The 1966 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 22 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAADivision Icollege basketball. It began on March 7, 1966, and ended with the championship game on March 19 in College Park, Maryland. A total of 26 games were played, including a third place game in each region and a national third place game.
The Tournament is most remembered for the all-black starting five of Texas Western defeating an all-white starting five for Kentucky in the championship game. In the 1963 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, Loyola started four African-Americans and Cincinnati started three. That was the first time that a majority of African-Americans participated in the championship game.
Clem Haskins and Dwight Smith became the first black athletes to integrate the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers basketball program in the Fall of 1963. This put Western Kentucky at the forefront to integrate college basketball in the Southeast. The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers were 2 points away from defeating Michigan and meeting the University of Kentucky Wildcats in the Mideast regional final. A controversial foul called against Smith during a jump ball put Cazzie Russell on the free throw line for Michigan, where he scored the tying and winning baskets.
^Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem - My thoughts on UCLA in the Final Four Los Angeles Times, March 31, 2008. Western Kentucky was the forefront of the fight to integrate college basketball in the 1960s and early '70s.
^O'Donnell, Chuck - Cazzie Russell: converting two free throws with no time left advanced Michigan in the 1966 NCAA Tournament - The Game I'll Never Forget - University of Michigan versus Western Kentucky University. Basketball Digest, January/February 2004 issue