Basketball fans will be treated to the "dream game" of the year at 9 tonight in Municipal Auditorium at Kansas City when Kansas and North Carolina University meet for the NCAA basketball championship. Although North Carolina is unbeatin in 31 games this season, Kansas (24-2) has been installed a three-point favorite. The game will be televised locally on Channels 9 and 13.
This "dream game" pits the nation's No. 1 and No. 2 teams in a long-awaited meeting. The Tar heels have been the No. 1 team since the seventh week of the season, after Kansas had led through the first six weeks of press agency voting.
Tar Heels Are Lethal
The Tar Heels boast a .435 shooting average from the field, and a .703 mark from the free throw line.
Kansas earned its way into tonight's finals with a surprisingly easy victory over defensive-minded San Francisco 80-56, after North Carolina had edged Michigan State 74-70 in triple overtime. K.U. is Western NCAA champ, N.C. the Eastern king for 1957.
Two All-America players will be in action tonight. Wilt (The Dipper) Chamberlain for Kansas and Lennie Rosenbluth, the pride and joy of the Tar Heels.
Top Defensive Record
San Francisco went into Friday's game against Kansas boasting a 54.6 defensive average, tops in the nation with Oklahoma A&M.; Previous high score against San Francisco this season was the 67 points scored by Pepperdine. The U.S. Olympians whipped Frisco 83-52 in a special exhibition game, but that was before the team "jelled" into a potent outfit.
But the Dons met a feast-breaking Kansas team Friday that wasn't to be denied. The Jays connected on 34 shots from the field in 57 tries, for a fabulous 59.6 shooting average. Kansas hit on 12 of 19 free throw tries and the Jayhawks outrebounded San Francisco 44 to 25.
Strictly Team Affair
Although Chamberlain was the big gun for Kansas wih 32 points and 11 rebounds, the victory was strictly a team affair. Maurice King, senior guard, turned in his finest game of the season, and possibly his best of all time as he scored on six of eight tries from the field and added a free throw for 13 points. Reece also grabbed four rebounds.
Co-Capt. Gene Elstun scored 16 points on eight fielders in 12 attempts, and grabbed six rebounds. Lew Johnson got eight rebounds, Ron Loneski 7.
Many of King's shots were "out of this world." The fancy-moving senior, an All-Big Seven player last season, fired in a pair of hooks, and connected on an under-the-basket backhand that sent the 10,500 Auditorium crowed into bedlam.
As each K.U. player left the court, the crowd stood and gave him an tremendous ovation. It was an unusual experience for King, since this fine player seldom has turned in a good game in Kansas City. He changed that Friday.
Frisco Takes a Lead
Frisco jumped into a 4-0 lead as the Jays got off to a jittery start. The Dons made it a 6-3 game after Elstun hit on a short jump, but Chamberlain connected on a rebound and then a dunk to tie it at 6-6. With 14:19 remaining in the opening half, Kansas picked off a 9-8 lead and was never again behind. The lead went to five points, slipped to one, then up to seven and near the end of the half to eight before Frisco cut the halftime margin to 38-34.
The second half was a no-contest affair, and the question was simply by how much Kansas would win. It was 44-34 with less than three minutes gone in the second period, and Kansas moved to 12 ahead, slipped to a six-point lead, and then pulled to 11, 14, 17, 23, 30 and 32 before easing off.
The victory boosted Kansas to 24-2 for the season and left Dick Harp only a game away from a national title in his first season as head coach at Kansas.
Woolpert Gets Shock
Frisco coach Phil Woolpert was in an almost state of shock following the game, but he still wouldn't compare Chamberlain with Frisco's great player of the past two years, Bill Russell.
"Let's just say that this Chamberlain is everything he was said to be," Woolpert said. "Of course, we knew that he was great before we played Kansas."
Woolpert said he figured his Dons could defeat Kansas, but he didn't count on the Jays shooting at a 59.6 clip from the field. "You don't beat a team that is shooting like that," the shocked Woolpert said. "One thing, Kansas isn't a one-man team, although Chamberlain would be a tremendous asset to any club in the nation," Woolpert added.
Tonight, Kansas will be facing a big tea, led by the 6-5 Rosenbluth. N.C. was tied 56-56 at the end of regulation game with Michigan state, 64-64 at the end of overtime, 66-66 after two.