Kansas and the NCAA Tournament

 

 

 

Index

 

1958 Bracket

 

The Final Fours

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A Special Tribute
2011 NIT Champions

 

 

1958: Favored Cats Handle the

"The Big O", but not Elgin Baylor

 

 

Regional Semi-Final

 

NEW YORK (INS)- The top three teams in the country, West Virginia, Cincinnati and San Francisco, will have to watch the remainder of the NCAA college basketball tournament from the grandstands.

 

Cincinnati, which finished behind champion West Virginia in the final "top ten" poll, and third-ranked San Francisco were kayoed by Kansas State and Seattle Friday night to join the Mountaineers, who were dumped by Manhattan in the first round.

 

Kansas State eliminated the Bearcats and the country’s most prolific scorer, Oscar Robertson, 83 to 80, in an overtime thriller at Lawrence Kan., which catapulted the Wildcats into a quarter-final showdown tonight with Oklahoma State.

 

Seattle won a meeting with California at San Francisco tonight by beating San Francisco, 69 to 67, on a 25-foot field goal by Elgin Baylor in the final three seconds.

 

Temple meets Dartmouth for the eastern championship at Charlotte, and Kentucky plays Notre Dame in the Mideast Regional final at Lexington, Ky.

 

At New York's Madison Square Garden, meanwhile, the National Invitation Tournament resumes with Utah (20-6) playing St. John's (17-6) of Brooklyn and St. Joseph's (18-8) of Philadelphia meeting St. Bonaventure (19-4) for semi-final berths

 

Niagara (18-6) meets Xavier of Ohio (15-11) and Fordham (14-8) plays St. Francis of Loretto, Pa., (20-4) in an afternoon doubleheader for NIT quarter-final spots.

 

Before Cincinnati's 16-game winning streak was snapped, Oklahoma State (21-7) defeated Arkansas, 65 to 40; California (19-8) eliminated Idaho State, 54 to 43; Kentucky (20-6) ripped Miami of Ohio, 94 to 70, and Dartmouth (22-4) got rid of giant-killer Manhattan, 79 to 62.

 

Temple (25-2) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 24 straight by defeating Maryland, 71 to 67, and Robertson hit a brilliant 60 per cent from the field on 12 of 20.

 

A Pacific Coast record crowd of 16,034 gave Baylor a tremendous ovation in San Francisco's Cow Palace. The 6-foot-6 All-American scored 11 field goals and 13 free throws, 11 of the free shots in the second half without a miss.

 

San Francisco, which had beaten Seattle early in the season, led at the half and recaptured the lead for the last time with less than a minute remaining. The game was tied at 67-all when Elgin cut loose with his perfect jump shot.

 

Notre Dame's Tom Hawkins outscored Indiana's Archie Dees, 31 points to 28, as the Irish won their 12th straight victory. Charles McNeill was high man with 24 points for Maryland but Temple got double figures from three players- Bill Kennedy (18), All-American Guy Rodgers (16) and Jay Norman (14).

 

 

 

 

 

Regional Final

 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)- Kansas State, capitalizing on its vast superior height and deadly accuracy from beneath the basket, won the NCAA Midwest regional basketball championship Saturday night with a 69-57 decision over Oklahoma State.

 

Bob Boozer, one of three K-State Wildcats standing 6-8 or higher, paced the Big Eight champions into the final round of the championships to be played Louisville, Ky. next weekend.  

 

Boozer, making 78 per cent of his shots in the first half, ended up with 28 points. He also joined with Jack Parr and Wally Franks in sweeping both the offensive and defensive boards on rebounds.

 

Before the Wildcats earned their trip to Louisville, All-American Oscar Robertson of Cincinnati thrilled the capacity crowd of 17,000 with an NCAA tournament scoring record. The Bearcat ace tallied 56 points in leading his team to a 97-62 victory over Arkansas for third place.

 

Oklahoma State had only 6-8 Arlen Clark to counter the big and powerful Wildcats. Clark was the big reason that the Cowboys were able to stay as close as they did. He scored 24 points.

 

For a little over 10 minutes of the first period it looked as if Oklahoma State might be able to overcome their height deficiency and make a battle of it. With seven minutes left in the opening session the score was 23-23.

 

Then Roy DeWitz took charge and joined Parr and Boozer in giving K-State a 38-31 halftime advantage.

 

With Boozer, Parr and Franks seldom giving the Cowboys more than one shot at the basket, K-State continued to widen the margin in the second half until the score was 61-41 with nine minutes left.

 

Oklahoma State, working the ball in its usual deliberate style, managed to make the score respectable in the closing minutes as Clark added to his total.

 

"K-State played us very smart, utilizing their height," said coach Hank Iba of Oklahoma State. "We were going up too quickly with the ball, especially when they were rallying to catch us in the early part of the first half. K-State should make a great representative in the competition at Louisville."

 

Robertson, the nation's leading scorer, broke the record of 48 points made by Hal Lear of Temple in 1956 against Southern Methodist. The Cincinnati ace also established a new mark for field goals as he dropped in 21, one more than Bob Houbregs of Washington hit in 1953 against Seattle.

 

Robertson picked up 27 of his points on nine field goals and nine free throws in the first half as Cincinnati went ahead, 51-29. He was slow getting underway in the second period but, once he got the range, he dropped them in from every angle, adding 12 fielders and five free throws to make his total 56.

 

He left the game a minute before the end with the cheers of 17,000 fans ringing in his ears. Robertson went into the game leading the nation with a 34.4 average.

 

 

 

National Semifinal

 

LOUISVILLE, KY (UP)- Kentucky and Seattle, teams which were not supposed to make it, will battle it out tonight for the NCAA basketball championship because of hard driving guard named Vern Hatton and a fabulous character named Elgin Baylor.

 

Hatton, a 6 foot 3 blond who stayed in his home town of Lexington, Ky. to play basketball for Adolph Rupp, broke Temple's hearts for the second time this season when he blazed along the baseline to sink a twisting reverse layup shot with 12 seconds on the clock and beat the Owls, 61 to 60, in last night's semifinals.

 

Hatton left the NCAA record crowd of 18,586 limp but Baylor left 'em laughin' as he led Seattle's Chieftains to a startling 73 to 51 victory over a tall Kansas State which was supposed to succeed North Carolina as the new national champion.

 

Kansas State, with three players measuring 6-8 or better, was nearly helpless under the backboards against the 6-5 Baylor, who scored 23 points and gathered in 22 rebounds. Seattle held a 37 to 32 lead at halftime and, as the second half opened, Baylor personally turned what had been a contest into an exhibition by scoring four baskets in little more than two minutes.

 

With a 51 to 40 lead, Seattle turned to a dazzling ball possession game which not only kept Kansas State from scoring for nine minutes but had the Wildcats looking ridiculous in their futile efforts to break it up.

 

When Baylor finally drove in to dunk the ball for the basket which gave Seattle a 59 to 47 lead with seven minutes to play, the contest was over.

 

Seattle Coach John Castellani remarked earlier this week, "Kansas State may be taller than we are, but their hearts are no bigger," and his underrated ball club proved it

 

Kentucky was not short of heart either or it never would have pulled out a victory over Temple, which had a 60 to 59 lead and a free throw coming with 47 seconds to play.

 

Guy Rodgers, an All-American who proved his right to the title by playing a brilliant ball game, missed the free throw as the crowd howled at him. Kentucky called time out and in the 12 seconds left Hatton drove in for the winning basket.

 

The same Hatton last December sank a 47 foot set shot in the last second of the first overtime to keep Kentucky in a game it finally won from Temple, 85 to 83, in three extra sessions.

 

Kentucky stayed in striking distance of Temple last night only because forward Johnny Cox matched Rodgers point for point, each getting 22 for the evening, and because guard Adrian Smith insisted on staying in the game despite an ankle injury suffered with five minutes to go. Smith scored six points for Kentucky in the final two minutes

 

Kentucky Coach Adolph Rupp said, "Don't congratulate me. Congratulate Hatton. We were lucky, to put it plain and simple, but we got the last basket and that's what counts."

 

Kansas State and Temple will meet in a consolation game at 5 PM (PST) with the championship game between Kentucky and Seattle set for 7 PM (PST).

 

Kentucky which already holds more NCAA championships than any other school, will be seeking its fourth tonight and it may be significant Rupp's teams never have lost a game in an NCAA semifinal or final round.

 

 

 

National Third Place Game

 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)- Slick Temple, driven by Guy Rodgers and Bill (Pickles) Kennedy, perked up in the second half Saturday night and whipped hot-and-cold Kansas' State, 67-57, for third place in the NCAA basketball tournament.

 

Hulking Kansas State, the tournament favorite until crushed by Seattle Friday night, blew an 11 point half time lead to lose this one, scoring only one field goal in the first 13 minutes of the second half. Temple simply ran away as the Big Eight champions, who finally looked like a ball club the first 20 minutes, went flat again- just as flat as they were against Seattle.

 

K-State's Bob Boozer hit with a jump shot with 45 seconds gone in the second half. By the time K-State got another one, there were 6 minutes left in the game and Temple had breezed into a 53-47 lead.

 

Boozer got the second field goal on a tip-in, cutting the Owls' lead to four points, but that was as close as the big men from the Midwest got as Rodgers and Kennedy promptly went back to work and quickly opened up a commanding lead.

 

Kennedy, who suffered a broken bone in his nose Friday night as Kentucky snapped Temple's 25-game winning streak, led all scorers with 23 points. Rodgers, every inch an All-America again, had 17 and did an excellent job of quarterbacking.

 

It was the second time in three years the Owls, representing the Middle Atlantic Conference, had finished third in the NCAA. They seemed to need the first 20 minutes to shake off the disappointment of Friday night's heartbreaking 61-60 loss to Kentucky. After hitting only 25 per cent of their shots in the first half, the Owls bagged 13 of 26 after the intermission and wound up with a 34.8 percentage.

 

Boozer, with 19 points, led K-State, which hit only five of 33 attempts after the intermission and wound up with 38.3% for the game.

 

 

National Championship Game

 

Sports Illustrated

March 31, 1958

Jeremiah Tax

 

This is a story about a brash young man who had the misfortune to run into the Old Master of tournament basketball, Adolph Rupp of Kentucky.

 

The brash young man was John Castellani, a peppery, fast-talking, sharp-dressing 32-year-old; half-Irish, half-Italian, he has all the loquacity and the fire traditionally associated with the blood that surges at high speed through his slender, crew-cut frame. These are qualities that threatened to wreck a career before it really got under way when, in this, his second year as coach at Seattle University, his fine collection of players lost four of their first eight games and he was twice hung in effigy in downtown Seattle for his pains. To his credit, Castellani kept his electric intensity, gained a measure of control over it and, more importantly, gained control over his players, which he hadn't earlier. He drove them relentlessly through the rest of the season with only one more defeat.

 

His leadership won Seattle entry to the NCAA championship tournament and three stunning preliminary victories over Wyoming, San Francisco and California. It won them entry to the semifinal round in Louisville last week and there another superlative victory over Kansas State, a team which appeared exhausted in body and spirit after a grueling season. It won them vast popular support around the country and, finally, the right to play for the title.

 

Then John Castellani met Adolph Rupp. On the coaching level, it was no contest.

 

Jowly, bulky Adolph Rupp, 56, and for many of those years probably the keenest basketball mind in the nation, had already won more tournament games of any kind than any coach in the history of the game. Since 1952-53, when Kentucky was obliged to cancel its schedule because of alleged violations of the NCAA code, Rupp has had one thought before him- through the long summers after poor (for him) seasons, through endless, sweaty afternoons of practice sessions, under the lash of a bitter, consuming ambition. "I will not retire until Kentucky wins another NCAA championship."

 

At the start of this season, Rupp, an open-eyed realist, could hardly have hoped for much more than his 18th Southeastern Conference title, if that. As he put it, he had a collection of "fiddlers" when he needed "violinists." They were the holdovers of what he had termed possibly his worst team in years. But the clue- for all who had eyes to see- was in that word holdovers. He had a starting five of four seniors and one junior. All had had three years of the rigorous Rupp discipline that makes and, let it be said, can break basketball players. It is a system of orders given and orders carried out- or else. This year's team played its games by rote, by strict patterns laid down by Rupp; with hardly a single free-lance move, they ran their patterns, getting better and better at them as the year wore on, and won the Southeastern title against competition which was far superior to that of many previous seasons. In the early rounds of the NCAA tournament they simply overpowered Miami of Ohio and actually humiliated a strong Notre Dame by more than 30 points. In the semifinal against Temple they passed and ran and ran and passed until they found the tiniest chinks in one of the toughest defenses in the nation; that kept them even in a seesaw game until they made capital of a last-minute Temple error and won.

 

Rupp was within one step of the goal, but no one knew better what a big step it was. He could have had few real worries about his own attack against only a so-so over-all Seattle defense. But the problem of what to do about the offensive versatility and the apparently unstoppable rebounding of Seattle's Elgin Baylor was a problem that hadn't been solved by many another coach. (Portland Coach Al Negratti told Castellani after Baylor had scored 60 points against his team: "John, we almost had you. If we could have held Baylor to 54 points, we'd have won.")

 

It seems obvious now that Rupp decided there was nothing he could do about Baylor; he just didn't have the height or the skill. There was only one course open: get rid of Baylor. And that's what he did.

 

He did it through a young man named John Crigler, easily the most underrated player in this tournament. Rupp set up fast-moving patterns that forced Seattle into a continuous switching of defensive assignments until Baylor was left guarding Crigler and Crigler was left with the ball. So far so good and, actually, not too difficult to accomplish. But the crux of the matter was that at the moment Baylor was forced to switch to Crigler, Crigler had taken advantage of an intricate series of legal blocking maneuvers and was already a half-step ahead of him and driving on a cleared-out path to the basket. Baylor had to concede two points each time or try to stop Crigler without fouling him. In a tournament game players like Baylor concede nothing, and rightly so, of course. But he could not avoid the fouls, and before the game was 10 minutes old he had three. Two more and Seattle's key man would automatically be out of the game. The issue was decided with a full 30 minutes to go.

 

Thereafter, Baylor tried desperately to avoid committing himself on a defensive assignment until the last split-second, and his teammates ran themselves to exhaustion to help him. But Kentucky continued to get the ball to the man that Baylor was finally stuck with, and Baylor was obliged to choose between giving that man plenty of room for drives or shots or pressing him hard and running the risk of fouling out.

 

In the second half, Castellani tried to fend off the inevitable by putting his team in a zone defense. He had four men out front, running furiously to cover five Kentuckians and kept Baylor under the basket where, at least, he was of value in rebounding. But there always had to be a free Kentucky player outside and, whether it was the sharpshooting Johnny Cox in a corner or the excellent jump-shooting Vernon Hatton near the top of the key, he scored.

 

It must be said for Baylor that, handicapped as he was by fouls and by a painful rib injury, he still scored 25 points in streaks of brilliant offensive play, and passed off daringly and well to his teammates. But Kentucky won 84-72.

 

Adolph Rupp had his fourth NCAA title. The man dedicated to winning as the only reason for playing or coaching had his victory. Rupp deserved this as no other coach ever deserved a victory.

 

But it must be reported, unhappily, that among many of his peers, this was not a popular victory (SI, Dec. 16). Adolph Rupp has made it clear often enough: "I am not engaged in a popularity contest. I want to win basketball games." He has followed this principle with public displays of tactlessness toward fellow coaches, thoughtless immodesty and the poor losing spirit that must seek an excuse for defeat. His attitude has antagonized many another coach, many a player, many a mere spectator over the years. It is to be hoped that after this particular victory- after honors to sate any man- Adolph Rupp will at last strive for that real esteem, as a man and leader of young men, for which he has hungered all along without daring to admit it to himself.