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At a Glance
NCAA Champion--Oregon (29-5; coached by Howard Hobson/fourth of 11 seasons with Ducks; won PCC North Division by three games with a 14-2 record).
NIT Champion--Long Island (23-0; coached by Clair Bee/eighth of 18 seasons with Blackbirds).
New Rules--Ball thrown in from out of bounds at midcourt by the team shooting a free throw following a technical foul. Previously, the ball was put into play with a center jump following a technical. . . . The circumference of the ball is established as 30 inches.
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--Ernie Andres, G, Sr., Indiana (8.4 ppg); Jimmy Hull, F, Sr., Ohio State (15.6 ppg); Chester "Chet" Jaworski, G, Sr., Rhode Island (22.6 ppg); Irving Torgoff, F, Sr., Long Island (9.5 ppg); Urgel "Slim" Wintermute, C, Sr., Oregon (10 ppg).
It hasn't always been a pleasant spotlight near or at the top of the national polls for marquee schools Duke, North Carolina and UCLA.
Duke incurred its only losing record (10-12) in a 45-year span from 1927-28 through 1971-72. Meanwhile, rival North Carolina sustained its only losing mark (10-11) in a 30-year stretch from 1920-21 through 1949-50. UCLA, the most successful school in NCAA Tournament history, was a playoff pretender instead of contender the first year of the national tourney. The Bruins won a non-league game by 57 points (76-19 over LaVerne), but they finished winless in the Pacific Coast Conference's Southern Division for the second straight season. Their senior captain and leading scorer was Bob "Ace" Calkins. During World War II as a navigator on a Flying Fortress, Calkins' plane was shot down and he later died in an Italian prison camp from wounds sustained in the air attack.
Texas toppled Manhattan, 54-32, at Madison Square Garden in front of 18,000 fans, the largest crowd to see a basketball game up to that point. It was the worst defeat dealt to a New York school in the Garden to that time. . . . Intercollegiate doubleheaders, with Loyola and DePaul serving as hosts, made their debut in Chicago with five twinbills at the 132nd Infantry Armory on West Madison Street (capacity 6,000). . . . Loyola's coach was Lenny Sachs, who caught two touchdown passes as an end in the NFL in the early 1920s. . . . Notre Dame captain Earl Brown, a three-year starting guard, later became coach of Dartmouth's NCAA Tournament runner-up in 1944. . . . Detroit All-American forward-center Bob Calihan went on to become the all-time winningest coach for his alma mater.
Clemson, after recovering from a 2-5 start in regular-season league competition, won the Southern Conference Tournament championship although the Tigers never led at halftime in any of their four tourney games. It was Clemson's only league tourney title in the 20th Century. Tigers athletic director Jess Neely, who also happened to be the school's football coach, rejected an invitation to the NIT because several of his key players were members of the football squad that was slated for spring practice. The extra workouts on the gridiron might have been the difference in helping Clemson earn an invitation to the Cotton Bowl that year. Star halfback Banks McFadden, the school's only basketball All-American until center Tree Rollins in 1977, went on to coach his alma mater's basketball program for 10 seasons from 1946-47 through 1955-56.
Dartmouth guard Bob MacLeod was an All-Ivy League first-team basketball selection after finishing fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting as a halfback for the school's football squad. . . . Sophomore Tom Harmon led Michigan in scoring in five basketball contests. As a senior, Harmon won the Heisman Trophy as a halfback for the Wolverines' football squad.
LIU (23-0) went unbeaten for the second time in four years. The Blackbirds were 25-0 in 1935-36. . . . The seven-year-old Eastern Intercollegiate Conference agreed to disband at the end of the season. The AP described the league as "one of the best in the nation." Geographical problems had made scheduling difficult for the six members--Carnegie Tech, Georgetown, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Temple and West Virginia. Penn State was the only member never to win outright or share a league regular-season title.
Panzer College of East Orange, N.J., compiled a 20-1 record, losing only to unbeaten LIU (41-35) early in the season. NIT champion LIU played only one game outside New York (vs. La Salle in Philadelphia). . . . Penn State's Max Corbin hit a shot from three-quarters length of the floor against West Virginia to send their game into overtime. Penn State wound up winning, 46-43, in triple overtime. . . . Defending NIT champion Temple compiled a 10-12 record for coach James Usilton's second losing season in 13 years. Just three days after the end of the campaign, he died of a heart ailment. Usilton won 68.1% of his games with the Owls decided by fewer than five points (49-23 in those close contests). . . . Rhode Island's school-record 22-game winning streak under coach Frank Keaney ended with a 62-50 defeat against Tufts. . . . Brown had a school-record 11-game winning streak in George Allen's first season as head coach en route to its highest winning percentage in history (16-4, .800). . . . Connecticut lost 16 consecutive games to Rhode Island in their series until the Huskies prevailed, 68-67. . . . Lehigh (10-5), coached by Paul Calvert, managed a double-digit victory total for the only season in a 24-year span from 1928-29 through 1951-52. . . . George Washington All-American Bob Faris eventually served as his alma mater's athletic director for 27 years until his retirement in 1982.
Stanford's school-record 17-game winning streak was snapped by Dartmouth, 48-47, in the fourth contest of the season. Everett Dean was in his first season as coach of Stanford, which won 55 of its previous 60 games since the end of the 1935-36 campaign. . . . Riley Matheson, an All-Border Conference first-team guard in basketball, went on to become an NFL All-Pro guard-linebacker five straight years from 1941 through 1945 with the Cleveland Rams and Detroit Lions. . . . Emphasis on foreigners isn't a recent phenomenon. Francisco "Kiko" Martinez, a member of the 1936 bronze-medal winning Mexican Olympic team, was the leading scorer for New Mexico A&M (now New Mexico State), which finished with a 20-4 record after losing to NIT champion-to-be LIU in the opening round. . . . Junior college transfer Jesse "Cab" Renick, who was inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame in 1973 (1/4 Chickasaw and 1/4 Choctaw), played guard, center and forward for Missouri Valley co-champion Oklahoma A&M. He was named to the first five on the all-conference team and finished third in the league in scoring. Renick also lettered for the Aggies' football squad. In 1948, while playing for the Phillips 66 Oilers, he was a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic basketball team. . . . Baylor posted its lone victory over Oklahoma A&M (30-28) in a 19-game stretch of their series from 1923 through 1956. . . . Colorado supplied four of the five-man All-Mountain States Conference first-team selections.
Virginia Tech edged North Carolina, 36-35, for the Hokies' lone victory in a 30-game stretch of their series from 1931 through 1949. . . . Alabama, coached by Hank Crisp, finished atop the SEC standings just one year after placing 12th in the 13-team league. . . . Tennessee started a 17-game winning streak in its series with Mississippi State that extended through 1949.
Indiana All-American guard Ernie Andres went on to play briefly with the Boston Red Sox as a third baseman in 1946. . . . Northwestern compiled its first losing record (7-13) in 12 seasons under coach Dutch Lonborg. . . . Erwin Prasse was a starting guard for Iowa after being MVP of the school's football squad as an All-Big Ten Conference first-team end. . . . Chuck Orsborn, finishing his career at Bradley with a 6.3-point scoring average, went on to coach his alma mater to four NIT finals in an eight-year span from 1957 through 1964, including three championships. . . . Grinnell (Iowa) tied for third place in the Missouri Valley in its final season as a member of the conference. . . . On the same day (March 11, 1939), Idaho State defeated the University of Mexico City, 32-23, in Pocatello, then lost, 32-30, to the Murtaugh Savages in Rupert, Idaho.
1939 NCAA Tournament
Summary: Four native Oregonians and one Washingtonian comprised the starting lineup for Oregon coach Howard Hobson. Guards Bobby Anet and Wally Johansen had been teammates since their grade school days in Astoria. Different brands of play and refereeing dominated an era when college basketball was basically a regional game. Intersectional contests were rare, although Oregon scheduled games in eight Eastern and Midwest cities (New York, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Peoria, Ill., and Des Moines). Oregon's rigorous slate might have made the Ducks more prepared for the inaugural NCAA Tournament. Another factor was Oregon's height. The Ducks, nicknamed "The Tall Firs" by a sportswriter because they had a 6-8 center and a pair of 6-4 1/2 forwards, boasted more size than most teams. Anet crashed into the scorer's table during the championship game, breaking the inaugural trophy. Anet, Johansen and starting center Slim Wintermute all died in their 40s. Wintermute disappeared in Lake Washington in 1977, a case that was never solved.
One and Only: Oregon is the only NCAA champion never to have a player on its roster play in the NBA or the league's predecessor.
Celebrity Status: John Dick is the only leading scorer in an NCAA Tournament final (15 points as a junior forward for champion Oregon against Ohio State) to subsequently serve as an admiral in the U.S. Navy. Dick commanded the aircraft carrier Saratoga for two years and served as chief of staff for all carrier forces in the Western Pacific. The Ducks returned from Northwestern on a new streamliner that traveled non-stop from Chicago to Portland. But the people of The Dalles, Dick's hometown, wanted the train to stop there so they could welcome home their favorite son. "Somebody was able to reach the president of the railroad," Dick said. "They said if they didn't stop the train, they'd barricade the tracks. He said, `All right, we'll give you 10 minutes." . . . Dr. Denton Cooley, a world famous heart surgeon who has performed about 20,000 open-heart operations, saw action in both of Texas' games in the inaugural tournament after the Longhorns captured the Southwest Conference championship. . . . Dick Baker, managing partner and CEO of major accounting firm Ernst and Ernst from 1964 to 1976, was runner-up Ohio State's second-leading scorer. Baker, who scored a game-high 25 points for the Buckeyes in their tourney opener (64-52 victory over Wake Forest), became a member of the Accounting Hall of Fame and served on the boards of directors of such major firms as General Electric, Anheuser-Busch and Hershey Foods.
Numbers Game: The first NCAA Tournament game was on March 17 when Villanova defeated Brown, 42-30, in Philadelphia. . . . Only two players scored at least 20 points in the eight tourney games. Ohio State's Jimmy Hull managed a single-game high of 28 points in a 53-36 victory over Villanova in the Eastern Regional final. . . . Ohio State reached the NCAA championship game despite losing five of its first 10 outings. . . . Oklahoma trailed Oregon by only three points early in the second half of the national semifinals before the Ducks pulled away to win, 55-37. . . . The EIBL (regular-season champion Dartmouth) and SEC (Alabama before Kentucky won postseason tournament) did not have representatives in the NCAA tourney. Oklahoma A&M from the Missouri Valley lost a district play-in game against Oklahoma.
Putting Things in Perspective: Oregon State, which compiled a 6-10 record in the PCC, defeated Oregon, 50-31. Oregon State was coming off a victory over Washington that snapped the Beavers' 13-game North Division losing streak.
Other NCAA Champion Defeats: At CCNY (2-point margin), at Bradley (13), at Stanford (4), and Washington State (5).
Scoring Leader: Jimmy Hull, Ohio State (58 points, 19.3 ppg).
Most Outstanding Player: Jimmy Hull, F, Sr., Ohio State (40 points in final two games).
Championship Team Results
First Round: Oregon 56 (Wintermute team-high 14 points), Texas 41 (Tate 7)
Regional Final: Oregon 55 (Dick 14), Oklahoma 37 (McNatt 12)
Championship Game: Oregon 46 (Dick 13), Ohio State 33 (Hull 12)