1956 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament

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1956 NCAA Men's Division I
Basketball Tournament
Teams 25
Finals site McGaw Hall
Evanston, Illinois
Champions San Francisco (2nd title, 2nd title game,
2nd Final Four)
Runner-up Iowa (1st title game,
2nd Final Four)
  • SMU (1st Final Four)
  • Temple (1st Final Four)
Winning coach Phil Woolpert (2nd title)
MOP Hal Lear Temple
Attendance 132,513
Top scorer Hal Lear Temple
(160 points)
NCAA Men's Division I Tournaments
«1955 1957»

The 1956 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 25 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. It began on March 12, 1956, and ended with the championship game on March 24 on Northwestern University's campus in Evanston, Illinois. A total of 29 games were played, including a third-place game in each region and a national third-place game.

This was the first NCAA tournament in which the four regionals were given distinct names, although the concept of four regional winners advancing to a single site for the "Final Four" had been introduced in 1952.

San Francisco, coached by Phil Woolpert, won the national title with an 83–71 victory in the final game over Iowa, coached by Bucky O'Connor. Hal Lear of Temple was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.


Region Site Other Locations
East Philadelphia, Pennsylvania New York City, New York
Far West Corvallis, Oregon Seattle, Washington
Midwest Iowa City, Iowa Fort Wayne, Indiana
West Lawrence, Kansas Wichita, Kansas
Finals Evanston, Illinois


Region Seed Team Coach Finished Final Opponent Score
East n/a Canisius Joseph Curran Regional Runner-up Temple L 60-58
East n/a Connecticut Hugh Greer Regional Fourth Place Dartmouth L 85-64
East n/a Dartmouth Doggie Julian Regional Third Place Connecticut W 85-64
East n/a Holy Cross Roy Leenig First round Temple L 74-72
East n/a Manhattan Ken Norton First round Connecticut L 84-75
East n/a North Carolina State Everett Case First round Canisius L 79-78
East n/a Temple Harry Litwack Third Place SMU W 90-81
East n/a West Virginia Fred Schaus First round Dartmouth L 61-59
Far West
Far West n/a Idaho State Steve Belko First round Seattle L 68-66
Far West n/a San Francisco Phil Woolpert Champion Iowa W 83-71
Far West n/a Seattle Al Brightman Regional Fourth Place UCLA L 94-70
Far West n/a UCLA John Wooden Regional Third Place Seattle W 94-70
Far West n/a Utah Jack Gardner Regional Runner-up San Francisco L 92-77
Midwest n/a DePaul Ray Meyer First round Wayne State L 72-63
Midwest n/a Iowa Bucky O'Connor Runner Up San Francisco L 83-71
Midwest n/a Kentucky Adolph Rupp Regional Runner-up Iowa L 89-77
Midwest n/a Marshall Jule Rivlin First round Morehead State L 107-92
Midwest n/a Morehead State Bobby Laughlin Regional Third Place Wayne State W 95-84
Midwest n/a Wayne State Joel Mason Regional Fourth Place Morehead State L 95-84
West n/a Houston Alden Pasche Regional Fourth Place Kansas State L 89-70
West n/a Kansas State Tex Winter Regional Third Place Houston W 89-70
West n/a Memphis State Eugene Lambert First round Oklahoma City L 97-81
West n/a Oklahoma City Abe Lemons Regional Runner-up SMU L 84-63
West n/a SMU Doc Hayes Fourth Place Temple L 90-81
West n/a Texas Tech Polk Robison First round SMU L 68-67


* – Denotes overtime period

East Region[edit]

Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
  Connecticut 84
  Manhattan 75
Connecticut 59
Temple 65
  Temple 74
  Holy Cross 72
Temple 60
Canisius 58
  Dartmouth 61
  West Virginia 59*
Dartmouth 58
Canisius 66
  Canisius 79
  N.C. State 78****

Midwest Region[edit]

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
     Iowa 97  
       Morehead St. 83  
   Morehead St. 107
     Marshall 92  
       Iowa 89
     Kentucky 77
   Kentucky 84
       Wayne St-MI 64  
   Wayne St-MI 72
     DePaul 63  

West Region[edit]

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
     Houston 74  
       SMU 89  
   SMU 68
     Texas Tech 67  
       SMU 84
     Oklahoma City 63
   Kansas St. 93
       Oklahoma City 97  
   Oklahoma City 97
     Memphis St. 81  

Far West Region[edit]

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
     Utah 81  
       Seattle 72  
   Seattle 68
     Idaho St. 66  
       Utah 77
     San Francisco 92
   San Francisco 72
       UCLA 61  

Final Four[edit]

National Semifinals National Championship Game
E Temple 76
MW Iowa 83
MW Iowa 71
FW San Francisco 83
W SMU 68
FW San Francisco 86

National Third Place Game[edit]

National Third Place Game [1]
  Temple 90
  SMU 81

Regional Third Place Games[edit]

See also[edit]


  • Canisius's first-round victory over the second-ranked North Carolina State Wolfpack, considered by many to be among the top ten upsets in tournament history,[2][3] set a record for most overtime periods in a Division I Men's tournament game with four, a record that still stands as of 2015 (tied once, in 1961).[4]
  • Northwestern University previously hosted the first ever NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game on March 27, 1939 in the first Patten Gym.[5]


  1. ^ "1954 NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracket". Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  2. ^ http://espn.go.com/page2/s/list/ncaatourneyupset.html
  3. ^ Top 25 Upsets in NCAA Tournament History--#5, Prepticket.com. Accessed 2009-04-02. Archived 2009-05-04.
  4. ^ The Sports Network. "The Sports Network - Men's College Basketball". Archived from the original on 2009-05-04. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  5. ^ 1939 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament