1953 NAIA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament
|1953NAIA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament|
|Finals Site||Municipal Auditorium
Kansas City, Missouri
|Champions||Southwest Missouri State
(2nd title, 2nd title game,
2nd Final Four)
(4th title game,
6th Final Four)
(5th Final Four)
East Texas State
(1st Final Four)
|Chuck Taylor MVP||Jerry Anderson
(Southwest Missouri State)
The 1953 NAIA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament was held in March at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. The 16th annual NAIA basketball tournament featured 32 teams playing in a single-elimination format. The championship game would feature Southwest Missouri State University, now Missouri State University, and Hamline University (Minn.) (10th appearance in tournament). The Bears were coached by Bob Vanatta. The championship game was the first time that these two teams had ever met in the tournament. The Bears would defeat the Pipers to win another national championship by the score of 79 to 71. It was the first time since 1937 and 1938, the first two years of the tournament, that the same team would win the national championship title. (The first two tournaments were also won by a Missouri university, Central Missouri State University.)
Playing for 3rd place was Indiana State University and East Texas State University, now Texas A&M University–Commerce. It was the first time that these two teams had played each other. The Sycamores defeated the Lions by a score of 74 to 71.
The 1953 tournament would be Hamline University's first, and only, 2nd place title as well as Indiana State University's first, and only, 3rd place title. Making them the first two schools to win, outright, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th places in the NAIA tournament (Georgetown (Ky.) the only other school to have that honor).
It is the last year without the Coach of the Year Award. And the first tournament to feature a Nazarene University, (Pasadena (Calif.), now Point Loma Nazarene University). There were two games in which all-time top performances would be recorded.
Awards and honors
Many of the records set by the 1953 tournament have been broken, and many of the awards were established much later:
- Leading Scorer Award est. 1963
- Leading Rebounder Award est. 1963
- Charles Stevenson Hustle Award est. 1958
- Coach of the Year est. 1954
- Player of the Year est. 1994
- Top single-game performances: 3rd Harold Wolfe of Findlay (Ohio) playing against Pasadena (Calif.) scored 25 field goals and 4 free throws totaling 54 points for one game. Findlay won the game.
- Top single-game performances: 22nd Pete Kinkead of Geneva (Pa.) playing against Tennessee State, scored 14 field goals and 15 free throws totaling 43 points for one game. Geneva did not win the game.
- All-time scoring leader; first appearance: James Miller, 18th, East Texas State (1953,54,55), 13 games, 103 field goals, 40 free throws, totaling 246 points, 18.9 average per game.
- All-time scoring leader; second appearance: E.C. O’Neal, 9th, Arkansas Tech (1952,53,54,55), 13 games, 122 field goals, 43 free throws, totaling 287 points, 22.1 average per game.
- All-time scoring leaders; final appearance: Lloyd Thorgaard, 10th, Hamline (Minn.) (1950,51,52,53), 15 games, 111 field goals, 61 free throws, 283 total points, 18.9 average per game; James Fritsche, 14th, Hamline (Minn.) (1950,51,52,53), 15 games, 113 field goals, 46 free throws, 272 total points, 18.1 average per game.
1953 NAIA bracket
|First Round||Second Round||Elite Eight||NAIA National Semifinals||NAIA National Championship|
|-||Morris Harvey (W.Va.)||67|
|-||East Texas State||71|
|-||East Texas State||57|
|-||East Texas State||85|
|-||St. Peter's (N.J.)||81|
|-||East Texas State||72|
|-||St. Benedict's (Kan.)||69|
|-||Southwest Missouri State||95|
|-||Iowa State Teachers||57|
|-||East Tennessee State||79|
|-||Adams State (Colo.)||63|
|-||East Carolina (N.C.)||81|
|-||Midwestern State (Texas)||76|
3rd place game
The third place game featured the losing teams from the national semifinalist to determine 3rd and 4th places in the tournament. This game was played until 1988.
|NAIA Third Place Game
|-||East Texas State||71|