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  • Writer's pictureKurtis Tatkenhorst

March 27- Oregon wins first ever NCAA Men's Basketball Championship in 1939

1939- On this day in Sports History, the first ever NCAA men’s basketball championship game was held with the University of Oregon beating The Ohio State University 46-33. The Oregon Ducks were led by coach Howard Hobson who went 29-5 that year which resulted in the first ever NCAA Men’s basketball tournament champions.

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament has turned into one the biggest sports events as “March Madness” captivates the nation to see who will survive and advance to become national champions. The tournament has come a long way since 1939 as it only consisted of eight teams, unlike the 68 team tournament today. The eight teams that competed in the first ever tournament were Oregon, Texas, Oklahoma, and Utah State in the West region and Villanova, Brown, Wake Forest, and Ohio State in the East region. Oregon beat Texas by a score of 56-41 to advance to the first ever Final Four along with Oklahoma, Villanova, and Ohio State. The Ducks would then beat Oklahoma 55-37 to meet Ohio State in the first ever championship game.

The 1939 national championship game was held in Evanston, Illinois at Patten Gymnasium on Northwestern University’s campus. Oregon was led by coach Howard Hobson while Ohio State was led by coach Harold Olsen. The Ducks won the game 46-33 behind John Dick who had 13 points and Laddie Gale and Bobby Anet who had 10. Ohio State was led by Jim Hull who, even with the loss, was named Most Outstanding Player after scoring 58 points in the NCAA tournament.

Despite being the first ever NCAA national champions, Oregon has not won the tournament since. They wouldn’t even reach another final four until 2017 when they lost 76-77 to North Carolina who would go on and win the national championship. Ohio State would eventually win their first ever national championship in 1960.

The first ever NCAA Women’s basketball tournament wouldn’t be held until 1982 when Louisiana Tech beat Cheyney 76-62 to become the first ever Women's national champions.

Oregon plays tomorrow, (March 28, 2021) in the Sweet Sixteen against USC as the Ducks look to win their second national championship in school history. The NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament has come a long way since Oregon’s one and only national championship which they won on this date in 1939.

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Pekale, Z. (2020, May 27). 1939 NCAA tournament: Bracket, SCORES, stats, records. Retrieved March 27, 2021 Editors. (2009, November 16). "March madness" Crowns its FIRST men's NCAA Champion. Retrieved March 27, 2021

University of Oregon Athletics. (2021, March 25). Ducks face familiar foe in sweet sixteen. Retrieved March 27, 2021

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