1956 College Basketball Recap
Defending national champion San Francisco staked its claim as the best college basketball team ever in 1955–56. The Dons entered the season on a 26–game winning streak and exited with a record 55 in a row by becoming the first undefeated team (29–0) ever to win the NCAA title.
All four of USF's tourney opponents were ranked—No.8 UCLA, No.18 Utah, No.7 SMU and No.4 Iowa—and the Dons beat them all by at least 11 points. Iowa, the Big Ten champ for the second straight year, came into the NCAA final on a 17–game win streak of its own before losing, 83–71.
USF center Bill Russell might have cinched his second tournament Most Outstanding Player award if Temple's 5-11 Hal Lear hadn't scored 160 point in five games. But the defensive-minded Russell was everybody's Player of the year and established such an intimidating court presence that following the season, the NCAA passed the so-called “Russell-Rule,” extending the foul lane from six to 12 feet.
Second-ranked N.C. State (24–3) was expected to challenge USF for the NCAA title, until unranked Canisius upset them in the opening round in four overtimes.
Finally, Kansas coach Phog Allen retired with a 48–year record of 746–264