Kansas is the true epicenter for the sport of basketball. March Madness is the best time of year for college basketball.
See where we are going with this? The stories of Kansas basketball are legendary and when you mix that in with the frenzy that is college basketball in March you can’t help but have some of the greatest events in the sports’ long history.
The University of Kansas has appeared in 15 Final Fours, the fifth most of all-time, and claims five NCAA titles. Kansas State has been in four Final Fours, the last time was in 1964.
Kansas sports fans don’t have any legal options to get their fix. But there is still optimism that we could see some form of online gambling in Kansas on the voting ballot this year.
In the meantime, here are some of the greatest March Madness moments in Kansas history.
No. 1 1957 March Madness: A megaphone, Wilt and triple overtime
You read about this game today and think about how crazy the media would have been had it existed the way it does now. It was the 1957 NCAA Tournament championship game played at the Kansas City Municipal Auditorium between Wilt Chamberlain and the Kansas Jayhawks and North Carolina.
The 7-foot-1 Chamberlain was a force never before seen in the basketball world, and the Jayhawks were favored even though the Tar Heels were undefeated. The game went back and forth in regulation and ended tied at 46.
Remember, no shot clock back then. In the first overtime, both teams held the ball and only scored one basket. The second overtime is where this game took a turn forever.
Both teams were conservative with the ball. No one scored, but at one point there was an altercation between the teams. Chamberlain was slugged in the stomach with a megaphone by a UNC cheerleader. Read that sentence again.
Today ESPN would make a documentary of the moment. Chamberlain missed both free throws.
In the third overtime, North Carolina’s Joe Quigg made two free throws to seal the win for the Tar Heels. It was their first national title. Chamberlain would call it the most disappointing defeat in his basketball career.
No. 2 1988 March Madness: Danny and the Miracles
No one thought much of Kansas’ chances in the 1988 NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks finished third in the Big 8 and were seeded sixth at 22-11. They had star Danny Manning and little else.
Then a Miracle. The Jayhawks got hot, beating Xavier and Murray State in the first two rounds. They played Kansas State in the Elite Eight for the fourth time that season and knocked them off 71-58.
Then in Kemper Arena in Kansas City, they met Oklahoma for the national title. Oklahoma had beaten Kansas twice in the regular season.
The two teams played at a ridiculously fast pace in the first half and were tied at 50. In the second, Manning led the way for Kansas. The nickname Danny and the Miracles was born.
No. 3 2008 March Madness: The shot
Around Kansas basketball, just mention Mario Chalmers, and everyone smiles. The Jayhawks were in trouble in the 2008 NCAA Championship game against Memphis, but the Tigers got cold at the free-throw line, giving Kansas one last shot.
After Memphis star Derrick Rose made one of two shots to give the Tigers a 63-60 lead, Sherron Collins flew into the frontcourt. Seemingly out of control, he hands the ball off to Chalmers who dribbles once, pivots, and drains a game-tying three-point shot with 2.1 seconds left.
Kansas dominated the overtime to win 75-68 to earn Coach Bill Self’s national title.
No. 4 2018 March Madness: Hello, Newman
You can’t talk about March Madness without talking about Duke. The Blue Devils and Kansas got together for the best game of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
The regional final saw 18 lead changes and 11 ties. It went to overtime tied at 72 as Duke star Grayson Allen’s shot at the buzzer just bounced off.
In the overtime, it was all Malik Newman. He scored all 13 of the Jayhawks points and a team that Self called “soft” earlier in the year bulled their way to an 85-81 victory.
No. 5 1966 March Madness: Is he on the line?
This one is for old-school Kansas basketball fans. The Jayhawks were a favorite in 1966 to win the NCAA title and ran into Texas Western in the Midwest Regional Finals.
At the end of the first overtime, Kansas All-American Jo Jo White made a basket from near the sidelines to give Kansas the win.
However, the officials ruled he had stepped out of bounds, so the shot did not count. A photograph of the moment shows a shadow under White’s foot indicating while his foot may have been over the sideline, it may not have been on it.
Texas Western (now Texas-El Paso) would go on to win 81-80 in double overtime and became remembered as the first NCAA basketball team with five African-American starters to win the national title.
Photo Credit: William P. Straeter / Associated Press