Stakes High at Halftime at USC Games

Finally, we're going to see how USC students respond to real pressure.

At halftime of each Trojan men's and women's basketball game this season, two students will be given chances to sink four specified shots in 24 seconds.

The prize? Free tuition for a semester.

The countdown begins tonight at the Lyon Center on campus, where the women play Texas.

By the way, how many shots does a USC player have to make to get eight semesters of free tuition.

Trivia time: What do Laker Coach Mike Dunleavy and Clipper Coach Mike Schuler have in common?

Roto-rooter alert: Even if you're not in a rotisserie league, it's legal to read "Rotisserie League Basketball."

Editors Glen Waggoner and Robert Sklar evaluate each player in the NBA. For example:

Jon Koncak, Atlanta: "Never one to run his mouth or feign injury, Koncak simply goes out and gets you four points and four rebounds every single night."

Scott Roth, Minnesota: "He broke his nose for the ninth time last season. Alas, his shot is no straighter than his septum."

Add rotisserie: Of Joe Barry Carroll, before his release by the Denver Nuggets, Waggoner and Sklar wrote: "The real Mailman: He's slow, doesn't deliver and is surrounded by dogs."

Some reward: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have lost five games in a row and six of their last seven.

Still, when asked whether he plans to fire Coach Ray Perkins, Buccaneer owner Hugh Culverhouse said: "Even if we lost every game the rest of the year, even if Ray Perkins wanted to quit, I wouldn't let him. I'd make him come back and coach the team next year. I hope that makes it plain and simple."

Mr. Inside: Bill Laimbeer and other contemporary NBA centers might have a shooting touch from long range, but George Mikan, considered the first great center of pro basketball's modern era, recently said he couldn't imagine himself taking on that role.

Mikan, who played two years in the old NBL and with the Minneapolis Lakers from 1948-'49 to 1955-'56 (he retired in 1954-'55), added:

"The only time I would shoot from the outside was in practice, and then it was only when we were shooting for milkshakes. And as far as ballhandling goes, I always said that when I dribbled, it was two bounces and a kick."

Remember their slogan: Jan Hubbard of Newsday isn't so sure James Worthy's endorsement possibilities have narrowed.

He suggested: "Hi, this is James Worthy for the Yellow Pages."

Run 10 laps: Sports promoter Al Franken comes neither to praise junk bond king Michael Milken nor to bury him--merely to point out that Milken, who was sentenced last week to 10 years in prison for violating federal securities laws and other crimes, built a state-of-the-art running track two years ago for his alma mater, Birmingham High School in Van Nuys.

Does this give new meaning to the term artificial surface?

Gimme a G, gimme an R. . . . : Michael Milken and actress Sally Field were yell leaders together at Birmingham High.

Trivia answer: Both were with the Milwaukee Bucks--Dunleavy as a player and Schuler as an assistant coach--in 1983-'84.

Quotebook: New York Knick guard Mark Jackson, asked to explain his team's poor play in losing to Houston, 115-88, three days after playing well in a 106-79 victory over Philadelphia: "It's hard to explain our Heckle and Jeckle performance."

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