Facing Irish on St. Patrick's Day, Trojans Didn't Have a Chance

USC's first-round National Invitation Tournament game with Nevada Las Vegas tonight is the 20th anniversary of the Trojans' only other appearance in the NIT--on St. Patrick's Day.

In that game, everything seemed stacked against the Trojans, who played Notre Dame's Fighting Irish in New York City.

The referee, for starters, was Tom Casey. USC made nine more field goals than Notre Dame but shot only two free throws, whereas the Irish made 23 of 33 from the line.

With 20 seconds to play and USC trailing, 67-65, Notre Dame's John Shumate dropped a rebound out of bounds. Ruling? Ball to the Irish.

The Irish won, 69-65.

Add Trojans: After the game, USC Coach Bob Boyd said: "Maybe we just foul that much more than they do. . . . I want to thank the committee for pairing us with Notre Dame on St. Patrick's Day."

Headline in the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner the next day: "The Great St. Patrick's Day Robbery."

Trivia time: Who holds the NCAA tournament record for most points in a game?

Larry, Curly and Moe: Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle recommends Sandy Alderson, general manager of the Oakland Athletics, as the new baseball commissioner.

"I won't say the temporary leadership-by-committee structure is inefficient, but if baseball were a movie, the committee would be played by the Three Stooges," Ostler writes.

Who's dumb?From Blackie Sherrod of the Dallas Morning News: "Every time I see someone blister Boss Steinbrenner as a dumb pop-off, I remember he paid only $8.8 million for the richest franchise in pro sports and every time he pops off, he makes tabloid headlines and sells more Yankee tickets."

Overreaction: Mike Weaver of the San Jose Mercury News reports that a woman was so infuriated by owner Norm Green moving the Minnesota North Stars to Dallas that she brought a caged bobcat to the entrance of the Met Center in Bloomington, Minn.

On the cage was a sign that said Green deserved to be devoured because he had "betrayed the NHL and the state of Minnesota."

Double talk: In the bottom of the seventh inning of a junior varsity baseball game between Long Beach Millikan and Westlake high schools at Recreation Park in El Segundo, the public address announcer informed fans:

"Be sure to stay for the postgame awards ceremony to be held after the game."

Red to green: On this date in baseball in 1978, the Cincinnati Reds wore green uniforms for the first time in an exhibition game. They have worn green uniforms on every St. Patrick's Day since.

Trivia answer: Austin Carr of Notre Dame, with 61 points against Ohio University in 1970.

Quotebook: San Francisco Giant Manager Dusty Baker, on Barry Bonds' attitude: "He doesn't have to march to the same drummer as long as he's in the same band."

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