Ivy League basketball teams ran up a string of startling victories, plus a few impressive defeats, in national tournaments played during the holiday.
Most startling of all was Columbia, which became the first Ivy League school to capture the prestigious Holiday Festival Tournament in New York's Madison Squre Garden.
The Lions, underdogs in all three games they played, knocked off West Virginia, 88-71, Louisville, 74-67, and St. John's. 60-55, to win the tournament. They were led by sensational sophomore Jim McMillian, who was voted the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Columbia also boasts 7-foot center Dave New-mark on a team that may threaten Princeton's domination over Ivy basketball this year.
Princeton itself gained fifth-place in the Far West Tournament at Portland, Ore., taking a 77-66 decision over Stanford in is final game. Princeton has fallen from the national Top 10 ranking as a result of recent losses.
The other Ivy team that will launch a strong challenge for the League title is Cornell. The Big Red had already crushed Columbia in a pre-holidays game, and went on to take the Kodak Classic in Rochester, N.Y., with victories over Holy Cross and University of Rochester. Cornell has also beaten Niagara, 84-78, a team led by the nation's leading scorer, Calvin Murphy. The Big Red boast a 7-1 record to date.
In other Ivy action, Yale took the Virginia Tech tournament with victories over V.P.I. and Virginia, and then came in third in the Triangle Tournament, losing to Georgia but beating Georgia Tech 72-71.
Dartmouth lost to powerful Tulance, 74-67, in the Hurricane Classic. Penn finished fifth in the Quaker City tournament, losing to Wisconsin in the opener but beating Providence, 61-48. Brown lost non-tournament games to Ciglethrope and Miami, but beat Steson, 75-66.
Harvard, the only Ivy team not to see holiday action, leaves to play Friday in the Blue Nose Classic at Halifax, Nova Scotia, against three Canadian teams.