Thursday, March 16, 2023


There's way too much going on in 2023 to focus on 1976 now, but I just didn't want to miss the chance to share this picture from today 1976's Courier-Journal ...

16 Mar 1976, Tue The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky)

I'd never seen it. The headline for the story running with the picture is, "Wooden, the king, gives 'way to Knight, the wonderkid." I may or may not read it.

In the NIT tonight in 1976, we've got Kentucky vs. Kansas State and then Louisville vs. Providence, which is so weird. The winners are scheduled to play in the semifinals Thursday, March 18, in New York.

16 Mar 1976, Tue The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky)


  1. IU is No. 1 in the country; Marquette, No. 2. This game is at LSU.

  2. I watched some of this game. I had been more interested in the regional semifinal, when IU beat C.M. Newton's best ever team at Alabama, 74 to 69. I watched a lot of that game. Alabama went 22-4 that year, and was ranked number 6 in the country. They were really good. Back then, the Mideast Regional was brutal.

    1. Meanwhile, I had mostly forgotten about Kentucky, who beat Kansas State 81-78 (James Lee had 20 points!) and then beat Providence 79-78. Jack Givens had 28 points in that one, but it was Larry Johnson's layup at the end that won it for the Cats.

    2. So the Cats will play UNCC on March 21 for the title.

    3. Yes! I'm very excited to tune in to this game today. I don't pay attention to the NITs (or CBIs, etc.) unless my teams are playing in them, but, when they are, I'm so appreciative that those tournaments exist. Nobody else cares, but it's fun to get to root for your team in a one-and-done tournament of any kind. A few years ago when WKU got to the NIT semifinals, I was about to flip my lid. And I'm excited to dial in to UK 1976 today.

  3. In 1975, UK entered the tournament ranked number 5, and Marquette was number 10, and they had to play each other in the first round.

  4. Final from Baton Rouge: No. 1 IU 65, No. 2 Marquette 56.

    Some things about this broadcast:

    1. I had forgotten how tense and gripping it was to listen to a stall in a big game on the radio.

    2. I always had the mistaken impression that Jim Crews was a bit player on this Hoosiers team, but the future U of E coach was instrumental in this Hoosiers win.

    3. It was really eerie in the second half when the emergency alert about the tornadoes came on.

    4. This was a three-point game with 25 seconds to go, when Al McGuire got a technical foul coming out of a timeout. From there, the Hoosiers made six of seven free-throw attempts.

    5. I remember all of the big-deal players from these two teams--Scott May, Quinn Buckner, Bobby Wilkerson, Kent Benson, Tom Abernathy, Earl Tatum, Bo Ellis, Jerome Whitehead, Butch Lee--but more from their handful of Topps cards from their brief NBA careers than from their NCAA stardom.

  5. Replies
    1. At the time, a lot of people thought UK should have hired Lee Rose instead of Joe Hall.

  6. Here’s the sports tease above the masthead for the March 21, 1976, Sunday Herald-Leader of Lexington:

    Wildcats Seek NIT Crown At 1 p.m. Today
    It’s Indiana, UCLA, Rutgers and Michigan In NCAA Finals
    Sacred Heart Wins Girl’s State Tourney …
    All The Details in Section B

    And here are the A-1 headlines:

    — Patty Hearst Convicted
    — Verdict Could Bring 35 Years In Prison
    — Family Grieves Over Verdict
    — Carroll Top Winner As Legislature Ends
    — Cool, But Not As Wet
    — 10-Year-Old Angler Hooks Big Surprise

    (Spoiler alert: It was a 60-pound, 53.5-inch spoonbill catfish, caught from the Cumberland River in Whitley County.)

  7. Through 20 games of CBK76, the Wildcats were 10-10. And Rick Robey was hurt. Since then, however, UK has won nine straight, and Mike Phillips has emerged as a bruising star. He is the only non-Kentuckian in Coach Hall's starting five today: guards Larry Johnson of Morganfield and Reggie Warford of Drakesboro, forwards Jack Givens and James Lee of Lexington and 6-foot-10, 235-pound center Phillips (down from 255 last season) of Akron, Ohio (but eventually Madisonville).

  8. The stars for Coach Rose's 24-5 Charlotte 49ers are forwards Lew Massey of Pineville and Charlotte and Cedric Maxwell of Kinston and point guard Melvin Watkins of Reidsville--all in North Carolina.

  9. Super Wikipedia:

    Maxwell received the nickname "Cornbread" from his college teammate Melvin Watkins after the pair went to see the movie Cornbread, Earl and Me,[2] in which a 12-year-old boy is traumatized by the murder of his friend, a star basketball player. Watkins thought that Maxwell looked like the title character (played by Jamaal Wilkes) and so began calling him Cornbread. Since Maxwell did not like the nickname, it did not gain widespread use until Maxwell was named MVP of the NIT tournament in 1976, when, according to Watkins, "The New York media picked up on [the nickname]."[citation needed]

    Cornbread, Earl and Me is on HBO this month, per the March 1976 HBO On Air, which I was browsing just yesterday! My gosh, I still love the Internet!

  10. D.G. Fitzmaurice in the Herald-Leader, by the way, offers a little different, more precise take on the church-membership status of today’s coaches than did the TV broadcasters:

    NEW YORK—Oh, to be the proverbial church mouse this morning when the Rev. Dave Blondell takes the pulpit at Crestwood Christian Church for this week’s Sunday sermon.

    For under those somber ministerial robes, one may detect a pair of well-worn sneakers, and far from being blasphemous, the unusual footwear is particularly apt.

    Because if Rev. Blondell keeps his sermon short, his parishioners will be able to rush home and watch one current, and one former member of the congregation vie for the 39th annual National Invitation Tournament trophy at 1 p.m. on Channel 27.

    Both Kentucky’s Joe Hall, and Lee Rose, currently coaching at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, have attended services at Crestwood Christian, and both say they could use Blondell’s friendly offices today.

    “I’ve already invited him as our guest,” smiled Hall in a pre-game conference.

    “I wonder who he’s praying for,” interjected Rose.

    “In any event,” responded Hall, “this has got to be some kind of NIT record—the first time the two finalists have come from the same church.”

    1. I should've known, incidentally, that the newspaper guy got this little tidbit and someone read it to the TV guy, who then turned it up two notches.

  11. Fitzmaurice reports, by the way, that Robey, incidentally, could return to action in today's game after recovering from knee-ligament damage and the flu. And: "Win or lose, the Cats are scheduled to leave New York at 10:30 p.m. tonight via an Eastern Airlines flight and arrive in Lexington at 1:05 in the morning."

  12. WBTV's Jim Thacker: "Statewide across the Old North State, fans are following a new star!"

    With about 45 seconds to go in the half, Maxwell forces a UK turnover and then draws the third foul on Phillips. Cornbread's free throws--his 17th and 18th points of the game--put the 49ers ahead, 35-34.

    Phillips and Givens are both now on the sidelines with foul trouble. Hall is relying early on reserves Dwane Casey of Morganfield, Merion Haskins of Campbellsville and Bob Fowler of Dearborn Heights, Michigan. Fowler commits an offensive foul attempting to rebound Johnson's miss as the clock winds down. UNCC is in the bonus and makes both free throws: 37-34.

    Fowler follows a miss, but his basket is waved off as having been attempted after the buzzer. Coach Hall logs a lengthy protest with the officials but to no avail. 49ers' three-point lead holds at the half.

    WBTV goes to an interview with North Carolina Gov. James Holshouser, who "considered becoming a sports writer, and during his senior year he worked on the sports section of The Charlotte Observer. He later figured making a career out of sports would cause him to tire of them, so he decided to do what his father had done and become a lawyer."

    The governor goes deep: "The thing that has to impress you, Kentucky has tried everything. They've tried to press. They've tried a tough man to man. They've tried a 1-3-1 zone that was very aggressive. But they still haven't been able to shut off the Charlotte offense. And Maxwell has not only put Mike Phillips on the bench with three fouls, but he's got Jack Givens on the bench with three fouls, and he's got a bunch of other personals on some others. They've tried to close it off and keep him from getting the ball, but every time he's gotten it, somebody's fouled him, just about."

  13. WBTV, per Wikipedia:

    The station first signed on the air on July 15, 1949. When it debuted, WBTV was the 13th television station in the United States[2] and the first in the Carolinas; it is the oldest television station located between Richmond and Atlanta. Veteran Charlotte broadcaster Jim Patterson was the first person seen on the station, and remained employed there until his death in 1986. WBTV was originally owned by the Greensboro-based Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company, owners of WBT (1110 AM), the city's oldest radio station and the first fully licensed station in the South. At the time, the Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company also had a 16.5% interest in the Greensboro News Company, licensee of WFMY-TV, which signed on from Greensboro two months after WBTV. Jefferson Standard had purchased WBT from CBS in 1947. Shortly before the television station went on the air, its call letters were modified from WBT-TV to WBTV. Jefferson Standard merged with Pilot Life in 1968 (although it had owned controlling interest since 1945) and became Jefferson-Pilot Corporation. In 1970, the media interests were folded into a new subsidiary, Jefferson-Pilot Communications.

    WBTV received one of the last construction permits issued before the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) "freeze" on new television licenses, which lasted until the Commission released its Sixth Report and Order in 1952. As such, it was Charlotte's only VHF station for eight years, carrying affiliations with all four major networks of the time—CBS, NBC, ABC and DuMont. However, WBTV has always been a primary CBS affiliate, owing to WBT radio's long affiliation with the CBS Radio Network. It is the only commercial television station in the market that has never changed its primary affiliation. ...

    1. A much-remembered women's/homemaker's show, The Betty Feezor Show, aired on channel 3 from the 1950s until 1977 (usually after the soap opera Search for Tomorrow, and in its 15-minute format, Guiding Light). Feezor gave viewers tips on cooking, sewing, floral arranging, and other topics of interest to housewives and mothers. In 1965, the show was the third most-watched women's program in the United States.[20] Feezor's show was also carried on Richmond sister station WWBT after Jefferson-Pilot bought the station in 1968. Feezor retired in 1977 due to a brain tumor, an illness from which she died in 1978.

      The Betty Feezor Show was replaced by an hour-long midday news and variety show, Top O' the Day. Segments on the program included On the Square, in which Doug Mayes solicited opinions from various Charlotte-area residents about current news topics, as well as C. J. Underwood's Down Home with the Carolina Camera, where otherwise unknown or low-profile Carolinians were temporarily given celebrity status for their whimsical talents, novel collections, or for the way they impacted their communities. For its first five years, the show aired at 12:00 p.m., preempting The Young and the Restless. It shifted to 11:30 a.m. in 1982. To make room for Top O' the Day, WBTV aired The Price Is Right on a one-day delay at 10:30 a.m., preempting whatever game show CBS aired at that time. As a result, Child's Play, Press Your Luck, Card Sharks, and Now You See It never aired in Charlotte. The station didn't air the CBS version of Wheel of Fortune until late in that show's run. Top O' the Day ended in 1992, and was replaced by a conventional half-hour noon newscast. For most of the 1980s, WBTV aired the CBS Evening News on a half-hour delay at 7 p.m., due to its 6:00 p.m. newscast lasting an hour.

      For many years, WBTV occasionally preempted some of CBS' Saturday morning cartoons as well. However, area viewers could watch those preempted shows on WSPA-TV in Spartanburg or WFMY through a strong antenna (WFMY and WSPA were and still are available on some cable systems in the Charlotte market, although non-local programming is subject to blackout due to network non-duplication and syndication exclusivity rules). Before the arrival of the Carolina Panthers, WSPA was also known to air a different NFL game than what aired on WBTV, giving most Charlotte-area viewers a second option for NFL games. This was especially true if the Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons played at the same time. WBTV favored the Redskins while WSPA favored the Falcons, in tandem with most CBS affiliates in their respective states. ...

  14. Givens got his fourth foul nine seconds in the second half; Phillips, 44 seconds later. Lee got his fourth foul at 10:37.

  15. The UK uniforms from 1975 to 1978 are pretty much the best uniforms they ever had.