1957 College Basketball Recap
North Carolina became the first team from the Old South to win the NCAA tournament, but the Tar Heels did it with a roster full of Irish Catholic Yankees (and one Jew) from coach Frank McGuire's hometown of New York City.
They also did it by winning two triple overtime games in less than 24 hours at the Final Four and beating Wilt Chamberlain in the title game.
Paced by All-America forward Lennie Rosenbluth and guard Pete Brennan, the top-ranked Heels had to outlast Michigan State, 74–70, in three extra periods on March 22 and then do battle with Chamberlain and No.2 Kansas on March 23.
The first No.1 vs No.2 championship game since 1949 reached halftime with Carolina in front 29–22, but Kansas rallied in the second half to lead 44–41 with 1:45 left. Despite losing Rosenbluth on fouls, the Tar Heels came back to tie the score (46–46) in regulation and force the first title game overtime in tourney history. The Heels finally won it in the third extra period when Joe Quigg sank two foul shots with six seconds left. Chamberlain, a sophomore, led all scorers with 23 points and was named MVP.
Elsewhere, San Francisco had its three-season win streak snapped at 60 by Illinois (62–33), but made it back to the Final Four and placed third.