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At a Glance
NIT Champion--Temple (23-2; coached by James Usilton/12th of 13 seasons with Owls; won Eastern Intercollegiate Conference by three games with a 9-1 record).
New Conference--New England (forerunner of Yankee disbanded in 1976).
New Rule--Center jump after every basket is rescinded.
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--Meyer "Mike" Bloom, C, Sr., Temple (10 ppg); Angelo "Hank" Luisetti, F, Sr., Stanford (17.2 ppg); John Moir, F, Sr., Notre Dame (10.5 ppg); Paul Nowak, C, Sr., Notre Dame (7.5 ppg); Fred Pralle, G, Sr., Kansas (10.7 ppg); Jewell Young, F, Sr., Purdue (14.5 ppg).
Perhaps no player had more of an effect on basketball than Stanford's Hank Luisetti, the only three-time first-team All-American in the 1930s. A couple of decades ahead of his time, he is credited with revolutionizing basketball by introducing his running one-handed shot. At least 90 percent of the players at the time employed both hands in lofting the ball toward the basket. Luisetti led Stanford to three consecutive Pacific Coast Conference championships and a 46-5 record in his final two seasons.
Regrettably, it wasn't until the year after his graduation that the NCAA staged its first tourney. The same year of the initial NCAA playoffs, Luisetti starred with legendary actress Betty Grable in a film called "Campus Confessions." The movie earned him $10,000 from Paramount Pictures.
Following graduation, the acrobatic Luisetti played two years of AAU basketball with the San Francisco Olympic Club and Phillips Oilers of Bartlesville, Okla. He then enjoyed two outstanding seasons with St. Mary's Pre-Flight before World War II. While serving in the Navy in November of 1944, Luisetti was stricken with spinal meningitis and was forced to end his playing career. The illness prevented pro audiences from having the opportunity to view one of the most talented players in history.
Luisetti (50 points vs. Duquesne at Cleveland) and Brown sophomore Harry Platt (48 vs. Northeastern) established what remain school single-game scoring records. Luisetti almost doubled Duquesne's output in a 92-27 victory (see accompanying box), contributing to the Dukes' only losing season (6-11) in a 37-year span from 1920-21 through 1956-57.
Canisius' Joe Cavanaugh restricted Luisetti to nine points in a game at the old Auditorium in Buffalo, one of the lowest outputs in Luisetti's career. . . . New York's Madison Square Garden was the mecca of college basketball at the time, however. Long Island University, which had a 43-game winning streak snapped by Stanford (45-31) the previous year, was featured in six of the 12 doubleheaders played in the Garden. . . . Jerry Bush, St. John's leading scorer for the second straight season, went on to coach Toledo in the 1954 NCAA Tournament before accepting a similar position at Nebraska. . . . Ben Carnevale, playing under Hall of Fame coach Howard Cann for NIT-bound New York University, eventually became the first coach to guide two different schools to the NCAA playoffs in back-to-back seasons (North Carolina in 1946 and Navy in 1947) en route to the Hall of Fame himself. . . . Washington & Lee All-American Bob Spessard, one of the game's first well-proportioned and coordinated big men (6-7), went on to coach his alma mater for one season in 1948-49. . . . Tommy Nolan, who averaged 2.3 points per game for Georgetown, coached his alma mater for four seasons from 1956-57 through 1959-60. . . . Mike Garbark, a letterman for Villanova's 25-5 squad under coach Alex Severance, went on to catch for the New York Yankees in 1944 and 1945. . . . Scranton (Pa.) won seven of its first eight games although new coach Buck Freeman wasn't hired until late September, his squad had only slightly more than two weeks of practice and the coach was off the sideline a significant portion of the campaign because of an illness and breaking his leg when he fell in a campus building. Freeman had left St. John's, where he won more than three-fourths of his games decided by fewer than six points (46-15 mark in close contests) in nine seasons from 1927-28 through 1935-36. . . . Dan Lynch Sr., captain for St. Francis (N.Y.), went on to become his alma maater's all-time winningest coach.
Joe Hagan's 48-foot shot with 12 seconds remaining enabled Kentucky to edge Marquette, 35-33. Showing the state's obsession with hoops success after the game, Gov. Happy Chandler pounded a nail into the floor to mark the spot of the decisive shot. Hagan went to Kentucky to play football, tried out for the basketball team uninvited by coach Adolph Rupp and was captain of the Wildcats' 1937 football squad.
Illinois wound up in a tie for eighth place in the Big Ten after finishing in a tie for first the previous year. Illini junior forward Lou Boudreau was declared ineligible for further intercollegiate competition in early February because his mother had been given monthly payments by the Cleveland Indians. As player-manager in 1948, the Hall of Fame shortstop led Cleveland to the A.L. title and earned MVP honors by hitting .355 with 116 RBI. . . . John Kundla, who later coached the Minneapolis Lakers to six NBA titles, was the second-leading scorer for a Minnesota squad finishing in second place in the Big Ten. He also coached his alma mater for most of the decade of the 1960s. . . . Michigan's John Townsend, who also ranked nationally in the discus, was named to the first five on the Converse All-American team. Fifty-six seasons later (1993-94), his grandson, North Carolina center Eric Montross, would be selected to the first five on the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-American team. . . . Forward John Sines, a key member of Purdue's Big Ten titlist, went on to coach Tennessee for three seasons from 1959-60 through 1961-62. . . . Purdue had a 50-10 record against archrival Indiana after twice defeating the Hoosiers. In 11 years since 1927-28 under coach Piggy Lambert, only four of the Boilermakers' modest total of 38 defeats were by more than eight points.
All-Americans John Moir and Paul Nowak were joined on Notre Dame's frontcourt by senior captain Ray Meyer, who later became a Hall of Fame coach en route to notching 724 victories for DePaul. They helped the Irish compile a 62-8-1 record in their three-year varsity careers. . . . Luisetti, Moir and Nowak represent the only trio to be named NCAA consensus first-team All-Americans together three consecutive seasons. Moir, an immigrant from Scotland, didn't pick up a basketball until he completed his high school education in Niagara Falls. . . . Western Michigan suffered its first losing record (6-12) since its initial competitive season in 1913-14.
Oklahoma A&M lost its Missouri Valley opener to Grinnell before winning 13 consecutive league games en route to the conference crown. . . . Creighton failed to finish among the top two in the MVC standings for the first time in its first 10 years as a member of the alliance. . . . Coach Phog Allen guided Kansas to its seventh title in the last eight seasons of the 10-year history of the Big Six Conference. "The team with a great defense coupled with a good offense will almost always defeat the team with a good defense and a great offense," Allen said. . . . KU's Dick Harp, an All-Big Six second-team selection, succeeded Allen as coach of the Jayhawks in 1956-57 when they reached the NCAA Tournament final. . . . Jimmy Kitts' sixth and final season as Rice's head basketball coach came the same year he guided the school's football squad to a 28-14 victory over Colorado in the Cotton Bowl. . . . Jack Robbins repeated as an All-SWC first-team selection, leading the Razorbacks to the SWC title by averaging 12.4 ppg. After the season, the quarterback became an NFL first-round draft choice by the Chicago Cardinals (5th pick overall). . . . Texas Tech's Frank Sachse, an All-Border Conference second-team forward with 16.8 ppg, became a professional football back who passed for three touchdowns and added two interceptions with Brooklyn and Boston in three years from 1943 through 1945. One of his passes went for 80 yards in 1945.
Southern California's Gail Goodrich finished sixth in scoring in the Pacific Coast Conference Southern Division. His son, Gail Goodrich Jr., became an All-American for UCLA in the mid-1960s. Goodrich was a homegrown product but the core of the Trojans' team were Indiana natives (forwards Ralph Vaughn and Clem Ruh, center Carl Anderson and guards Bill Remsen and Hal Dornsife). . . . Four starters for New Mexico A&M (now New Mexico State) were named to the first five on the All-Border Conference team after their school went undefeated (18-0) in league competition. . . . Coach Forrest Twogood guided Idaho to an 11-9 record for the Vandals' only winning season in a 16-year stretch from 1929-30 through 1944-45.
North Carolina won the Southern Conference regular-season championship but Duke won the league's postseason tournament. Washington & Lee had opposed North Carolina or Duke in the previous four Southern Conference Tournament finals. . . . Maryland bowed to Washington & Lee nine consecutive times in their series until defeating the Generals, 36-32. . . . William & Mary letterman Bud Metheny went on to become Old Dominion's all-time winningest basketball coach after playing outfield for the New York Yankees in the 1943 World Series.
Georgetown was the only team to defeat eventual NIT champion Temple in Eastern Intercollegiate Conference competition. But the Hoyas lost for the fifth consecutive time in their series with Carnegie Tech, 54-31. . . . Carnegie Tech's Melvin Cratsley set a league single-game scoring record with 34 points against West Virginia. Ten of Cratsley's 12 buckets were either tipped or put in from directly beneath the hoop and the other two were set shots from inside the foul line. . . . Pittsburgh earned at least a share of five consecutive EIC championships until Temple won the undisputed title. Temple was so dominant in the inaugural NIT final against Colorado that coach James Usilton removed the Owls' starters after six minutes of the second half. . . . Marshall Glenn's fifth and final season as West Virginia's head basketball coach came the same year he guided the school's football squad to a 7-6 victory over Texas Tech in the Sun Bowl.
Western Kentucky, one of the nation's seven winningest programs in the 1930s and 1940s, began a streak of 10 consecutive triumphs over Louisville. WKU, the first-ever NCAA school on record to post a 30-win season, was sparked by Louisville native William "Red" McCrocklin, who became an All-American despite never playing in high school. . . . Western Kentucky (30-3/coached by Ed Diddle) lost twice to Bradley but finished with its most victories in school history. Mississippi (22-12/George Bohler) managed its winningest season in the 20th Century by posting 11 consecutive victories before losing to Georgia Tech in the SEC Tournament final. Ole Miss had just one winning record in its next 12 seasons (14-8 in 1944-45 after not fielding a squad the previous year because of World War II).
Bob Davis, who scored four points in three games for Kentucky, led the NFL in punt returns (22 for 271 yards) with Boston in 1944 when he also had an 80-yard run from scrimmage. . . . Mississippi forward Bonnie "Country" Graham, an All-SEC first-team selection who led the league in scoring (18 ppg), went on to become his alma mater's all-time winningest coach in 13 seasons from 1949-50 through 1961-62. He was also a three-year letterman as a football end. . . . Georgia Tech forward Fletcher Sims, an All-SEC Tournament second-team choice, was an all-league first-team back in football. . . . Alabama's 4-13 record was the school's lone losing mark in a 21-year span from 1927-28 through 1948-49 (did not field a team in 1943-44 because of WWII). . . . South Carolina (3-21) lost more than 20 games in a single season for the only time until the 20th Century's final campaign (1998-99).
1938 NCAA Tournament
Championship Team Results