Tuesday, March 18, 2003

By the numbers: Kansas in the NCAAs

Journal-World sports writer Bill Mayer analyzes KU's numeric ties to the NCAA Tournament


The 2003 NCAA basketball tournament starts out with 65 entries and one can find a corresponding Kansas University personality or event relating to every niche from 1 to 65.

KU has been that influential in the annual event that has evolved into March Madness.

For example, KU enters '03 tourney play with 65 victories since its first appearance in 1940. Kansas has made 31 tournament appearances, and this year's will be No. 32. How is KU involved with the number 15, No. 34 or No. 39?

Bill Mayer, Journal-World contributing editor has compiled a list of the 65 numbers and how they relate to KU basketball and its long impact on NCAA tournament activity.

1: No. 1 NCAA finishes -- two -- for the Kansas Jayhawks, 1952 (coach Phog Allen) and 1988 (coach Larry Brown). Then there are the unofficial national titles voted to Allen's Kansas teams in 1922 and 1923 by the prestigious Helms (Bakery) Foundation. KU's 1922 record was 16-2, the 1923 record was 17-1, the 1952 record was 28-3 and the 1988 record was 27-11.

2: No. 2 NCAA finishes for Kansas, four in all -- 1940, 1953, 1957 and 1991, falling to Indiana the first two times, North Carolina the third and Duke the fourth. KU had two one-point heartbreakers, 69-68 against Indiana in 1953 and 54-53 in triple overtime in 1957.

3: No. 3 NCAA finishes for Kansas, three in all -- and all since 1986, always with an asterisk -- tied with Louisiana State in 1986, tied with Kentucky in 1993 and tied with Oklahoma in 2002. As of 1982, the NCAA eliminated a third-place game in the Final Four and began to list the two first-round losers as co-inhabitants of third place.

4: The father-son combinations who have played at KU through the years -- Phog Allen (1905-07) and sons Mitt (1934-36) and Bob (1939-41); Gene Elstun (1955-57) and son Doug (1991); Monte Johnson (1957-59) and son Jeff (1957-59); and Fred Bosilevac (1937) and son Fred Jr. (1970-72). Phog Allen, Bob Allen, Monte Johnson and Jeff Johnson, Gene and Don Elstun and Fred Bosilevac Jr. all were with NCAA Final Four squads.


Paul Pierce and Raef LaFrentz

5: Number of years Larry Brown was head coach at Kansas in winning his first NCAA championship, in 1988. Brown left KU with a 135-44 record after the '88 triumph to take over the San Antonio Spurs professional franchise. Then Phog Allen came up with his famed Pony Express Five, a smallish but scrappy starting unit that reached the 1940 NCAA title game. Phog's starting five in 1940 included Ralph Miller, Howard Engleman, Co-Capt. Dick Harp, Bob Allen and John Kline, with Co-Capt. Don Ebling and Bruce Voran as the key substitutes.

6: As of the start of the 2003 tournament grind, former Kansas player, assistant coach and head coach Dick Harp remains one of only six men to play and head coach or assistant-coach teams in the NCAA Final Four. The other five are Dean Smith of Kansas-North Carolina, Bob Knight of Ohio State-Indiana, Bones McKinney of North Carolina-Wake Forest, Vic Bubas of North Carolina State-Duke and Billy Donovan of Providence-Florida. KU in 1997 saw all six of its senior players earn get their diplomas at spring commencement -- Jerod Haase, Scot Pollard, Jacque Vaughn, B.J. Williams, Joel Branstrom and Steve Ransom.

7: It was the Big Seven Conference that Kansas conquered in 1952 to reach the NCAA tournament where it eventually won the national title. KU has been in the Missouri Valley Conference (1908-28), the Big Six (1929-47), the Big Seven (1948-58), the Big Eight (1959-96) and the Big 12 (from 1997 to the present).

8: The number of college teams involved in the 1940 NCAA playoffs from which Kansas emerged as a national title contender, losing to Indiana. In December of 1970, Kansas held Jerry Tarkanian's Long Beach State team, an eventual NCAA contender, to a 32-8 halftime lead here. A bomb scare delayed play and officials stalled while a search was conducted in Allen Fieldhouse. No bomb. Kansas won the game 69-52, with Bud Stallworth scoring 21 points. That 1970-71 KU team wound up in the Final Four. Long Beach State lost to UCLA in the '71 NCAA West Regional.

9: Entering the 2002-2003 season, there were only nine NCAA-affiliated coaches with more career victories than Kansas's Phog Allen, who wound up with a 746-246 record. The first nine are topped by two Allen proteges -- Dean Smith with 879 victories and Adolph Rupp with 876. Then from third to ninth are Clarence Gaines, Jim Phelan, Jerry Johnson, Bob Knight, Lefty Dreisell, Henry Iba and Ed Diddle. Further, including Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich this season, Kansas has had a total of nine All-Big 12 first-team choices since the league began operation -- Raef LaFrentz twice, Paul Pierce once, Collison and Drew Gooden twice each and Hinrich twice. Then for a bonus, Bob Kenney of the 1952 NCAA and Olympic championship team has been one of the rare wearers of the number 9.


Phog Allen, right, tries to become as tall as KU freshman Wilt Chamberlain in this 1955 file photo.

10: The number of seasons Roy Williams spent as an assistant to Kansas graduate Dean Smith at North Carolina before becoming the KU head coach for the 1988-89 season. Williams succeeded Larry Brown, another North Carolina graduate and Smith disciple. Williams aide Joe Holliday has been here 10 years.

11: Total of Kansas Final Four appearances, a figure that could rise to 12 with KU entering the battle for the '03 national crown. Also, the 11 three-pointers by Terry Brown set a KU record on Jan. 5, 1991, as the Jayhawks battled their way toward the national title game against Duke.

12: The point totals of both Bob Kenney and Bill Lienhard in the NCAA title victory over St. John's in Seattle in 1952. Kenney, Lienhard, Clyde Lovellette, Bill Hougland, Charlie Hoag and John Keller from that team eventually starred with the U.S. OIympic championship team, with KU's Phog Allen as the key assistant.

13: There were 13 original rules of basketball written by game founder James Naismith, later a Kansas coach and faculty member. The game's originator compiled the "rules" in 1891 at Springfield, Mass. Naismith joined the KU faculty in 1898 for a salary of $1,300 and later became director of physical education and the school's first official basketball coach. His coaching record was 55-60, the only losing mark in KU's storied court history. Also, Kansas up to this season has made 13 consecutive appearances in NCAA Tournament play. Wilt Chamberlain wore No. 13 on his KU jersey.

14: The number of former Jayhawks currently enshrined in the Naismith Hall of Fame. They are James Naismith, Dr. F.C. "Phog" Allen, E.C. Quigley, John Bunn, Adolph Rupp, Paul Endacott, Arthur "Dutch" Lonborg, William C. Johnson, John McLendon, Wilt Chamberlain, Dean Smith, Ralph Miller, Clyde Lovellette and Larry Brown. Further, there have been 14 undefeated KU seasons in Allen Fieldhouse since it opened March 1, 1955.


Ted Owens

15: Roy Williams' tenure at Kansas University. As KU enters NCAA play in 2003, Williams is in his 15th season as a Jayhawk.

16: KU registered an unprecedented 16-0 record in the Big 12 regular-season play en route to the NCAA Final Four in 2002. Further, the 1952 NCAA tournament that Kansas won opened with 16 entries, with most of them league champions because conferences could have only one entry before reaching today's tournament roster of 65 teams. Then consider that legendary Allen Fieldhouse's capacity is listed at 16,300.

17: The lead figure of the 17,000 capacity that KU coach Phog Allen believed Allen Fieldhouse enjoyed when it was opened late in the 1955 season. The stage thus was set for the debut of Wilt Chamberlain as a varsity superstar as a 1955-56 freshman and 1956-57 sophomore. Chances are the fieldhouse was jammed with 17,000-plus on March 1, 1955, the night it was dedicated to honor the Jayhawk coaching icon. Since then, the capacity has been re-set at 16,300. Oddly, there were at least three times in the Chamberlain sophomore season of '56-57 that the fieldhouse was not sold out. Several more such occasions in 1958, Wilt's junior season.

18: The standing 18-assist record that KU guard Tom Kivisto registered against Nebraska in 1973. Kivisto captained the 1974 NCAA Final Four team coached by Ted Owens. Mark Randall scored 18 points and got 10 rebounds as KU battled Duke in the 1991 NCAA title game loss. Terry Brown added 16 points and Adonis Jordan 11 after KU had whipped such luminaries as Arkansas, Indiana and North Carolina to reach the showdown.

19: Ted Owens had a 19-year coaching tenure at KU (1964-83) with a record of 348-182. Phog Allen's 590-219 remains tops. Owens' Jayhawk teams won six Big Eight titles, made it into NCAA Tournament play seven times and reached the Final Four in 1971 and 1974. Owens also coached an NIT team, was voted Big Eight coach of the year five times and in 1978 was chosen national coach of the year by Basketball Weekly. Kansas posted identical 19-6 records in reaching the NCAA finals in 1940 and 1953.

20: It was in 1920 that Phog Allen returned to Lawrence as the KU coach after a term at Warrensburg, Mo. Allen took over for Karl Schlademan after one game in the '20 season and eventually served 39 years as King Hawk on the Kaw. He had also coached at Haskell Institute and Baker University as well as handling a number of AAU-level teams, playing and starring for several of them. Wilt Chamberlain still holds the school record for the most field goals in a game, 20, on Dec. 3, 1956, in his college debut against Northwestern.


Dick Harp

21: Number of Kansas Sweet 16 appearances in NCAA tourney play leading up to the 2003 title quest. Then there are 21 retired honor jerseys hanging in Allen Fieldhouse -- 18 for men and three for women -- Angela Aycock, Tamecka Dixon and Lynette Woodard.

22: The age at which Phog Allen replaced basketball inventor James Naismith in 1908 as head coach at KU. Kansas won its first "national" title in 1922 when the influential Helms Foundation, a sports-oriented bakery conglomerate, voted Phog Allen's 16-2 Jayhawks the honor. In the days before wire service, coaching rundowns and television entities, many recognized the Helms honor as the ultimate. The second longest winning streak in KU history was 22, from 11-26-96 to 2-4-97 when Missouri won a 96-94 overtime victory in Columbia. There was also a 22-game win string from 2-10-08 until 2-10-09.

23: A second "national" title was voted to Kansas University in '23 when the Jayhawks romped to a 16-0 record in the prestigious Missouri Valley and wound up 17-1, losing only the the non-college Kansas City Athletic Club team. That KU team featured Charlie Black the First, Tus Ackerman and Paul Endacott and had a substitute from Halstead, Adolph Rupp, who wound up as a Kentucky coaching icon. At one time Rupp had won more games than any other coach in collegiate history. His total was later surpassed by another KU alumnus, Dean Smith of North Carolina. Then there was KU's longest winning streak, 23, from 3-6-1935 until 3-26-36 when Kansas lost to Utah State in the Olympic playoffs. KU's Phog Allen had been instrumental in getting basketball included in Olympic competition, then was denied the chance to take a team and coach it in Berlin in 1936. Wilt Chamberlain had 23 points and 14 rebounds in KU's 54-53 triple-overtime loss to North Carolina in the 1957 NCAA title game.

24: Kansas beat unofficial defending college champion Pittsburgh 24-23 in late 1931 when Phog Allen for the first time took a Jayhawk group to "the East." KU had a three-game series with the highly regarded Panthers and came home with a 2-1 record. The KU season record for 1931-32 was 13-5 including a Big Six title.

25: The number Danny Manning wore at Kansas. He led KU to a second official national title and still holds the KU career scoring record of 2,951 points. Other Jayhawks of distinction who wore No. 25 were Nolen Ellison, Lew Johnson and Del Lewis, with the latter two also seeing NCAA tourney action at KU.

26: The point total of KU's B.H. Born in the NCAA title loss to Indiana in 1953, along with 17 rebounds and 13 blocks. Born was the first player ever voted NCAA Tournament most valuable player while performing with a non-winning team. While blocks were not officially tabulated in 1953, Born probably became the first triple-double player in KU history with his '53 effort.

27: The number of seconds coaching icon Dean Smith played in the KU's '52 NCAA title game against St. John's. For a long time, the "official" box score did not list Smith. Knowing he had played, Smith pored over game films and determined he had seen 27 seconds of duty. Friends lobbied to get the NCAA to correct the error involving the North Carolina coaching legend; some 10 years ago that was accomplished. "That may not seem important to some people but I was so proud to be a part of that team that I wanted it recorded I played in a championship game. I was greatly relieved when it got corrected. There's a lot more to this game than fame or money; there's the tremendous pride you have in being with the kinds of people I associated with at KU. No amount of money can provide that." The '91 Kansas team posted a 27-8 record in reaching the NCAA finals against Duke. The KU Final Four team of 1971 had a 27-3 mark, losing to UCLA and Western Kentucky.

28: Well, 28.5, anyway. That's the scoring average KU's Clyde Lovellette posted in 1952 in leading KU to conference and national titles. It was the first (and only) time the regular-season scoring champion led his team to the NCAA title.

29: KU's 1993 Big Eight champions and NCAA Midwest Regional champions posted a 29-7 record. They reached the Final Four, falling to North Carolina in the national semifinals. KU's top scorers were Rex Walters, Adonis Jordan, Eric Pauley, Richard Scott and Steve Woodberry.

30: Points scored by KU's Paul Pierce in the 1997 post-season tournament title game against Missouri.


Tamecka Dixon

31: Number of Jayhawk NCAA tournament appearances up to this season. Then, it was the year '31 when Kansas native Adolph Rupp from KU made his coaching debut at Kentucky University. The Halstead, Kan., product won more games at UK than anyone in history until '53 KU graduate Dean Smith topped it at North Carolina.

32: The 1931-32 season saw Phog Allen win his 10th conference title in 15 years of coaching at KU. The Jayhawks won or shared seven of the eight league titles from 1931 to 1938 and finished second in 1935. Yet there was no NCAA tournament until 1939, thus the accomplished Jayhawks of the Golden Thirties never could showcase their wares on a national basis. Meanwhile, Allen was working to get basketball included on the Olympic program before 1936 and attended the '32 Olympics in Los Angeles to lobby for that project.

33: The number of points Clyde Lovellette scored in the 1952 NCAA title game, an 80-63 victory over St. John's coached by Frank McGuire. And the 2002 Kansas team posted 33 victories in reaching the Final Four after winning the Big 12 title with an unprecedented 16-0 mark.

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