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NCAAM Basketball – 1988 – National Championship Finals – Kansas Jayhawks Vs Oklahoma Sooners


The 1987-88 Kansas University Jayhawks men’s basketball team was led by Coach Larry Brown….as they won the national title with an 83–79 victory in the final game over Big Eight Conference rival Oklahoma University Sooners….coached by Billy Tubbs….whereby as of 2018….this was the last national championship game to feature two schools from the same conference. 

Danny Manning of Kansas was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player….and even though the Final Four was contested only 40 miles from the Kansas campus in Lawrence, Kansas….the Jayhawks entered the game as a long shot against the top rated Sooners….mainly because Oklahoma had previously easily defeated the Jayhawks twice during that season…..while at home in Norman, Oklahoma and on the road in Kansas’ Allen Field house….a notoriously difficult place to win as a visiting team. Kansas’s upset was the third biggest point-spread upset in Championship Game history.  After this upset, the 1988 Kansas team was remembered as “Danny and the Miracles”…..along with the Jayhawks’ improbable tournament run after an 11-loss season….which are still today the most ever by a national champion.  In the last three games of the NCAA tournament, the Jayhawks avenged their three home losses to Kansas State, Duke, and Oklahoma.  

The Oklahoma Sooners men’s basketball team played its home games in the Lloyd Noble Center….and was a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) former Big Eight Conference at that time. The team posted a 35–4 overall record…along with a 12–2 conference record to earn the Conference title under head coach Billy Tubbs. This was the third Big Eight Conference Regular Season Championship for Tubbs and his second Big Eight Conference Tournament Championship. 

The team was led by three future NBA Draft first round selections in C Harvey Grant, F Stacey King and G Mookie Blaylock…..as Grant and King earned All-American recognition that season. The team won its first 14 games before losing back to back contests to unranked LSU and Kansas State….but then the team won 12 consecutive games before falling to unranked Missouri in overtime in its penultimate regular season game. The team then ran off 9 more wins taking it to the championship game of the 1988 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament….when it entered the game ranked #1 in the country before losing to Kansas in the finals. The team defeated all five ranked opponents it faced during the season…. including #6 Pitt, #12 Iowa State twice, a rematch against #14 Kansas State and #2 Arizona in the final four…..as Mookie Blaylock established the current NCAA single-season steals (150) record….along with the single-game steals (13) records.….while Stacey King set the current Oklahoma Sooners men’s basketball single-season blocked shots (103) record…..and Ricky Grace set the single-season assists (280) record. The team holds numerous Sooner records including wins (35), and points per game (102.5). 

To say this this was a big upset is truly an understatement….cuz the Sooners were dynamic….but this game is a perfect example of why March Madness is so popular in America….cuz you just never know…. as every now and then a great basketball mind with one great player can take home all the marbles.  CAN YOU SAY DANNY AND THE MIRACLES!?! 

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