the best player never to appear in the NBA. He died in February, 2001, at the age of 48 stemming from complications following the amputation of an infected leg. . . . Averitt supplied the two highest-scoring games in West Coast Conference history when he poured in a school-record 57 points and later 56 in two separate contests against Nevada-Reno. Averitt, a junior college transfer, had 16 games with 37 or more points in his two-year Pepperdine career.
Biles set a Tulsa scoring record with 48 points against Wichita State. Other school Division I single-game scoring standards were set by Virginia Tech's Allan Bristow (52 points vs. George Washington), Dayton's Donald Smith (52 at Loyola of Chicago), Centenary's Robert Parish (50 at Lamar), Memphis State's Larry Finch (48 vs. St. Joseph's, Ind.), Fordham's Ken Charles (tied with 46 vs. St. Peter's) and Georgia Southern's Johnny Mills (44 vs. Samford). . . . Bristow, who averaged more than 20 points per game for the third straight year, went on to coach the NBA's Charlotte Hornets. . . . Parish, a freshman, failed to convert a free throw in his outburst against Lamar but he did grab 30 rebounds. Later, Moore was scoreless in the extra session against Centenary but he still finished with a 20-8 edge in field goals over Parish. . . . Averitt (33.9 ppg), Biles (30.3), Arkansas' Martin Terry (28.3), St. John's Billy Schaeffer (24.7), St. Louis' Harry Rogers (24.5) and Finch (24) set school records for highest scoring average in a single season. Averitt's average is a WCC record. . . . Finch, a guard, was the first Memphis State player to become an NCAA consensus first- or second-team All-American. He would become his alma mater's all-time winningest coach with 220 victories in 11 seasons from 1986-87 through 1996-97.
Villanova compiled a losing record (11-14) for the only time in Jack Kraft's 12 years as the Wildcats' coach. The Wildcats had defeated Boston College 13 straight times until bowing to the Eagles, 82-81. . . . Connecticut compiled its only winning record (3-2) against eventual Big East Conference members in the last 14 seasons before the formation of the league in 1979-80. . . . Brown lost 26 consecutive games to Princeton in their series until upending the Tigers, 68-62. . . . Harvard teammates James Brown and Ken Wolfe led the Ivy League in scoring (22.6 ppg) and free-throw shooting (93.5%) in conference competition, respectively. Brown (CBS and Fox announcer) and Wolfe (ABC producer) went on to gain national recognition for their network TV sports duties. Brown was selected in the NBA draft ahead of guards George Karl (North Carolina) and M.L. Carr (Guilford). . . . Penn co-captain Craig Littlepage would go on to coach the Quakers in the 1985 NCAA Tournament before becoming the first black athletic director in the ACC (at Virginia). . . . Duquesne won 56 of 58 home games in one stretch since February, 1969. . . . The Tallent clan had its third brother in five years lead George Washington in scoring--Bob Tallent (28.9 ppg in 1968-69), Mike Tallent (21.1 ppg in 1969-70) and Pat Tallent (18.8 ppg in 1972-73). . . . New Hampshire's Paul Cormier, finishing his career with an 8.3-point scoring average, went on to coach Dartmouth and Fairfield.
Michigan State started a 14-game winning streak in its series with Ohio State. . . . Bob Knight was in his second season as Indiana's coach when the Hoosiers finished in the Top 10 of a final wire-service poll for the first time since 1960. . . . Forward Nick Weatherspoon became Illinois' only All-Big Ten first-team selection in the 1970s. . . . Kansas State finished in the Top 20 of a final wire-service poll for the 15th time in school history. At the time, intrastate rival Kansas had reached that plateau on 10 occasions.
Davidson (Southern/coached by Terry Holland), Kentucky (SEC/Joe B. Hall) and Weber State (Big Sky/Gene Visscher) each captured its sixth consecutive regular-season league championship. Davidson's crown was its ninth undisputed Southern Conference regular-season title in 10 years. . . . Mississippi lost 39 straight games to Kentucky in their series until Ole Miss prevailed, 61-58. . . . For the first time in ACC Tournament history, the regular-season last-place finisher won a first-round game when Wake Forest (3-9 in the ACC) upset second-place finisher North Carolina (8-4), 54-52, in overtime. . . . Karl, Carolina's leader in scoring and assists, went on to become a longtime NBA coach. . . . Eddie Payne, leading Wake Forest in free-throw percentage for the second straight year, eventually coached East Carolina and Oregon State. He averaged 15.5 points per game his senior season. . . . Mike D'Antoni, who finished his Marshall career with more than eight assists per game, later became a two-time Italian League MVP, Italian League coach of the year in 1992 and coach of the NBA's Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks. . . . NIT champion Virginia Tech won its four games in the event by a grand total of five points. Coach Don DeVoe started a streak of winning his last 11 one-point verdicts with the Hokies.
Houston's only defeat in its last 16 regular-season games was by one point against Eddie Sutton-coached Creighton, 78-77. . . . Arizona's Fred Snowden became the first African-American head coach in the Western Athletic Conference. He guided the Wildcats to a tie for second place after they finished seventh the previous year. . . . No league benefited more from yearlings than the WAC in the initial season of freshman eligibility. Arizona freshman guard Coniel Norman led the WAC in scoring (24 ppg), Utah freshman center Mike Sojourner paced the WAC in rebounding (12.3 rpg), Arizona freshman guard Eric Money was an all-league second-team selection and Utah freshman guard Luther "Ticky" Burden led the Utes in scoring although they compiled their first losing record (8-18) in 19 years. Norman and Money comprise the highest-scoring freshman backcourt in NCAA history. . . . Long Beach State (26-3/coached by Jerry Tarkanian) had its winningest season in school history. . . . Greg Sten (.819) became the fifth different Gonzaga player in eight years to lead the Big Sky Conference in free-throw percentage. . . . Seattle's Ron Howard, who averaged 10.9 ppg and 6.9 rpg and finished runner-up in WCAC competition in free-throw shooting (83.9%), went on to catch 37 passes as a tight end in the Seahawks' inaugural NFL campaign in 1976. . . . George Martin, who collected 14 points and 33 rebounds in 12 games for Oregon, eventually scored six touchdowns as a defensive end with the New York Giants for 14 seasons from 1975 through 1988.
Four freshmen who led their major-college team in scoring for the first of four consecutive seasons included Texas Tech's Rick Bullock, Northeastern's John Clark, Nebraska's Jerry Fort and Oregon's Ron Lee.
Bucky Waters' fourth and final campaign as Duke's coach resulted in the Blue Devils' first losing record in 34 years (12-14). . . . Temple's Harry Litwack ended his 21-year coaching career with a 373-193 record. . . . Georgetown's John Thompson started his college coaching career with a 12-14 record, including defeats to St. John's (by 41 points) and Florida State (31), local rivals Maryland (26), American University (22) and George Washington (13) and small school Roanoke (16). But he compiled an 8-1 mark in games decided by fewer than five points. . . . Roanoke defeated VMI for the sixth time in as many games over the last four seasons.
American senior Kermit Washington grabbed at least 26 rebounds in each of his last five games to finish the year with a nation-leading 20.4 rebounds per game. Playing under coach Tom Young, he collected 40 points and 26 rebounds in a 90-68 triumph over Georgetown in the Eagles' regular-season finale to preserve his status as the last Division I player to average more than 20 points and 20 rebounds for an entire season. . . . Jim Lynam, Young's successor, won three-fourths of his games decided by fewer than four points (18-6 in those close contests) in his five years at the AU helm from 1973-74 through 1977-78. . . . Sophomore David Vaughn's 34 rebounds for Oral Roberts against Brandeis is the highest single-game total for a major-college player since freshman eligibility was introduced. Centenary's Parish (33 vs. Southern Mississippi), Manhattan's Bill Campion (30 vs. Hofstra), Nevada-Reno's Pete Padgett (30 at Loyola Marymount), Oklahoma freshman Alvan Adams (28 vs. Indiana State along with 34 points in his debut), Oklahoma State's Andy Hopson (27 vs. Missouri), UNLV's Jimmie Baker (26 vs. San Francisco) and Texas A&M's Cedric Joseph (23 vs. Angelo State) set school single-game rebounding records. Joining Parish in the freshman class were Padgett and Adams.
Arkansas (16-10) won more than 13 games for the first time in 11 years. . . . Three Texas universities--Abilene Christian, Corpus Christi and Trinity--ended their short stints at the major-college level. Gettsyburg (Pa.) also competed in its final season as a major college.
1973 NCAA Tournament
Summary: UCLA won the national championship by an average of 16 points. The Bruins' Bill Walton, aided by Greg Lee's tourney-high 14 assists, erupted for a championship game-record 44 points in an 87-66 triumph over Memphis State in the final. It was UCLA's fifth title-game victory in seven years over a Final Four newcomer. Walton had been outscored by fellow center Steve Downing, 26-14, in a 70-59 victory against Indiana in the national semifinals. The Bruins won 26 of their 30 games by a double-digit margin with the closest results being six-point victories against league rivals Oregon State and Stanford. Forward Larry Farmer and guard Tommy Curtis, who combined to average a modest 18.6 points per game during the entire season, were UCLA's game-high scorers in the West Regional final and national semifinal.
Star Gazing: This was the last time a champion had just one representative on the All-NCAA Tournament team (Walton). . . . Providence's Ernie DiGregorio supplied perhaps the most stunning pass in NCAA playoff history with a behind-the-back assist in the first half of the semifinals against Memphis State that seemed to travel nearly two-thirds the length of the court. It was a delivery that still defies description.
Biggest Upset: Coach Jerry Tarkanian's fourth consecutive and last tournament team at Long Beach State (26-3) succumbed against San Francisco, 77-67, when two-time consensus first-team All-American Ed Ratleff hit just 4 of 18 field-goal attempts for the 49ers, who were ranked third by UPI.
One and Only: Walton is the only player to have as many as 20 field goals in an NCAA championship game. He was 21 of 22 from the floor against Memphis State. . . . Larry Finch went on to become the only individual to coach his alma mater to more than four NCAA Tournament victories (six from 1988 through 1995) after leading the school in scoring in a championship game (29 points against UCLA). . . . Austin Peay's Fly Williams (26 vs. Jacksonville in Mideast Regional) is the only freshmen to lead a major conference in scoring (29.5 ppg in Ohio Valley) and tally more than 20 points in an NCAA Tournament game victory.
Celebrity Status: Bill Laurie, a 5-10 guard who averaged 3.9 points per game for Memphis State's NCAA runner-up, breeds and trains horses at Crown Center Farms, south of Columbia, Mo. In the late 1990s, he purchased the NHL's St. Louis Blues and Kiel Arena in St. Louis. His wife, Nancy, is the daughter of the late Bud Walton and niece of the late Sam Walton, the brothers who founded Wal-Mart. . . . Indiana backup forward Trent Smock caught 36 passes for five touchdowns the next year as a sophomore when the split end was an AP All-Big Ten second-team selection. He was a 15th-round draft choice by the Detroit Lions in 1976.
Numbers Game: UCLA's Farmer finished his career as the winningest player by percentage in NCAA history (89-1, .989). He would later coach his alma mater and a couple of other Division I universities (Weber State and Loyola of Chicago). . . . Providence's Marvin Barnes hit all 10 of his field-goal attempts in an 87-65 pounding of Pennsylvania in the East Regional semifinals. . . . Memphis State's Larry Kenon had the top two rebounding efforts in the playoffs--22 vs. Providence and 20 vs. South Carolina. . . . Indiana, making its first NCAA appearance under coach Bob Knight, won its opening playoff game for the first time in 20 years. Knight, who went on to become the NCAA's all-time winningest coach, posted his first tourney triumph in his eighth season.
What Might Have Been: Barnes suffered a dislocated right kneecap in the first half of the national semifinals. The Friars, entering the Final Four with just two defeats, didn't have enough firepower to retain a nine-point halftime lead and wound up losing to Memphis State (98-85). According to legendary CCNY coach Nat Holman, they had gotten off to the best eight-minute start he had ever seen with Barnes dominating inside, Kevin Stacom hitting a couple of long jumpers and DiGregorio displaying his passing wizardry. . . . Undefeated North Carolina State was ineligible for the NCAA Tournament because of NCAA probation. The Wolfpack won its first four games by an average margin of 57 points. . . . North Carolina (25-8) might have been the ACC representative in the NCAA playoffs instead of Maryland if Bob McAdoo hadn't left school early for the NBA. . . . Kentucky (20-8) could have possessed the firepower to defeat Indiana in the Mideast Regional final if center Tom Payne hadn't dropped out of college with eligibility remaining. . . . Princeton (16-9) probably would have challenged Penn more to participate in the NCAA playoffs as the Ivy League titlist if guard Brian Taylor hadn't turned pro early. . . . Florida State (18-8) didn't live up to expectations when guard Ron King, the leading scorer for the NCAA Tournament runner-up the previous season, missed the majority of his senior year after dislocating his ankle. . . . St. John's (19-7) probably would have fared better in the tourney if Mel Davis hadn't missed the season because of a knee injury suffered in the 1972 NIT. Davis was eligible to turn pro in the 1973-74 campaign because his original class had graduated.
Putting Things in Perspective: Downing and John Ritter, Indiana's top two scorers, were recruited by Knight's predecessor, Lou Watson, who compiled a 17-7 mark in his final season (1970-71) when George McGinnis played his only year in college before turning pro. . . . Pittsburgh forward Billy Knight posted the highest single-game scoring output against UCLA during the season with 37 points.
Scoring Leader: Ernie DiGregorio, Providence (128 points, 25.6 ppg).
Highest Scoring Average: Larry Finch, Memphis State (107 points, 26.75 ppg).
Rebounding Leader: Bill Walton, UCLA (58 rebounds, 14.5 rpg).
Ernie DiGregorio, G, Sr., Providence (49 points, nine rebounds, 14 assists in final two games)
Steve Downing, C, Sr., Indiana (47 points, 19 rebounds)
Larry Finch, G, Sr., Memphis State (50 points)
Larry Kenon, F, Jr., Memphis State (48 points, 30 rebounds)
*Bill Walton, C, Jr., UCLA (58 points, 30 rebounds)
*Named Most Outstanding Player.
Championship Team Results
Regional Semifinal: UCLA 98 (Walton team-high 28 points), Arizona State 81 (Owens 22)
Regional Final: UCLA 54 (Farmer 13), San Francisco 39 (Smith 17)
National Semifinal: UCLA 70 (Curtis 22), Indiana 59 (Downing 26)
Championship Game: UCLA 87 (Walton 44), Memphis State 66 (Finch 29)