1973 College Basketball Recap
Freshmen became eligible to play varsity ball for the 1972–73 season. It was becoming a young man's game, all right. The year before, the pros had grabbed undergrads like Julius Erving, George McGinnis, Johnny Neumann and Jim Chones. The ABA's N.Y. Nets had snatched Chones from Marquette just as the unbeaten Warriors were preparing for the NCAAs (they went nowhere without him).
Now the colleges were restless to recruit youngsters. North Carolina State was so excited about landing freshman David Thompson that the NCAA put the Wolfpack on probation for using unapproved recruiting methods. With Thompson in the line-up, N.C. State went 27–0 and finished the regular season ranked No.2, but couldn't go to the NCAAs.
UCLA? The Bruins went 30–0, stretched their winning streak to a record 75 straight, won their seventh straight NCAA title in a breeze, and Bill Walton and John Wooden were everybody's Player and Coach of the Year again. Walton even became the first basketball player since Bill Bradley to win the Sullivan Award as the nation's best amateur athlete.
No.4 Providence, led by Ernie DiGregorio, became the first New England team to reach the Final Four since Holy Cross (and Bob Cousy) did it in 1948. The Friars placed fourth.