clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A Reader On The Greatest Game Ever - UNC-Kansas 57

For once I have to disagree with you guys. I'm a Duke grad and have
been a Blue Devil fan all my life, but I have to tell you that the 1957
title game between Carolina and Kansas was, without out a doubt, the
greatest college basketball game ever played. I watched it live--YES,
IT WAS ON TELEVISION! Of course, there was no ESPN in those days, and
the major networks were not interested in carrying the NCAA tournament
in those days. (That Final Four probably did as much as any Final Four
ever to bring the NCAA tournament into the public consciousness and make
it a hot item.) But it was certainly carried live by a number of TV
stations in North Carolina (that's how I saw it), and I suspect in
Kansas too.

You may not remember, but in those days the Final Four was held on
consecutive nights: Friday night and Saturday night; so the teams had
to play two nights in a row. Carolina had played a 3OT game Friday
night to beat the Michigan State Spartans, led by Jumpin' Johnny Green!
Then, they had to face the heavily favored Jayhawks, led by Wilt
Chamberlain, on Saturday night. You may recall that Carolina was led by
their All-American Lenny Rosenbluth. But Lenny fouled out with several
minutes left in regulation time, so we all thought it was all over for
Carolina at that point. But amazingly the rest of their crew, Pete
Brennan, Tommy Kearns, Joe Quigg, et al, kept hanging in there through
each overtime. Of course, I don't have to tell you the ending.
Chamberlain and the rest of the Jayhawks walked off the court stunned,
much like Olajuwon in 1983.

So there you have it: two triple overtime games on consecutive nights,
the All American star fouls out in regulation time in the championship
game, but they still manage to pull out a victory. Nothing since can
top that! That really was the Final Four that put the Final Four on the
map, so to speak.

Happy New Year!

Frank Peters