From the first 1939 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament finals…..when the Oregon Ducks beat the Ohio State Buckeyes by a score of 46 – 33…..to the 1989 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament finals…..when the Michigan Wolverines defeated the Seton Hall Pirates by a score of 80 – 79…..there have been 26 different schools to win the National Championship…..with Coach John Wooten’s UCLA Bruins winning the most titles at 10…..the Kentucky Wildcats with 5…..the Hoosiers of Indiana at 4…..with Oklahoma A & M, University of Cincinnatti, University of Louisville, Kansas University, San Francisco University, North Carolina State and the University of North Carolina having won 2 each…..representing the 10 schools that won multiple championships during the first 50 years of the tournament.
When it comes to who was my favorite championship team during the 1st 50 years of the NCAA Tournament from 1939 – 1989…..well, it was the Miners from little known Texas Western College in El Paso, Texas….led by Hall of Fame Coach Don Haskins to the championship of the 1966 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament ….with a 72–65 victory over mighty Kentucky University….led by Hall of Fame Coach Adolph Rupp. This game is considered one of the most important in the history of college basketball….as it marked the first time that a team with five African-American starters won a title game…..as their opponents that day were a Kentucky team that had no African-American players….for this was during the period of the Civil Rights Movement. This title team from Texas Western has been chronicled throughout the American media….including the book “When the Walls Came Tumbling Down” by Frank Fitzpatrick….and the 2006 Disney movie Glory Road.
The team was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.