1947 College Basketball Recap
Arnie Ferrin and little Wat Misaka, two of the Blitz Kids of '44, mustered out of the service and back to Utah for the 1946–47 season to lead the Utes to another championship—this time the NIT. In the process, they became the first two collegians ever to play for NCAA and NIT-winning teams.
In wasn't easy. Employing the deliberate playing style that yielded a 16–5 regular season record, Utah came to New York and squeezed out wins over Duquesne (by 1), West Virginia (by 2) and defending NIT champ Kentucky (by 4) in the title game. Ferrin and MVP Vern Gardner each scored 15 against UK, but it was Misaka's handcuffing of the Wildcats' Ralph Beard (1 point) that did the trick. Kentucky had come into the final with 34 wins and an average winning score of 73–37.
In the NCAAs, Holy Cross borrowed a page from the 1944 Utah playbook and won the championship as orphans. With no place large enough to play in Worcester, Mass., coach Doggie Julian's Crusaders went 24–3 on the road and came into the tourament on a 20–game win streak. At the Final Two in New York, Holy Cross, led by 18 year-old sophomore forward George Kaftan, beat Gerry Tucker and Oklahoma, 58–47. That NCAA title is still the only one ever won by a New England school.