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At a Glance
NCAA Champion--Wyoming (31-2; coached by Everett Shelton/fourth of 19 seasons with Cowboys; won Big Seven Conference by three games with an 11-1 record).
NIT Champion--St. John's (21-3; coached by Joe Lapchick/seventh of 20 seasons with Redmen).
New Conference--Metropolitan New York (disbanded after 1962-63 season).
New Rule--Any player eligible to start an overtime period is allowed an extra personal foul, increasing the total for disqualification to five fouls.
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--Ed Beisser, C, Sr., Creighton (10.9 ppg); Charles Black, F, Soph., Kansas (11.4 ppg); Harry Boykoff, C, Soph., St. John's (16.6 ppg); Bill Closs, C-F, Sr., Rice (17 ppg); Andy Phillip, F, Jr., Illinois (16.9 ppg); George Senesky, F, Sr., St. Joseph's (23.4 ppg).
Illinois, undefeated in Big Ten competition (12-0) after having four sophomore starters on a league championship squad dubbed "The Whiz Kids" the previous season, placed four players on the first five of the all-conference team--forward Andy Phillip, center Art Mathisen and guards Gene Vance and Jack Smiley. The fifth Illini starter was named to the second five--forward Ken Menke. Phillip was the first player to average more than 20 points per game for a full season in Big Ten play (21.3). All but Mathisen went on to play professionally
This is the only year when the Big Ten wasn't represented in the NCAA Tournament. lllinois, the only Big Ten team to go undefeated in league play in a 30-year span from 1930-31 through 1959-60, didn't participate in a postseason tournament although it ranked first in the final Dunkel Ratings. The school's athletic director declined a bid because he thought it would be unfair to his players to keep them away from their classes for three weeks. The Illini's lone loss was to Camp Grant at Rockford, Ill., where coach Doug Mills played a mostly substitute lineup. Something more pressing dismantled the team at the end of the school year when all five starters headed to active duty in the armed forces. Before entering the service, however, Phillip led the Illini's baseball squad in innings pitched with 64. Mills won two-thirds of his games decided by fewer than four points in his 11 seasons as coach through 1946-47 (26-13 mark in that category).
Purdue's streak of winning seasons stopped at 23 when the Boilermakers lost six of seven games in a mid-season stretch to finish with a 9-11 record. . . . Iowa sandwiched a ninth-place finish in the Big Ten between ties for second in 1941-42 and 1943-44. . . . St. Louis (11-10), coached by Bob Klenck, ended a string of seven straight losing seasons and began a streak of 19 consecutive winning records. . . . Notre Dame coach George Keogan died of a heart attack on February 17, 1943. In 24 seasons as a college coach (20 with the Irish), he never compiled a losing record and won 13 straight one-point games from 1924-25 to midway through 1933-34. Keogan passed away before ever appearing in the NIT or NCAA Tournament. Notre Dame (18-2) was still bound by the school's ban on postseason competition. . . . Kentucky lost seven consecutive games to Notre Dame until defeating the Irish, 60-55. Notre Dame's only other defeat this season was in its first game after Keogan's death when the Irish bowed to a Great Lakes Naval team coached by Butler's Tony Hinkle.
Center Ed Beisser, forward Ralph Langer and guard Dick Nolan finished their three-year varsity careers at Creighton with two Missouri Valley Conference undisputed championships and one co-championship. The No. 1 seed Bluejays were undefeated entering postseason competition but were nipped by Washington & Jefferson, 43-42, in the first round of the NIT at Madison Square Garden. They didn't post a losing Missouri Valley Conference record in their first 15 seasons as a member of the league. . . . Toledo's undefeated homecourt streak reached 40 games before it was snapped by DePaul, 49-40. . . . Valparaiso, compiling a 17-4 record, claimed to possess the tallest team in the country with a starting lineup averaging 6-6. . . . Western Michigan All-American forward Harold Gensichen had played in high school at South Bend, Ind., under John Wooden, who would become a college coaching legend over the next three decades.
St. Joseph's George Senesky (23.4 ppg) became the only non-Rhode Island State player to lead the nation in scoring in a seven-year span from 1937-38 through 1943-44. Senesky went on to coach the Philadelphia Warriors to the 1956 NBA title. . . . Manhattan, boasting eight freshmen among its first 10 players, registered an 18-3 record, including a 42-38 victory over eventual NIT champion St. John's. . . . Syracuse's streak of 18 consecutive winning records under coach Lew Andreas ended when the Orangemen compiled an 8-10 mark. . . . Bud Palmer, who led the Ivy League in scoring in conference competition (14.2 ppg), later became a longtime network sports announcer for ABC. . . . Penn State co-captain John Egli, an NCAA East Regional all-tournament team selection the previous year, eventually became his alma mater's all-time winningest coach in 14 seasons from 1954-55 through 1967-68. He received the Purple Heart after being wounded at Bastogne on Christmas Day, 1944, and hospitalized in England for six months. . . . Andrew "Fuzzy" Levane, the third-leading scorer for St. John's NIT champion, went on to coach the NBA's New York Knicks in 1958-59 and 1959-60. Teammate Lou Rossini eventually coached Columbia and NYU in the NCAA playoffs. . . . Al Negratti, a member of three Seton Hall teams that combined for a 51-7 record, later coached Portland for 12 seasons from 1955-56 through 1966-67, including an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1959. . . . Fred Lewis, LIU's leading scorer under coach Clair Bee, coached Syracuse to an East Regional runner-up finish in the 1966 NCAA playoffs.
Rudy Baric, MVP of the NIT the previous year when he led West Virginia to the title, guided his alma mater to a 14-7 record in his only season as the Mountaineers' coach. . . . Davidson defeated North Carolina, 57-41, for the Wildcats' lone victory in a 19-game stretch of their series from 1939 through 1948. . . . Western Kentucky, coached by Ed Diddle, became the first school to compile 10 consecutive 20-win seasons. . . . Center Don Barksdale's 18-point effort helped UCLA end USC's 42-game winning streak in their intracity rivalry, 42-37. UCLA finished with a 14-7 overall mark for its first winning record in 12 years. . . . West Texas A&M went undefeated in Border Conference competition for the second consecutive campaign.
1943 NCAA Tournament
Summary: Virtually every university anticipated having players enter the military in the aftermath of the tourney. Wyoming (31-2/coached by Everett Shelton) had its winningest season in school history despite playing just nine home games during the year. After losing at Duquesne in the fourth contest of the campaign, the Cowboys did not lose to another college team the remainder of the year. Their only other setback was to the Denver Legion squad. Wyoming, the first major-college team to win 30 games in a season, would have become the only champion to trail at halftime in every tournament outing if the Cowboys didn't score the last three baskets of the first half in the national final to lead Georgetown at intermission (18-16). Wyoming tallied the game's last nine points as the Hoyas couldn't hold a five-point edge with six minutes remaining.
Outcome for Defending Champion: Stanford (10-11 overall; 4-4 in conference competition) became one of only two defending champions to compile a losing record. Stanford's first three defeats were against military base opponents. Only two teams in the nine-member PCC posted a worse league mark.
Star Gazing: Wyoming's Kenny Sailors became the fourth consecutive Most Outstanding Player not to be his team's leading scorer for the season. The jump shot that Sailors is credited with inventing is commonplace in today's game, but was unheard of in his day. "If your feet left the floor," Sailors said, "you were a freak."
Biggest Upset: Wyoming went to New York and defeated homestanding St. John's in overtime, 52-47, in a benefit game for the American Red Cross between the NCAA and NIT champions. Center Milo Komenich scored a game-high 20 points for Wyoming, which recovered after blowing an eight-point lead in the last two minutes of regulation.
One and Only: Wyoming's Shelton later became the only coach to guide teams to the championship game in both the Division I and Division II Tournaments. Shelton directed Sacramento State to a second-place finish in the 1962 Division II Tournament.
Celebrity Status: Sam Mele is the only individual to lead the American League in doubles as a player and manage an A.L. team to a pennant (Minnesota Twins in 1965) after leading a school in scoring in an NCAA Tournament (total of 18 points for NYU in two losses). . . . Henry Hyde, a 12-term Republican Congressman from Illinois and eventual chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was a freshman forward-center for Georgetown. The 6-3 Hyde scored two points in a 53-49 victory over a Chicago hometown team, DePaul, and fellow freshman George Mikan in the Eastern Regional final (playoff semifinals) before going scoreless in the title game loss to Wyoming. "I can only say about the way I guarded him (Mikan scored one point in the second half) that I will burn in purgatory," Hyde deadpanned. "The rules were considerably bent."
Numbers Game: The only team to fail to have at least one player score in double figures in the championship game was Georgetown, a 46-34 loser against Wyoming. . . . DePaul's Ray Meyer became the first individual to reach the national semifinals in his initial season as a head coach. . . . Texas' John Hargis had a tourney-high 30 points in a 59-55 opening-game victory over Washington. . . . Dartmouth missed its first 34 shots in a 46-35 defeat against DePaul. . . . The Big Ten (regular-season champion Illinois), Missouri Valley (Creighton), SEC (Kentucky before Tennessee won postseason tournament) and Southern Conference (Duke before George Washington won postseason tournament) did not have representatives in the NCAA tourney.
What Might Have Been: Texas, rather than Wyoming, might have advanced to the national championship game if Longhorns guard Curtis Popham hadn't been summoned by the Army Air Force in mid-season.
NCAA Champion Defeats: At Duquesne (10-point margin) and at Denver Legion (8). . . . The highest single-game scoring output by an individual against Wyoming was 29 points by Texas' Hargis in the national semifinals.
Scoring Leader: John Hargis, Texas (59 points, 29.5 ppg).
Most Outstanding Player: Kenny Sailors, F, Jr., Wyoming (28 points in final two games).
Championship Team Results
First Round: Wyoming 53 (Komenich team-high 22 points), Oklahoma 50 (Reich 17)
Regional Final: Wyoming 58 (Komenich 17), Texas 54 (Hargis 29)
Championship Game: Wyoming 46 (Sailors 16), Georgetown 34 (Feeney 8)