1958 College Basketball Recap
Sophomores Jerry West of West Virginia and Oscar Robertson of Cincinnati burst on the scene in 1957–58 and led their teams to the top of the final AP Top 25.
West and the Mountaineers were 26–1 through the regular season, winning their fourth straight Southern Conference title. Cincinnati was 24–2 and conference champ in its first year as a member of the Missouri Valley, while Robertson became the first soph ever to lead the nation in scoring (35.1) and gain Player of the Year honors. Come the NCAAs, however, both teams lost their opening games—West Virginia to unranked Manhattan and Cincinnati to No.3 Kansas State.
The eventual national champion turned out to be ninth-ranked Kentucky, giving coach Adolph Rupp four NCAA titles. The Wildcats reached the Final Four in Louisville, then proceeded to slip past Temple, 61–60, in the semifinals and beat Elgin Baylor and Seattle by 12 for the championship.
Wilt Chamberlain and Kansas, NCAA finalists in 1957, lost the Big Eight crown to Kansas State and didn't make it back for the '58 tournament. Wilt then decided not to return for the 1958–59 season and signed with the Harlem Globetrotters for $65,000.
In the NIT, unranked Xavier of Ohio, which entered the tourney just four games over .500, upset defending champion and No.14 Bradley in the quarterfinals and did the same to No.11 Dayton in the finals—winning 78–74 in overtime.