1939 NCAA Basketball Tournament

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1939 NCAA Basketball Tournament
Finals sitePatten Gymnasium
Evanston, Illinois
ChampionsOregon Webfoots (1st title, 1st title game,
1st Final Four)
Runner-upOhio State Buckeyes (1st title game,
1st Final Four)
Winning coachHoward Hobson (1st title)
MOPJimmy Hull, (Ohio State)
Top scorerJimmy Hull, Ohio State
(58 points)
NCAA Division I Men's Tournaments

The 1939 NCAA Basketball Tournament involved 8 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. It was the first NCAA basketball national championship tournament, although it was operated by the NABC at the time.

The tournament began on March 17 and ended with the championship game on March 27 on Northwestern University's campus in Evanston, Illinois.[1][2][3][4] A total of 8 games were played, including a single third place game in the West region. The East region did not hold a third place game until 1941, and there was no national third place game until 1946.

Oregon, coached by Howard Hobson, won the national title with a 46–33 victory in the final game over Ohio State, coached by Harold Olsen. Jimmy Hull of Ohio State was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

Despite their success in this first tournament, Oregon would not make another Final Four until 2017.


The following are the sites selected to host each round of the 1939 tournament:


March 17 and 18
East Regional, The Palestra, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 20 and 21
West Regional, California Coliseum, San Francisco, California

Championship Game[edit]

March 27
Patten Gymnasium, Evanston, Illinois

The 1939 Championship Game was held on the campus of Northwestern University in the Chicago suburb of Evanston. (Ironically, it took until 2017 for the host team to make the tournament.) It would be the first of two times the university would host the Final Four on its campus; the Final Four would return in 1956 to McGaw Memorial Hall, which replaced the second Patten Gymnasium, which in turn replaced this one in 1940. The regionals were held on the east and west coasts. The East was hosted by the University of Pennsylvania at the Palestra, which would go on to host 19 times. The West was hosted at the California Coliseum on the grounds of the Golden Gate International Exposition, then going on to Treasure Island in San Francisco. Within two years, both Patten Gym and the California Coliseum would be demolished, the former for academic expansion, the latter for the creation of the Naval Station Treasure Island on the island. Only the Palestra remains, still the home of the Penn Quakers. The tournament would not return to any of the host cities for several years - Chicago in 1952, Philadelphia in 1953 and the San Francisco suburb of Daly City in 1955; to date the tournament has not held games within the city limits of San Francisco again, a streak which will finally end in 2022 when the Chase Center is used for the first time.


East Regional - Philadelphia
School Coach Conference Record
Brown Eck Allen Independent 16–3
Ohio State Harold Olsen Big Ten 14–6
Villanova Alex Severance Independent 19–4
Wake Forest Murray Greason Southern 18–5
West Regional - San Francisco
School Coach Conference Record
Oklahoma Bruce Drake Big Six 11–8
Oregon Howard Hobson Pacific Coast 26–5
Texas Jack Gray Southwest 19–4
Utah State Dick Romney Mountain States 16–6


Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
Villanova 42
Brown 30
Villanova 36
Ohio State 53
Ohio State 64
Wake Forest 52
Ohio State 33
Oregon 46
Oregon 56
Texas 41
Oregon 55
Oklahoma 37
Utah State 39
Oklahoma 50

Regional Third Place[edit]

West Regional Third Place
Texas 49
Utah State



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Giant Oregon five defeats Ohio for U.S. title, 46–33". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. March 28, 1939. p. 12.
  2. ^ Kuechle, Oliver (March 28, 1939). "Oregon beats Ohio State easily for national title". Milwaukee Journal. p. 12, part 2.
  3. ^ "Oregon tops Bucks, 46–33". Toledo Blade. Ohio. United Press. March 28, 1939. p. 11.
  4. ^ Strite, Dick (March 28, 1939). "Mighty Oregons scramble Ohio State to take hoop title of all America". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. p. 1.
  5. ^ "1939 NCAA Basketball Tournament". College Basketball Reference. Retrieved 3 April 2018.