On this day 71 years ago (March 26, 1949), the Kentucky Wildcats won their second NCAA basketball championship.
Led by head coach Adolph Rupp, the 1949 Wildcats captured their second consecutive national championship.
After wins vs. Villanova and Illinois in New York City to advance to the title game, the Wildcats defeated Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) 46-36 in front of 12,500 people at Edmundson Pavilion in Seattle, Washington, to claim the title.
Alex Groza led the way for the Wildcats. The 6-foot-7 All-American center scored 25 points before fouling out with five minutes remaining in the game. Groza was the unanimous choice for the “Player of the Tournament” award for the second consecutive tournament.
Following the win, Coach Rupp had this to say, “It was a tough game all the way. We had to play this one the hard way, almost to the finish. We beat a good team and we’re mighty happy about it.”
The Wildcats, who returned four players (Groza, Ralph Beard, Cliff Barker and Wallace ‘Wah Wah’ Jones) from the famous “Fabulous Five” team that won the 1948 championship, finished with a 32-2 overall record. They also added an SEC regular season championship and SEC Tournament title.