1956 NCAA Basketball Tournament

The 1956 NCAA Basketball Tournament involved 25 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA college basketball. It began on March 12, 1956, and ended with the championship game on March 24 on Northwestern University's campus in Evanston, Illinois. A total of 29 games were played, including a third-place game in each region and a national third-place game.

1956 NCAA Basketball Tournament
Finals siteMcGaw Hall
Evanston, Illinois
ChampionsSan Francisco Dons (2nd title, 2nd title game,
2nd Final Four)
Runner-upIowa Hawkeyes (1st title game,
2nd Final Four)
Winning coachPhil Woolpert (2nd title)
MOPHal Lear (Temple)
Top scorerHal Lear Temple
(160 points)
NCAA Division I Men's Tournaments
«1955 1957»

The 1955–56 season was the last in which only one NCAA Tournament was held. Effective in 1956–57, the NCAA divided its membership into two competitive levels. The larger and more competitive athletic programs were placed in the University Division, and smaller programs in the College Division. Accordingly, that season would see separate tournaments contested in the University and College Divisions. In 1973, the University Division would be renamed NCAA Division I, while the College Division would be split into today's Divisions II and III.

This was the first NCAA tournament in which the four regionals were given distinct names, although the concept of four regional winners advancing to a single site for the "Final Four" had been introduced in 1952.

San Francisco, coached by Phil Woolpert, won the national title with an 83–71 victory in the final game over Iowa, coached by Bucky O'Connor. Hal Lear of Temple was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.


Round Region Site Venue
First Round East New York, New York Madison Square Garden
Far West Seattle, Washington Hec Edmundson Pavilion
Midwest Fort Wayne, Indiana Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
West Wichita, Kansas U. of Wichita Field House
Regionals East Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The Palestra
Far West Corvallis, Oregon Oregon State Coliseum
Midwest Iowa City, Iowa Iowa Field House
West Lawrence, Kansas Allen Fieldhouse
Final Four Evanston, Illinois McGaw Memorial Hall

For the second time, the city of Evanston, Illinois hosted the Final Four. For the first time, a repeat host city used a different venue, this time using McGaw Memorial Hall, the second replacement for the original Patten Gym, home of the 1939 final. The tournament saw two new venues, both in the state of Kansas, and both of which would join in rotation with Ahearn Field House as host of the Midwestern final for most of the next decade. In its first year of operation, Allen Field House on the campus of the University of Kansas hosted tournament games for the first time, acting as the West regional site. And also in the West region, the University of Wichita Field House, also in its first year of operation, hosted the first-round game. This tournament would also mark the final tournament to include the Allen County War Memorial Arena; neither the arena, which is still in operation, nor the city have hosted since.


Region Team Coach Finished Final Opponent Score
East Canisius Joseph Curran Regional Runner-up Temple L 60–58
East Connecticut Hugh Greer Regional Fourth Place Dartmouth L 85–64
East Dartmouth Doggie Julian Regional Third Place Connecticut W 85–64
East Holy Cross Roy Leenig First round Temple L 74–72
East Manhattan Ken Norton First round Connecticut L 84–75
East NC State Everett Case First round Canisius L 79–78
East Temple Harry Litwack Third Place SMU W 90–81
East West Virginia Fred Schaus First round Dartmouth L 61–59
Far West
Far West Idaho State Steve Belko First round Seattle L 68–66
Far West San Francisco Phil Woolpert Champion Iowa W 83–71
Far West Seattle Al Brightman Regional Fourth Place UCLA L 94–70
Far West UCLA John Wooden Regional Third Place Seattle W 94–70
Far West Utah Jack Gardner Regional Runner-up San Francisco L 92–77
Midwest DePaul Ray Meyer First round Wayne State (MI) L 72–63
Midwest Iowa Bucky O'Connor Runner Up San Francisco L 83–71
Midwest Kentucky Adolph Rupp Regional Runner-up Iowa L 89–77
Midwest Marshall Jule Rivlin First round Morehead State L 107–92
Midwest Morehead State Bobby Laughlin Regional Third Place Wayne State (MI) W 95–84
Midwest Wayne State (MI) Joel Mason Regional Fourth Place Morehead State L 95–84
West Houston Alden Pasche Regional Fourth Place Kansas State L 89–70
West Kansas State Tex Winter Regional Third Place Houston W 89–70
West Memphis State Eugene Lambert First round Oklahoma City L 97–81
West Oklahoma City Abe Lemons Regional Runner-up SMU L 84–63
West SMU Doc Hayes Fourth Place Temple L 90–81
West Texas Tech Polk Robison First round SMU L 68–67


* – Denotes overtime period

East RegionEdit

Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
Connecticut 84
Manhattan 75
Connecticut 59
Temple 65
Temple 74
Holy Cross 72
Temple 60
Canisius 58
Dartmouth 61
West Virginia 59*
Dartmouth 58
Canisius 66
Canisius 79
NC State 78****

Midwest RegionEdit

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
    Iowa 97  
      Morehead State 83  
Morehead State 107
  Marshall 92  
      Iowa 89
    Kentucky 77
  Kentucky 84
      Wayne State 64  
Wayne State (MI) 72
  DePaul 63  

West RegionEdit

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
    Houston 74  
      SMU 89  
SMU 68
  Texas Tech 67  
      SMU 84
    Oklahoma City 63
  Kansas State 93
      Oklahoma City 97  
Oklahoma City 97
  Memphis State 81  

Far West RegionEdit

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
    Utah 81  
      Seattle 72  
Seattle 68
  Idaho State 66  
      Utah 77
    San Francisco 92
  San Francisco 72
      UCLA 61  

Final FourEdit

National Semifinals National Championship Game
E Temple 76
MW Iowa 83
MW Iowa 71
FW San Francisco 83
W SMU 68
FW San Francisco 86

National Third Place GameEdit

National Third Place Game [1]
Temple 90
SMU 81

Regional Third Place GamesEdit

See alsoEdit


  • Canisius's first-round victory over the second-ranked North Carolina State Wolfpack, considered by many to be among the top ten upsets in tournament history,[2][3] set a record for most overtime periods in a Division I Men's tournament game with four, a record that still stands as of 2015 (tied once, in 1961).[4]
  • Northwestern University previously hosted the first ever NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game on March 27, 1939, in the first Patten Gym.[5]


  1. ^ "1954 NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracket". Retrieved October 14, 2011.
  2. ^ http://espn.go.com/page2/s/list/ncaatourneyupset.html
  3. ^ Top 25 Upsets in NCAA Tournament History--#5, Prepticket.com. Accessed 2009-04-02. Archived 2009-05-04.
  4. ^ The Sports Network. "The Sports Network – Men's College Basketball". Archived from the original on 2011-05-26. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
  5. ^ 1939 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament