When St. John's last made it to the Final Four in 1951-52, it pulled off a major upset in the second round by beating No. 1 Kentucky, 64-57.
The coach at St. John's was Frank McGuire, now the director of college basketball at Madison Square Garden. Recalling the game, he told Dave Anderson of the New York Times:
"Kentucky had one of its best teams--Cliff Hagan, Frank Ramsey, Lou Tsioropoulos, those guys. Adolph Rupp had already chartered a plane and had arranged to take his own water from Raleigh, where the regional was, to Seattle for the semifinals and final. But when we won, Adolph gave us his plane and his water."
At Seattle, St. John's advanced to the title game against Kansas, coached by Phog Allen and led by Clyde Lovellette. Among the reserves was Dean Smith, now the coach at North Carolina. Kansas won, 80-63.
Said McGuire: "We couldn't handle Lovellette. He wrecked us, 33 points. The funny thing is, after the game I can't remember one writer coming around to talk to me. I don't think any of the New York writers came out there. They were too busy with the NIT."
Add McGuire: Looking to Saturday's game against Georgetown, he offered this advice to St. John's Coach Lou Carnesecca: "Don't try to cover Pat Ewing from behind. Deny him the ball, put Bill Wennington in front of him. And put Chris Mullin in a defensive matchup so that he can drop off to help Wennington cover Ewing.
"Mullin has to have a great day shooting the ball. But he knows that. Everybody knows that. Mullin is the best player St. John's has ever had, and Louie lets Mullin play his game."
Would-you-believe-it dept.: Georgetown Coach John Thompson and St. John's Coach Lou Carnesecca will go into Saturday's game with the same career winning percentage of .736.
Thompson, in 13 seasons, is 296-106. Carnesecca, in 17 seasons, is 362-130.
Trivia Time: Former NBA forward-center Leroy Ellis is the answer to what trivia question? (Answer below.)
Add Trivia: Until somebody proves otherwise, Cal Athletic Director Dave Maggard and son Dave Jr. are the answer to this question: "What is the first father-son combination to both surpass 60 feet in the shotput?"
Dave Jr., a junior at Cal, broke the barrier this year and has a best of 63-9. Dave Sr., fifth in the 1968 Olympics, had a best of 67-4.
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports this exchange between Joe Klein, vice president of baseball operations for the Cleveland Indians, and Manager Pat Corrales at Tucson:
KLEIN: "It's really cold out here."
CORRALES: "Cold is just a state of mind."
KLEIN: "Then why are you wearing batting gloves?"
CORRALES: "Because my hands are cold."
From a United Press International story on Dieter Brock, new quarterback of the Rams: "In the Canadian Football League, he often found himself in the midst of controversy. He held out during training camp in 1983 while with Winnipeg and quit in midseason before being traded to Hamilton. Brock also once said that the most exciting thing to do in Winnipeg was to go to the zoo, enraging local fans. One of the more popular cheers of Winnipeg fans was 'Brock's a crock.' "
Trivia Answer: Leroy Ellis is the answer to the question: "What player went from the winningest team in NBA history to the losingest team the following year?" Ellis played for the Lakers in 1971-72 and the Philadelphia 76ers in 1972-73. The Lakers were 69-13, the 76ers 9-73.
Jay Vincent of the Dallas Mavericks, on 7-4 Mark Eaton of the Utah Jazz: "It's like shooting over two helicopters. Plus he's thick in the middle. Akeem (Olajuwon) and Ralph (Sampson) are thin--at least you can see the basket. With Eaton, you can't even see it."