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At a Glance
NCAA Champion--Kentucky (36-3; coached by Adolph Rupp/18th of 41 seasons with Wildcats; compiled 9-0 record in SEC to finish with a better winning percentage than Tulane, which was 13-1).
NIT Champion--St. Louis (24-3; coached by Eddie Hickey/first of 11 seasons with Billikens; finished in second place in Missouri Valley two games behind Oklahoma A&M).
New Rule--Clock stopped on every dead ball the last three minutes of the second half and of every overtime period. This includes every time a basket is scored because the ball is considered dead until put into play again (rule was abolished in 1951).
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--Ralph Beard, G, Jr., Kentucky (12.5 ppg); Ed Macauley, C-F, Jr., St. Louis (13.6 ppg); Jim McIntyre, C, Jr., Minnesota (18.9 ppg); Kevin O'Shea, G, Soph., Notre Dame (11.5 ppg); Murray Wier, G, Sr., Iowa (21 ppg).
North Carolina State, runner-up to Rhode Island State in team offense with 75.3 points per game, became the first school other than the Rhodies ever to average more than 75. The Wolfpack, undefeated in Southern Conference competition (12-0), finished the season with a 29-3 mark when its leading scorer, sophomore Dick Dickey, was sidelined with the mumps in an NIT opening-round defeat to DePaul. Dickey is the only N.C. State player to earn all-conference honors four times.
Virginia defeated Duke, 49-39, for the Cavaliers' lone victory over the Blue Devils in a 23-game stretch of their series from 1929-30 through 1955-56. Duke swept Wake Forest to give the Blue Devils 40 triumphs in their last 42 meetings. . . . Alabama two-year letterman Hayden Riley went on to coach his alma mater for eight seasons in the 1960s. . . . Auburn letterman Erk Russell subsequently coached Georgia Southern's three NCAA Division I-AA football champions (1985, 1986 and 1989), compiling a remarkable 83-22-1 record (.788) with the Eagles during that decade. His final GSU team gained distinction as the only 15-0 college football squad of the 20th Century.
Michigan, coached by Ozzie Cowles, compiled a 10-2 Big Nine mark for its first winning league record in 11 years and first conference title in 19 seasons. Wolverines leading scorer Bob Harrison went on to coach Harvard for five seasons from 1968-69 through 1972-73. . . . Iowa's Murray Wier is acknowledged as the shortest player (5-9) to lead the nation in scoring (21 points per game) although Norm Hankins of Lawrence Tech in Detroit was designated as the major-college scoring leader (22.5 ppg). Wier was the only senior among the consensus NCAA first-team All-American selections. Ten of the 14 consensus NCAA first- and second-team choices were undergraduates. . . . Purdue posted its lone victory over Ohio State (69-64) in a 13-game stretch of their series from 1945 through 1954. . . . Ohio's Dick Shrider, who finished 20th in the nation in scoring (16.4 ppg), eventually coached another school in the Mid-American Conference. He appeared in the NCAA playoffs in his first and last of nine seasons with Miami (Ohio) from 1957-58 through 1965-66. . . . Drake had three brothers on its squad (Gene, Art and Gus Ollrich).
Jim Lacy of Loyola (Md.) finished 12th in the nation in scoring with 17.5 points per game but had the nation's single-game high of 44 points against Western Maryland. . . . St. Bonaventure's Sam Urzetta (92.2 percent) became the only player to convert more than 90 percent of his free throws in a single season until 1962. . . . Notre Dame (17-7), coached by Moose Krause, defeated two teams ranked No. 1 in the country in the final month of the regular season--NCAA champion-to-be Kentucky and NIT runner-up NYU. But Notre Dame's school-record homecourt winning streak was snapped at 38 by eventual NIT kingpin St. Louis. NYU's single-season school-record 19-game winning streak came to an end when it sustained its first loss of the year to the Irish at Madison Square Garden. . . . NYU All-American guard Don Forman was out with a back injury when the Violets bowed to SLU in the NIT final. . . . Duquesne's Chick Davies ended a 21-year coaching career with a 314-106 record. . . . Syracuse lost all eight of its games decided by fewer than six points. . . . Joe Paterno, runner-up in scoring for Brown with 7.3 ppg, went on to become the only major-college football coach ever to reachd the 400-win plateau (409-136-3 record with Penn State).
Arkansas, coached by Gene Lambert, became the first school to compile 25 consecutive winning seasons. . . . Kansas State, coached by Jack Gardner, ended its streak of 21 consecutive non-winning conference records by capturing the Big Seven title with a 9-3 league mark after finishing in a tie for last place the previous year. It was the Wildcats' first conference crown in 29 seasons. . . . K-State senior guard Howie Shannon, an all-league first-team selection, went on to coach Virginia Tech in the 1967 NCAA Tournament. . . . Kansas' streak of 18 consecutive winning records under coach Phog Allen came to a halt when the Jayhawks lost 10 straight games the second half of the season en route to a 9-15 mark. It was the school's only losing record in a 29-year span through 1957-58. KU's leading scorer (12.8 ppg) was forward Otto Schnellbacher, who was co-captain of the Jayhawks' Orange Bowl football team and went on to become an All-Pro defensive back with the New York Giants (led NFL in interceptions with 11 in 1951). Schnellbacher was a four-time all-conference first-team selection in basketball. . . . Oklahoma City's leading scorer was Abe Lemons, who averaged 6.2 points per game. He later coached his alma mater to the NCAA playoffs on seven occasions. . . . Colorado three-year letterman Russell Walseth eventually became his alma mater's all-time winningest coach, including back-to-back NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional final appearances in 1962 and 1963.
Washington's Jack Nichols finished his fifth season of varsity competition in the Pacific Coast Conference (three with the Huskies and two as a military trainee during World War II with Southern California). . . . UCLA, 3-9 in the PCC, posted its last losing league mark in the 20th Century. . . . Southern California center Alex Hannum, an All-PCC Southern Division second-team selection, went on to become coach of the year in both the NBA and ABA in the 1960s. . . . Arizona co-captain Fred W. Enke, a quarterback who led the nation in total offense with 1,941 yards (535 rushing and 1,406 passing), was an All-Border Conference first-team swingman and member of league titlist for the third consecutive season. He then played seven seasons in the NFL. . . . Montana's Bob Cope set a school single-game scoring record by firing in 40 points against Gonzaga (mark later tied).
Hamline (Minn.), Lawrence Tech (Minn.), Scranton (Pa.) and Texas Wesleyan competed in their final season at the major-college level. . . . Georgetown posted its lone victory against St. John's in a 17-game stretch of their series from 1931 to 1973. . . . Muhlenberg (Pa.) defeated Villanova for the seventh consecutive time, 67-60. The average margin of victory in the previous six games with the Wildcats was 16.7.
1948 NCAA Tournament
Summary: Ken Rollins, the lone senior among coach Adolph Rupp's "Fabulous Five," held standout guard Bob Cousy, the leading scorer for defending champion Holy Cross, to just five points in the semifinals. Kentucky's winningest team in school history until 2011-12 (36-3 record despite a mid-season stretch featuring 10 road contests in a 12-game span) had an excessive amount of maturity since Rollins, Alex Groza, Dale Barnstable, Jim Line and Cliff Barker were World War II service veterans. Barker, a defensive specialist, was in a German prisoner-of-war camp for 16 months after the Army crewman's B-17 was shot down in Europe. He improved his ballhandling skills by filling idle time in prison camp bouncing and passing a volleyball, the only ball he could find. Kentucky's victory total set an NCAA record that stood for 39 years until 1987. Guard Jack Parkinson, a former All-American, didn't participate in the playoffs for the Wildcats because he was a fourth-year varsity player.
Outcome for Defending Champion: Holy Cross finished with a 26-4 record when Kentucky ended the Crusaders' 19-game winning streak. Their most lopsided defeat was to NIT champion-to-be St. Louis, 61-46. Eddie Hickey was SLU's first-year coach.
One and Only: Michigan's Pete "Bump" Elliott became the only player to score a team-high point total in his school's first NCAA Tournament victory the same year he earned All-American honors as a quarterback for a national football champion. Elliott, a second-team pick on the Helms All-American team, scored a team-high 15 points in a 66-49 decision over Columbia in the Eastern Regional third-place game. Elliott also earned All-American honors as a quarterback for the Wolverines' 1948 national football champion. He was executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame after serving as head football coach at Nebraska (1956), California (1957-59) and Illinois (1960-66), leading Cal and the Illini to Rose Bowl berths.
Celebrity Status: Sammy White, a catcher who hit .262 in 11 seasons with the Boston Red Sox (1951 through 1959), Milwaukee Braves (1961) and Philadelphia Phillies (1962), was a 6-3, 195-pound forward for Washington. The two-time All-Pacific Coast Conference Northern Division team selection was the Huskies' second-leading scorer in two tournament games. . . . Columbia's Bruce Gehrke, who scored a total of nine points in two NCAA playoff games against Kentucky and Michigan, caught nine passes for 109 yards and one touchdown with the NFL's New York Giants later in the year after being their fourth-round draft choice.
Numbers Game: Columbia entered the playoffs with just one defeat (59-54 against Princeton in overtime), but Kentucky's Wallace Jones (21), Groza (17) and Beard (15) combined to equal the Lions' entire output as the Wildcats prevailed, 76-53, in the opening round. . . . Michigan made its only NCAA Tournament appearance in the first 25 years of the event. Michigan's Ozzie Cowles became the initial coach to direct two different schools to the NCAA playoffs for the first time. He guided Dartmouth to its initial tourney appearance in 1941. . . . Wyoming's John Pilch scored a tourney-high 24 points in a 57-47 loss to Washington in the Western Regional third-place game. . . . The highest-scoring individual output against UK during the entire season was by Georgia Tech's Jim Nolan with 32 points. . . . The Southern Conference (regular-season champion North Carolina State) did not have a representative in the tourney. Oklahoma A&M from the Missouri Valley lost a district play-in game against Kansas State.
NCAA Champion Defeats: At Temple (1-point margin) and at Notre Dame (9).
Scoring Leader: Alex Groza, Kentucky (54 points, 18 ppg).
Highest Scoring Average: Jack Nichols, Washington (39 points, 19.5 ppg).
Most Outstanding Player: Alex Groza, C, Jr., Kentucky (37 points in final two games).
Championship Team Results
First Round: Kentucky 76 (Jones team-high 21 points), Columbia 53 (Budko 17)
Regional Final: Kentucky 60 (Groza 23), Holy Cross 52 (Kaftan 15)
Championship Game: Kentucky 58 (Groza 14), Baylor 42 (Johnson 10)