1940-41

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At a Glance
NCAA Champion--Wisconsin (20-3; coached by Bud Foster/seventh of 25 seasons with Badgers; won Big Ten title by one game with an 11-1 record).
NIT Champion--Long Island (25-2; coached by Clair Bee/10th of 18 seasons with Blackbirds).
New Rule--Fan-shaped backboards are legalized.
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--John Adams, F, Sr., Arkansas (16.4 ppg); Gus Broberg, G-F, Sr., Dartmouth (14.9 ppg, 80.3 FT%); Howard Engleman, F, Sr., Kansas (16.1 ppg); Gene Englund, C, Sr., Wisconsin (13.2 ppg); George Glamack, C, Sr., North Carolina (20.6 ppg).

Postseason conference tournaments haven't always filled big-time league coffers. According to the Official Basketball Guide, the SEC Tournament "for the first time in history was a complete financial success, paying the entire expenses of all twelve schools and leaving a substantial amount in the conference treasury. The gross gate was slightly over $15,000."

Mississippi State basketball lettermen Dave "Boo" Ferriss (All-Star with Boston Red Sox) and Homer Spragins (briefly with Philadelphia Phillies) went on to become major league pitchers later in the decade. Ferriss was the most dominant hurler in the American League in the mid-1940s until sustaining a shoulder injury.

Dartmouth's Gus Broberg became the first of five players in Ivy League history to win three consecutive scoring championships (conference was known at the time as the Eastern Intercollegiate League). Broberg played professional basketball briefly before World War II. After enlisting in the Marines as an aviator, he lost his right arm in a plane crash. Broberg went on to study law and become a respected judge in Florida.

Seton Hall's 42-game winning streak under coach Honey Russell ended when the Pirates were leveled by NIT champion Long Island, 49-26, in the semifinals. Si Lobello, the leading scorer for the Blackbirds, was killed in World War II. LIU center Henry Beenders, who came to the U.S. from Holland when he was 8, served in the Army Air Corps during WWII. . . . Army compiled its first losing record (5-11) in 22 years. . . . Rhode Island was undefeated through 16 games before bowing to Springfield, 59-50. . . . West Virginia's Roger "Shorty" Hicks hit 88 percent of his foul shots (44 of 50), which was the highest single-season free-throw accuracy for any Mountaineer player during the 20th Century.

St. Louis, winless in seven games before meeting Oklahoma A&M, stunned the defending Missouri Valley Conference champion, 32-29, in perhaps the biggest upset of the season. . . . Iowa State, coached by Louis Menze, earned a share of the Big Six Conference championship after finishing in a tie for last place the previous year. . . . Kansas State's Nichols Gymnasium was packed with legislators when students at the Wildcats' game against archrival Kansas chose to illustrate the danger of cramped seating conditions in the old building by dropping a ketchup-stained dummy from the rafters. . . . Kansas State posted its lone victory over Oklahoma (41-36) in an 18-game stretch of their series from 1936 through 1944 and Nebraska notched its lone triumph over the Sooners (43-42) in a 17-game span of their series from 1939 to 1947. . . . Washburn (Kan.) dropped out of the Missouri Valley after its seventh non-winning record in as many seasons in the league.

Butler (13-9), coached by Tony Hinkle, had more than half of its games decided by fewer than six points (9-5 mark in that category). . . . Wittenberg (Ohio) defeated Dayton for the eighth consecutive year and Mount Union (Ohio) beat the Flyers for the fourth straight campaign. . . . Toledo, finishing 18 games above .500 for the second of four consecutive seasons, had its school-record 17-game winning streak snapped at Western Michigan, 41-28. . . . Forward Frank Baumholtz became Ohio University's only All-American. Teammate Jim Snyder, who helped the Bobcats reach the NIT finals, eventually became his alma mater's all-time winningest coach in 25 seasons at their helm from 1949-50 through 1973-74. Snyder was also known at OU for catching a touchdown pass in a 6-0 upset over Illinois. . . . Creighton defeated Marquette for the 18th time in their last 25 meetings. . . . Hoyt Brawner, a three-year letterman for Denver, eventually coached his alma mater for 14 seasons from 1948-49 through 1961-62.

Stanford ended Southern California's school-record 20-game homecourt winning streak. Two-year Stanford letterman Forrest Anderson went on to coach two different schools to the Final Four (Bradley and Michigan State). . . . UCLA sustained 20 defeats for the third time in four years. . . . Washington State (26-6/coached by Jack Friel) had its winningest season in school history. . . . New Mexico lost 19 consecutive games to archrival New Mexico State until defeating the Aggies, 44-29. . . . Bruce Hale, a senior member of Santa Clara's third consecutive team to finish at least eight games above .500, went on to become the all-time winningest coach for Miami (Fla.).

Duke opened the season with a 43-39 defeat to Lincoln Memorial and had a 6-9 record after 15 games. The Blue Devils, however, won their last seven games, including two victories over Southern Conference regular-season champion North Carolina, and captured the league tournament. . . . Maryland (1-21) won its season finale to avoid going winless. . . . North Carolina State started a 15-game winning streak in its series with Clemson that extended through 1956. Meanwhile, N.C. State started a 15-game losing streak in its series with Duke that ran to 1947. . . . Florida's second-place finish in the SEC was the Gators' highest in the league until the 1966-67 campaign. . . . Tulane posted its first winning record (8-6) in 11 seasons.

1941 NCAA Tournament
Summary: Wisconsin, capitalizing on a homecourt advantage to overcome halftime deficits in the first two rounds of the tourney, captured the crown in a fairy-tale script resembling the hit movie "Hoosiers". In 1940, Wisconsin finished a dismal ninth in the Big Ten and the Badgers' overall record of 5-15 represented their worst mark since joining the Big Ten in 1906. They became the only school to finish more than two games below .500 one season and win the national championship the next year. The 20-3 Badgers, coached by Bud Foster, led Washington State by just four points at intermission (21-17) in the NCAA final despite holding the Cougars scoreless for a nine-minute span of the first half. The 21-point output by Washington State's Kirk Gebert was the highest by an individual opponent against the Badgers the entire season.
Outcome for Defending Champion: Indiana (17-3), an eight-point loser to Wisconsin, finished runner-up to the Badgers in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers' two other defeats were by a total of six points (at Southern California and Purdue).
Star Gazing: Wisconsin limited Washington State center Paul Lindeman (6-7, 230 pounds) to three points (all free throws) in the final after he averaged 20 points in the Cougars' first two games. Lindeman scored 26 of the Cougars' points in a 48-39 decision over Creighton in the opening round.
One and Only: Howard "Red" Hickey is the only individual to appear in the Final Four before playing and coaching in the NFL at least five seasons apiece. Hickey, a first-team All-Southwest Conference forward for Arkansas, was sufficiently skilled as a tackle in football to make the Razorbacks' all-decade team. Hickey, a lineman for six seasons in the NFL with two different franchises from 1941 through 1948, coached the San Francisco 49ers for five years from 1959 through 1963, compiling a 27-27-1 record.
Celebrity Status: Arkansas teammates Neal Adams and Clayton Wynne each went on to become an end for the NFL's New York Giants. . . . Longtime network broadcaster Curt Gowdy played in the tournament for Wyoming. He was scoreless in two West Regional defeats (against Arkansas in regional semifinal and Creighton in regional third-place game). One of his teammates was Bill Strannigan, the All-Mountain States Conference first-team selection who scored a team-high 16 points in a Western Regional third-place defeat against Creighton before going on to coach Colorado State (1954) and his alma mater (1967) in the NCAA playoffs. . . . Forward-center Dale Gentry, an end who played in the annual East-West Shrine Game, averaged 5.3 points per game for tourney runner-up Washington State. Following his discharge from the Navy, Gentry played three seasons with the Los Angeles Dons (1946 through 1948). He caught 74 passes for 1,001 yards and five touchdowns, earning All-Pro second-team honors his first two years. Teammate Frank Akins, who played briefly in a Western Regional final victory over Arkansas, led the NFL in rushing attempts with 147 for the Washington Redskins in 1945.
Numbers Game: The only player to score more than 30 points in a playoff game the first 11 years of the event was North Carolina's George Glamack, who supplied 31 points in a 60-59 loss to Dartmouth in the East Regional third-place game. Carolina's initial NCAA playoff contest was memorable. Glamack had a game-high nine points when the Tar Heels succumbed to Pittsburgh, 26-20, in the opening round in the lowest-scoring contest in NCAA playoff history. . . . Washington State hit a paltry 21.5 percent of its field-goal attempts (14 of 65) in the national final. . . . The SEC (regular-season champion Kentucky before Tennessee won postseason tournament) did not have a representative in the NCAA tourney. Iowa State from the Big Six lost a district play-in game against Creighton.
Putting Things in Perspective: Amazingly, Wisconsin lost its conference opener by 17 points at Minnesota when the Badgers failed to make a single field goal in the second half before going undefeated through the remainder of their league schedule and the playoffs.
NCAA Champion Defeats: Pittsburgh (2-point margin), at Marquette (10), and at Minnesota (17). Marquette finished the season with an anemic 2-13 record.
Scoring Leader: John Adams, Arkansas (48 points, 24 ppg).
Most Outstanding Player: John Kotz, F, Soph., Wisconsin (22 points in final two games).

Championship Team Results
First Round: Wisconsin 51 (Englund team-high 18 points), Dartmouth 50 (Broberg 20)
Regional Final: Wisconsin 36 (Englund 11), Pittsburgh 30 (Straloski 12)
Championship Game: Wisconsin 39 (Englund 13), Washington State 34 (Gebert 21)