NCAA Tournament

Third national title in four years as scandal breaks over Big Blue

Before scandal broke, Rupp's program was rolling at such a level that he replaced the Fabulous Five-era players with a team that was, arguably, more talented.

The program's success in the late 1940s led to the construction of Memorial Coliseum, and the Cats christened the new facility with a 14-0 home record en route to the 1951 NCAA title.

In this era, Kentucky didn't recruit. Top players recruited Kentucky. The best from around the South and Midwest would come to Lexington to try to win favor and a scholarship from the great Rupp. The center on that 1951 team, 7-foot-1 Bill Spivey, was the product of one of those tryouts.

Spivey might have become the greatest of all UK hoops stars had he not been implicated in a point-shaving scandal (though, unlike Ralph Beard and Alex Groza, he always denied all involvement) and had his career cut short.

In the NCAA finals in Minneapolis, Cliff Hagan played despite a fever, and the Cats got 22 points and 21 rebounds from Spivey to beat Kansas State 68-58.

Herald-Leader staff report

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