1956–57 Kansas Jayhawks men's basketball team

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The 1956–57 Kansas Jayhawks men's basketball team was a Division I college basketball team that represented the University of Kansas. Coached by Dick Harp, the Jayhawks posted a 24–3 win–loss record, winning the then-Big Seven Conference and qualifying for the 1957 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.[1][2] Kansas won three games in the NCAA Tournament to reach the championship game, where the Jayhawks lost to North Carolina in triple overtime.[1][3]

Season summary[edit]

Dick Harp was named the head coach of the Jayhawks before the 1956–57 season. The previous coach, Phog Allen, had been forced to leave the program due to an enforced retirement age in place at the school.[4] The 1956–57 Jayhawks featured future National Basketball Association center Wilt Chamberlain, in his first season with the varsity program. Expectations for the team were high entering the season; Allen said of the Jayhawks' new player that "Anybody could win the national championship with Wilt Chamberlain and four cheerleaders."[5] Chamberlain averaged 29.6 points and 18.8 rebounds per game over the course of the season.[1] In Kansas' opening game against Northwestern, he scored 52 points and compiled 31 rebounds in an 87–69 win.[6] From the beginning of the season, the Jayhawks topped the Associated Press Poll, holding their position until mid-January. Following 12 consecutive victories, Iowa State defeated Kansas 39–37, and the team fell to number two in the poll.[7][8] Kansas lost one other game in the regular season, on February 20, 1957, against Oklahoma by a score of 56–54.[9] Despite the loss, the team remained second in the national rankings, staying in that position for the rest of the season.[7] The Jayhawks wrapped up the Big Seven title, and an NCAA Tournament berth, with a 64–57 win over Kansas State on March 7. They ended the regular season with a record of 20–2,[2] and a Big Seven record of 11–1.[1]

In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Kansas faced SMU and was forced into an overtime period. Behind 36 points by Chamberlain, the Jayhawks won 73–65 to advance to the regional finals. There, the Jayhawks defeated Oklahoma City 81–61 to reach the Final Four. Chamberlain posted 30 points in the contest, adding 15 rebounds. The two-time defending NCAA Tournament champions, San Francisco, faced Kansas in the Final Four's host site, Kansas City.[10] With a field goal percentage of almost 60 percent, the Jayhawks posted an 80–56 win to advance to the championship game against undefeated North Carolina, the number one-ranked team in the country.[11] The Tar Heels defeated the Jayhawks 54–53 in triple overtime; North Carolina's Joe Quigg made the tying and go-ahead free throws in the final seconds.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d "1956–57 Kansas Jayhawks Roster and Stats". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Chandler, John (March 7, 1957). "Kansas Clinches Big 7 Title, Looks To Tourney". Times Daily. Associated Press. Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Lopresti, Mike (March 27, 2007). "Tar Heels' 1957 victory may be best NCAA title game ever". USA Today. Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
  4. ^ Fulks, Matt (2000). CBS Sports Presents Stories From the Final Four. Taylor Trade Publishing. p. 19. ISBN 9781461703037. 
  5. ^ Fulks, p. 20.
  6. ^ "Wilt Scores 52 In Cage Opener". Kentucky New Era. Associated Press. December 4, 1956. Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "1956–57 Kansas Jayhawks Schedule and Results". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Top Rating Kiss of Death To Kansas?". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. January 15, 1957. Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Stilt & Co. Fall To Aggies, 56–54". Sarasota Journal. Associated Press. February 21, 1957. Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Jayhawkers' Status Up As Tourney Nears". The Times-News. Associated Press. March 19, 1957. Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
  11. ^ Morey, Earl (March 23, 1957). "3/23/57 – K.U. in Dream Clash With Tar Heel Quint". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved September 6, 2010.