1961 NCAA Tournament
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1961 NCAA Tournament
1961 NCAA University Division
Basketball Tournament
Finals siteMunicipal Auditorium
Kansas City, Missouri
ChampionsCincinnati Bearcats (1st title, 1st title game,
3rd Final Four)
Runner-upOhio State Buckeyes (3rd title game,
6th Final Four)
Winning coachEd Jucker (1st title)
MOPJerry Lucas (Ohio State)
Top scorerBilly McGill Utah
(119 points)

The 1961 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament involved 24 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball in the United States. It began on March 14, 1961, and ended with the championship game on March 25 in Kansas City, Missouri. A total of 28 games were played, including a third place game in each region and a national third place game.

Cincinnati, coached by Ed Jucker, won the national title with a 70-65 victory in the final game over state rival Ohio State, coached by Fred Taylor. Jerry Lucas of Ohio State was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

The national third place game, won by Saint Joseph's over Utah by the score of 127-120 in four overtimes, tied the record for the longest game in NCAA Division I tournament history, set in 1956 in a first-round game between Canisius and North Carolina State. As of the regional finals of the 2019 tournament, no NCAA Division I tournament games since then have gone to a fourth overtime period.[1] Saint Joseph's victory was later vacated because of the 1961 gambling scandal.[2]


Round Region Site Venue Host(s)
First Round East New York, New York Madison Square Garden St. John's
Mideast Louisville, Kentucky Freedom Hall Louisville
Midwest Houston, Texas Delmar Fieldhouse Houston/Rice/Texas Southern
West Portland, Oregon Memorial Coliseum Portland
Regionals East Charlotte, North Carolina Charlotte Coliseum UNCC
Mideast Louisville, Kentucky Freedom Hall Louisville
Midwest Lawrence, Kansas Allen Fieldhouse Kansas
West Portland, Oregon Memorial Coliseum Portland
Final Four Kansas City, Missouri Municipal Auditorium UMKC

The Final Four would return to the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City for the record eighth time. Only one on-campus venue, Allen Fieldhouse, was used, along with two off-campus sites in Louisville and Houston. This would be the last tournament until| 1986 where the majority of venues were not regular hosts of college teams. There were two new venues used in the 1961 tournament. For the first time, the tournament came to the city of Houston, with games played at Delmar Fieldhouse, then the home for the Houston Cougars. This would be the first of five venues in the city to host games, with a sixth, the Toyota Center, slated to host games in 2020. The West Regional and two quarterfinal games were held at the brand new Memorial Coliseum in Portland, the second time the city had hosted games. The Memorial Coliseum was one of two venues, along with Freedom Hall, to host three rounds of the tournament in 1961. This would be the only year to feature Delmar Fieldhouse, and the last of sixteen seasons in nineteen years that the old Madison Square Garden in New York City would host games. The city would return to the tournament in nine years, when Alumni Hall on the St. John's campus hosted first-round games. However, it would take until 2014 for the tournament to return to the third MSG's successor.


Region Team Coach Finished Final Opponent Score
East George Washington Bill Reinhart First round Princeton L 84-67
East Princeton Jake McCandless Regional Fourth Place St. Bonaventure L 85-67
East Rhode Island Ernie Calverley First round St. Bonaventure L 86-76
East St. Bonaventure Eddie Donovan Regional Third Place Princeton W 85-67
East St. John's Joe Lapchick First round Wake Forest L 97-74
East Saint Joseph's Jack Ramsay Third Place Utah W 127-120 (4OT)
East Wake Forest Bones McKinney Regional Runner-up Saint Joseph's L 96-86
Mideast Kentucky Adolph Rupp Regional Runner-up Ohio State L 87-74
Mideast Louisville Peck Hickman Regional Third Place Morehead State W 83-61
Mideast Morehead State Robert Laughlin Regional Fourth Place Louisville L 83-61
Mideast Ohio James Snyder First round Louisville L 76-70
Mideast Ohio State Fred Taylor Runner Up Cincinnati L 70-65
Mideast Xavier Jim McCafferty First round Morehead State L 71-66
Midwest Cincinnati Ed Jucker Champion Ohio State W 70-65
Midwest Houston Guy Lewis Regional Fourth Place Texas Tech L 69-67
Midwest Kansas State Tex Winter Regional Runner-up Cincinnati L 69-64
Midwest Marquette Eddie Hickey First round Houston L 77-61
Midwest Texas Tech Polk Robison Regional Third Place Houston W 69-67
West Arizona State Ned Wulk Regional Runner-up Utah L 88-80
West Loyola (Los Angeles) William Donovan Regional Third Place USC W 69-67
West Oregon Steve Belko First round USC L 81-79
West Seattle Vince Cazzetta First round Arizona State L 72-70
West USC Forrest Twogood Regional Fourth Place Loyola (Los Angeles) L 69-67
West Utah Jack Gardner Fourth Place Saint Joseph's L 127-120 (4OT)


* - Denotes overtime period

East region

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
    Saint Joseph's 72  
      Princeton 67  
  Princeton 84
    George Washington 67  
      Saint Joseph's 96
    Wake Forest 86
    St. Bonaventure 86  
  Rhode Island 76  
  St. Bonaventure 73
      Wake Forest 78  
  Wake Forest 97
    St. John's 74  

Mideast region

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
    Ohio State 56  
      Louisville 55  
  Louisville 76
    Ohio 70  
      Ohio State 87
    Kentucky 74
  Kentucky 71
      Morehead State 64  
  Morehead State 71
    Xavier 66  

Midwest region

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
    Kansas State 75  
      Houston 64  
  Houston 77
    Marquette 61  
      Kansas State 64
    Cincinnati 69
  Cincinnati 78
      Texas Tech 55  

West region

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
    Utah 91  
      Loyola (Los Angeles) 75  
      Utah 88
    Arizona State 80
    Arizona State 72  
  Seattle 70  
  Arizona State 86
      USC 71  
  USC 81
    Oregon 79  

Final Four

National Semifinals National Championship Game
E Saint Joseph's 69
ME Ohio State 95
ME Ohio State 65*
MW Cincinnati 70
MW Cincinnati 82
W Utah 67

National Third Place Game

National Third Place Game[3]
E Saint Joseph's 127
W Utah 120****

Regional Third Place Games

See also


  1. ^ The Sports Network. "The Sports Network - Men's College Basketball". Archived from the original on 2011-05-26. Retrieved .
  2. ^ http://www.umich.edu/~mgoblue/compliance/gambling/literature.html
  3. ^ "1954 NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracket". Retrieved 2011.

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