This was the year of the Fabulous Five. There was no Final Four as such, but Kentucky won the Southeastern Conference Tournament and traveled to New York for the NCAA competition in Madison Square Garden.
Kentucky's first opponent was Columbia, the Ivy League champion. Columbia entered the game with a 21-1 record, but Kentucky won the game 76-53. Next came Holy Cross, the defending national champion with a 23-3 record, an 18-game winning streak and Bob Cousy. Cousy was held to five points, and UK got 23 from Alex Groza and 13 from Ralph Beard to win 60-52.
The Wildcats (36-3) won the title by defeating Baylor 58-42 as Groza scored 14 points and Beard added 12. The Fabulous Five — Beard, Groza, Wallace "Wah Wah'' Jones, Kenny Rollins and Cliff Barker — were later selected to join the Phillips Oilers, an industrial league team, and other top college players to represent the United States in the London Olympics. The United States swept past eight opponents and defeated France 65-21 to win the gold medal.
Herald-Leader staff report