1946-47

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At a Glance
NCAA Champion--Holy Cross (27-3; coached by Doggie Julian/second of three seasons with Crusaders).
NIT Champion--Utah (19-5; coached by Vadal Peterson/20th of 26 seasons with Utes; finished in second place with a 12-2 record behind Wyoming in the Big Seven Conference).
New Conference--Mid-American.
New Rule--Transparent backboards are authorized.
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--Ralph Beard, G, Soph., Kentucky (10.6 ppg); Alex Groza, C, Soph., Kentucky (10.6 ppg); Ralph Hamilton, F, Sr., Indiana (13.4 ppg); Sid Tanenbaum, G, Sr., NYU (13.2 ppg); Gerry Tucker, C, Sr., Oklahoma (10.5 ppg).

Which enterprise was deemed Bob Davies' second job when he pulled off one of the most amazing feats in college basketball history? Davies coached Seton Hall, his alma mater, to a 24-3 record the same season he also earned National Basketball League Most Valuable Player honors (averaged 14.3 points in 43 regular-season and playoff games with the Rochester Royals). The "Blonde Bomber" is credited with inventing the behind-the-back dribble. He was 26 years old at the start of his only season as coach of the Pirates.

Kentucky standout center Alex Groza saw limited action in the SEC Tournament because of a back injury, but the Wildcats cruised to victories over Vanderbilt (98-29), Auburn (84-18), Georgia Tech (75-53) and Tulane (55-38). The all-tourney team (considered the All-SEC team that season) included five Wildcats on the first five--forwards Jack Tingle and Joe Holland, center Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones and guards Ken Rollins and Ralph Beard. Sophomores Beard and Groza are the only set of underclassmen teammates named NCAA consensus first-team All-Americans in the same year since the start of the NCAA Tournament. Tingle, a four-time All-SEC selection, died in 1958 at the age of 33 because of cancer. UK, without Converse All-American guard Jack Parkinson (serving in the U.S. Air Force), almost repeated as NIT champion but bowed in the final to Utah, 49-45.

Wisconsin, after finishing in ninth place the previous season, won three league games by one point en route to its last Big Ten Conference championship of the 20th Century. Defending Big Ten champion Ohio State fell to a tie for sixth place. Wisconsin, involved in a bizarre late-season game to determine the title, was locked in a battle with Purdue atop the standings when the Bud Foster-coached Badgers visited Lafayette, Ind., on February 24. At halftime, newly-installed wooden bleachers at Lambert Fieldhouse's east grandstand collapsed under the overflow crowd of more than 11,000, crushing three student spectators and injuring hundreds of other patrons. The second half of the ill-fated contest was suspended for more than two weeks until it was completed at a neutral site (Evanston, Ill., High School), where Wisconsin outscored Purdue, 39-26, to claim a belated 72-60 triumph.

Oklahoma center Gerry Tucker became an NCAA consensus first-team All-American after having his career interrupted for three years while serving in the U.S. Army. He later coached the 1956 U.S. Olympic team.

Texas, the "Mighty Mice" team featuring three starters 5-10 or shorter, compiled a 26-2 record with both of its defeats coming by one point (40-39 to defending NCAA champion Oklahoma A&M and 55-54 to Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament Western Regional finals). The Longhorns were coached by Jack Gray, who was hired in the 1936-37 season when he was only 25. In an era of slow, deliberate play, Gray's squads were known for their innovative running, pressing style and were one of the first to don white sneakers.

UCLA senior Don Barksdale, a second-team selection, was the first African-American player named to an NCAA consensus All-American squad. After a three-year stint in the U.S. Army, he led the Pacific Coast Conference Southern Division in scoring. . . . The top major-college single-game output of the season was a 54-point effort by St. John's Harry Boykoff against St. Francis (N.Y.). "(Coach) Joe Lapchick deserves credit for making a player out of me," said the 6-9 Boykoff, who scored a total of one point in his first 20 high school games. "When I came to St. John's, I soon found out that I didn't know much. There were other tall guys around. Lapchick showed me how to roll on a pivot play. He taught me how to move around, how to draw out my guard." . . . Connecticut's Walt Dropo, who would become American League Rookie of the Year in 1950 as a first baseman, was the only non-Rhode Island player to lead the Yankee Conference in scoring in the league's first 13 years of competition through 1951. . . . Princeton captain Butch van Breda Kolff eventually coached his alma mater to four NCAA Tournament appearances in a five-year span from 1963 through 1967, including the 1965 Final Four. . . . NYU All-American guard Sid Tanenbaum, who had rheumatic fever when he was a youngster, became famous for his two-handed set shot. . . . Boston College's Elmore "Al" Morganthaler (7-1) set a Boston Garden scoring record with 37 points against Fordham. Unfortunately for the Eagles, he was declared academically ineligible after 15 games and left school to return to his home state of Texas.

Bowling Green (28-7/coached by Harold Anderson), Holy Cross (27-3/Doggie Julian) and Montana State (25-11/Brick Breeden) had their winningest seasons in school major-college history. . . . LIU lost its NIT opener to Kentucky, but the Blackbirds placed more players in the original NBA than any school by supplying eight alums in the league's inaugural season. One of them, New York Knicks captain Ossie Schectman, was credited with scoring the first basket in NBA history against the Toronto Huskies.

Cincinnati, winning more than 10 games for the first time in eight years, compiled a 17-9 record in John Wiethe's first season as coach of the Bearcats. Wiethe, nicknamed "Socko," was a two-time first-team All-Pro guard for the NFL's Detroit Lions (1939 and 1940). . . . Illinois' famed "Whiz Kids," who won Big Ten titles in 1942 and 1943, returned after missing three seasons while in military service and tied Indiana for second place. Whiz Kids Jack Smiley, Gene Vance, Andy Phillip and Ken Menke were joined in the Illini starting lineup by Fred Green. . . . Branch McCracken also returned to coach Indiana after taking a three-year leave of absence serving in World War II. . . . Notre Dame defeated Indiana in their first meeting in 15 years. Two one-point verdicts prevented 11 consecutive IU victories from 1948 through 1956 although the Irish had only one losing season in that span. . . . Forward Robin Roberts finished among Michigan State's top three scorers for the third consecutive year. Roberts became a Hall of Fame pitcher with the Philadelphia Phillies after becoming a 20-game winner six consecutive seasons from 1950 through 1955, leading the National League in victories the last four years in that span. . . . Miami (Ohio) notched its most lopsided victory in history by overwhelming Wright State, 89-32. . . . Creighton compiled a 17-8 mark in Eddie Hickey's final season as the Bluejays' coach before they suffered nine consecutive non-winning records.

NIT-bound Duquesne won its first 20 games before bowing at Georgetown. Duquesne's 21-2 record included a 2-0 forfeit victory over Tennessee when coach John Mauer, Adolph Rupp's predecessor at Kentucky, pulled the Volunteers off the floor at McKeesport High School in Pittsburgh when the Dukes insisted on playing black center Chuck Cooper. Three years later, Cooper became the first black selected in the NBA draft.

North Carolina State (26-5), in Everett Case's first season as a college coach, posted the best record in the 16-team Southern Conference (11-2) just one year after finishing in a tie for ninth place. The Wolfpack squad was comprised of nine freshmen and a sophomore. N.C. State's game against visiting North Carolina was cancelled by fire marshals because of overcrowding. . . . Western Kentucky won its first meeting with Miami (Fla.), starting an 11-game winning streak against the Hurricanes. . . . Georgia Tech guard Frank Broyles, SEC football Player of the Year in 1944 as a quarterback, was named to the second five on the SEC All-Tournament basketball team for the third time in four seasons. He went on to notch a 149-62-6 record in 20 seasons as head football coach at Missouri (1957) and Arkansas (1958 through 1976). Broyles guided 10 teams to bowl games, winning the AP and UPI national title in 1964. . . . Richmond guard Louis Miller, who averaged 10.5 points per game, went on to coach VMI for six seasons from 1958-59 through 1963-64, including an appearance in the NCAA playoffs in his final year at the Keydets' helm.

Washington's Hec Edmundson ended his 29-year coaching career with a 508-204 record. At the time, he ranked second to Kansas' Phog Allen for most victories in NCAA history. In an 18-year span from 1927-28 through 1944-45, Edmundson notched 20-win seasons 11 times. . . . Oregon State forward Red Rocha, a three-time All-PCC North Division first-team selection, went on to become head coach at Hawaii for 10 seasons from 1963-64 through 1972-73. He directed the Rainbows to the 1972 NCAA playoffs.

Kansas posted a 16-11 mark, but Howard Engleman concluded the campaign as coach after Allen was ordered to take a rest because he had difficulty shaking the flu in mid-season when the Jayhawks were in the midst of a five-game losing streak. . . . Kansas' 22-game winning streak in its series with Kansas State ended with a 48-45 setback against the Wildcats. . . . Kansas State started a streak of 18 consecutive winning seasons by compiling a 14-10 record in the initial campaign of Jack Gardner's second go-around as the Wildcats' coach. Meanwhile, Maryland registered the same 14-10 mark for its only winning season in a 10-year span from 1940-41 through 1949-50. . . . Drake notched its lone victory over Oklahoma A&M (42-34) in a 24-game stretch of their series from 1939 to 1958. . . . Warren Woodson, the football coach for Hardin-Simmons in its 20-0 victory over Denver in the Alamo Bowl, also was the school's head basketball coach.

1947 NCAA Tournament
Summary: Fifty years earlier, Penn visited Yale on March 20, 1897, to play the first intercollegiate game between five-man teams. This year, New England again made news as Holy Cross became the only team from that region to win an NCAA championship until Connecticut in 1999. Holy Cross, an all-male college at the time entering the tourney with 20 consecutive victories, fell behind early in all three playoff contests (against Navy, CCNY and Oklahoma) before rallying to win the title. Holy Cross, which ran a two-platoon system most of the season, erased an 11-point deficit against CCNY. It was an incredible turnaround for the Crusaders, who compiled a meager 4-9 record two years earlier and had no gymnasium at their Worcester, Mass., campus.
Outcome for Defending Champion: Oklahoma A&M (24-8 record; 8-4 in Missouri Valley) finished in a tie for second place in the MVC with Drake three games behind St. Louis. The Aggies' only double-digit defeat was to visiting St. Louis, 38-20.
Star Gazing: The lowest team-leading scoring average for an individual in the season he was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player was compiled by George Kaftan, a forward-center with an 11.1-point average for Holy Cross' NCAA champion after becoming the first player to score 30 points in a Final Four game (tourney-high 30 in a 60-45 victory over CCNY in East Regional final before tossing in a team-high 18 in a 58-47 triumph over Oklahoma in the national final). Go-to guy Kaftan broke up the tension during coach Alvin "Doggie" Julian's halftime speech against CCNY by rolling a garbage can across the room. . . . Wisconsin guard Glen Selbo, the Big Ten Conference's MVP, played for Michigan the previous season.
One and Only: Julian is the only coach of a championship team to subsequently coach another university and compile a winning NCAA playoff record at his last major college job. He captured a national title in the middle of his three seasons as coach at Holy Cross before compiling a 4-3 playoff record in three tournament appearances with Dartmouth from 1956-59. Julian was an easy-going man who liked to rub his players' foreheads for luck before sending them onto the court. . . . Kaftan, a native of New York, is the only Most Outstanding Player to cross state lines to attend college before scoring more than 25 points against a school from his home state en route to or at the Final Four.
Celebrity Status: Freshman forward Tom Hamilton, who averaged 3.3 ppg for Texas' Final Four team that set a school record for most victories in a season with 26, was a star first baseman for the Longhorns' 1949 baseball squad that won the first of the school's four College World Series titles. Hamilton hit .474 that season to lead the Southwest Conference. The 6-4 first baseman played briefly for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1952 and 1953 under manager Jimmy Dykes with star outfielders Dave Philley and Gus Zernial. . . . Oregon State's Don Samuel, who played against eventual runner-up Oklahoma, was a second-round draft choice by the Los Angeles Rams as a back.
Numbers Game: Six of Holy Cross' top eight scorers went on to become college head coaches. . . . Seldom-used Ken Pryor's only basket in the tourney, a long jumper in the closing seconds, gave Oklahoma a 55-54 victory over Texas in the national semifinals. The Longhorns' sluggish play was blamed on a 17-day layoff between the end of SWC competition and the start of the NCAA playoffs. . . . Wisconsin made its last NCAA playoff appearance until 1994. . . . Navy's Ben Carnevale became the first coach to guide two different schools to the NCAA playoffs in back-to-back seasons. He directed North Carolina to the 1946 championship game. . . . The EIBL (regular-season champion Columbia), SEC (Kentucky) and Southern Conference (North Carolina State) did not have representatives in the tourney. St. Louis from the Missouri Valley lost a district play-in game against Oklahoma.
Putting Things in Perspective: Holy Cross suffered its three defeats in successive early-season games to North Carolina State (16-point margin), Duquesne (10) and Wyoming (1).
Scoring Leader: George Kaftan, Holy Cross (63 points, 21 ppg).
Most Outstanding Player: George Kaftan, F-C, Soph., Holy Cross (48 points in final two games).

Championship Team Results
First Round: Holy Cross 55 (Mullaney team-high 18 points), Navy 47 (Waldrop 15)
Regional Final: Holy Cross 60 (Kaftan 30), CCNY 45 (Dambrot 14)
Championship Game: Holy Cross 58 (Kaftan 18), Oklahoma 47 (Tucker 22)