Kansas' college basketball championships
Kansas has won four NCAA men's Division I college basketball championships:
- 2022 (defeated North Carolina, 72-69)
- 2008 (defeated Memphis, 75-68 (OT))
- 1988 (defeated Oklahoma, 83-79)
- 1952 (defeated St. John's, 80-63)
The following is a season-by-season look at each of these championships, including stats, rosters, full-game replays and a game-by-game recap of each season.
We begin with the 1951-52 season. The Jayhawks were coached by Phog Allen, after whom Kansas' fieldhouse is now named. It was Allen's 33rd season at the school and Allen had led Kansas to the 1940 national championship in just the second year of the NCAA tournament. Kansas previously had just two losing seasons and two .500 seasons under Allen, while going 17-1 in 1923 and 1925, and 16-1 in 1934. So Kansas had been among the nation's best but didn't have a national championship to show for it.
Here's everything you need to know about Kansas' first national championship team.
Coach: Phog Allen
Conference: Big 7
Record: 28-3 (11-1)
Conference Finish: 1st
Kansas' roster turnover before the 1951-52 season
Kansas went 16-8 (8-4 Big 7) in the 1950-51 season, peaking at No. 10 in the AP poll. Three of the Jayhawks' eight losses came against top-10 opponents and their final game of the season was a 37-27 win over No. 2 Oklahoma State in their regular-season finale.
The Jayhawks experienced tremendous roster turnover after the 1951 season.
Kansas lost 12 players from its 1950-51 roster, but just one of its top five scorers: guard Jerry Waugh.
- Jerry Waugh, 5-11, guard: 6.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg
- Dale Engel, 6-1, guard: 1.1 ppg, 0.8 rpg
- Sonny Enns, 6-0, forward: 1.0 ppg, 0.6 rpg
- Clinton Bull, 6-1, forward: 0.8 ppg, 0.6 rpg
- Bill Schaake, 6-2, forward: 1.1 ppg,1.0 rpg
- Ken Buller, 5-11, guard: 0.5 ppg, 0.4 rpg
- Wally Beck, 6-3, guard: 0.3 ppg
- Harold Lowe, 6-2, forward: 1.5 ppg
- Jack Rodgers, 6-0, forward: 0.6 ppg
- Aubrey Linville, 6-1, forward: 0.0 ppg
- Mark Rivard, 5-8, guard: 0.0 ppg
- Don Woodson, 6-0, forward: 0.0 ppg
Kansas then added eight players to its roster in the fall of 1951:
- B.H. Born
- Bill Heitholt
- Larry Davenport
- Everett Dye
- LaVannes Squires
- Wes Johnson
- Jerry Alberts
- Al Kelley
Kansas' roster from the 1951-52 season
Kansas' player stats from the 1951-52 season
Kansas' AP Top 25 poll rankings from 1951-52
The 1952 NCAA tournament bracket
Kansas beat St. John's 80-63 to win the national title. The Jayhawks' Clyde Lovellette won Most Outstanding Player and led all players with 141 points.
Illinois and Santa Clara also reached the Final Four in Seattle, Washington.
1952 NCAA tournament: Bracket
Kansas' complete 1951-52 schedule breakdown
Dec. 3, 1951 – Kansas 57, Baylor 46
"Kansas never was in trouble, but didn't — or couldn't — apply much pressure tonight as the Jayhawks opened their basketball campaign with a 57 to 46 victory over the Baylor Bears," wrote The Kansas City Times' Bob Busby. Kansas made 21-of-26 free throws in the win as the Jayhawks led by as many as 16, 36-20.
Dec. 8, 1951 – Kansas 84, Denver 53
The Jayhawks set a single-game scoring record with 84 points, breaking the previous record of 79, which the school had reached in 1949 and 1950. "Denver opened the scoring with six-foot-six center Dale Toft tipping one in," reported the UP. "But Kansas quickly went into a lead that never was in danger."
Dec. 10, 1951 – Kansas 65, Creighton 47
Kansas center Clyde Lovellette scored 14 points in the fourth quarter after scoring just 11 points in the first three quarters to lead the Jayhawks to a win in Omaha.
Dec. 14, 1951 – Kansas 74, SMU 51
Clyde Lovellette scored 42 points on 18-of-30 shooting, plus 6-of-7 from the free-throw line, as he finished with just nine fewer points than SMU. "The Methodists couldn't come close to handling him," the AP reported. "Lovellette controlled the ball off the backboards all evening."
Dec. 15, 1951 – Kansas 58, SMU 57
"Southern Methodist's Mustangs came close to pulling the basketball upset of the young season tonight before falling to the potent Kansas Jayhawks, 58 to 57, in the finale minute of play," reported the AP. Bob Keeney's free throw gave Kansas a one-point lead and the Jayhawks played keep-away for the entire last minute to hang on.
Dec. 18, 1951 – Kansas 68, Rice 48
Kansas entered the game ranked No. 7 in the AP poll and the Jayhawks maintained a double-digit lead for most of the game. "But even so it was a rather dull, yawning exhibition," wrote The Kansas City Times' Bob Busby. Clyde Lovellette scored 24 points, including 15 after halftime, while Bob Kenney had 17.
Dec. 22, 1951 – Kansas 76, Southern California 55
"Center Clyde Lovellette scored 30 points on every type of shot to keep his season average at 28 points per game," reported the UP. "A new modern school free-throw record was set by the six-foot-nine Lovellette as he sank 12."
Dec. 26, 1951 – Kansas 76, Colorado 56
The Jayhawks shot 59 percent from the field as Clyde Lovellette scored 23 and Bob Kenney added 21 in the first round of the Big Seven tournament.
Dec. 28, 1951 – Kansas 90, Kansas State 88 (OT)
Kansas found itself leading by 19 points but allowed Kansas State to fight back to tie the game at 80 before the Jayhawks won by two in overtime in the semifinals of the Big Seven tournament. "Clyde Lovellette of Kansas, possessor of the nation's best scoring average, was a hero again, getting twenty-seven points, but he shared the laurels liberally with a hustling set of teammates, who played their best game of the season," reported The Kansas City Times.
Dec. 29, 1951 – Kansas 75, Missouri 65
The Kansas City Times reported that Kansas was "never behind, but always on the brink of trouble," in the Big Seven tournament championship. Clyde Lovellette scored 26 points but he was ejected with 3:02 left in the game after reportedly stepping on Missouri's Winfred Wilfong. The closest Missouri got to Kansas was shortly after halftime when the Tigers cut it to 21-20.
Jan. 5, 1952 – Kansas 71, Oklahoma 48
Kansas scored a record 71 points against Oklahoma as Clyde Lovellette scored 25 points on 11-of-19 shooting in the Jayhawks' 11th win in a row of the season and 14th consecutive dating back to the previous season. "While the Jayhawkers never were in trouble, the Sooners managed to remain pesky," wrote The Kansas City Star's Bob Busby.
Jan. 12, 1952 – Kansas 60, Missouri 59
"Kansas' unbeaten record was almost blacked out Saturday night as the No. 1 ranked Jayhawk cagers came from behind in the final minutes to defeat Missouri, 60-59," reported the AP. "Dean Kelley dropped in a fielder from the corner of the court in the closing seconds to give the Jayhawks their margin."
Jan. 14, 1952 – Kansas 69, Nebraska 66
The Jayhawks stalled for the last 66 seconds of the game to hold off Nebraska. "And for Nebraska's Cornhuskers it was a valiant display of utter disregard for the national standing of the visitors," wrote The Lincoln Star's Don Bryant. "There was never a doubt in anyone's mind throughout the evening that Lovellette was anything by an All-America basketball player. His hook shot was indefensible and he topped the scorers with 24 points."
Jan. 26, 1952 – Kansas State 81, Kansas 64
Kansas lost its first game of the season as Kansas State took over the lead in the Big Seven standings. "The game was not much of a contest after the first half," reported the AP.
Jan. 30, 1952 – Oklahoma State 49, Kansas 45
Kansas lost back-to-back games as the Jayhawks' 43-38 lead was lost as the Cowboys went on an 8-0 run, then they held the Jayhawks to two points in the final 10 minutes. Clyde Lovellette scored a team-high 18 points but an ankle injury forced him to leave the game in the final minute. "Kansas," reported The Kansas City Times, "never could pull away despite a leading position almost all the way."
Feb. 2, 1952 – Kansas 86, Iowa State 68
On a night in which Clyde Lovellette only scored 17 points before fouling out at the end of the third quarter, Bob Kenney led the way with 24 points and Kansas set a new Big Seven scoring record with 86 points.
Feb. 4, 1952 – Kansas 73, Colorado 68
"Phog Allen's Jayhawkers, getting a sizzling performance from scoring marvel Clyde Lovellette, outlasted an inspired Colorado team, 73-68, at Lawrence last night," reported the AP. "And the game was closer than the score indicates."
Feb. 11, 1952 – Kansas 55, Iowa State 50
The game was tied through three quarters and despite Clyde Lovellette and B.H. Born fouling out in the second half, Kansas pulled ahead and win by five thanks to Bill Hougland and Bob Kenney. Lovellette scored 11 points in a row in the first quarter to help Kansas take a 21-9 lead but he finished with just 13 points.
Feb. 16, 1952 – Kansas 90, Nebraska 52
Kansas climbed to just a half-game behind Kansas State in the Big Seven standings thanks to a blowout win over Nebraska in which the Jayhawks tied the school scoring record. Clyde Lovellette had 36 points in the win. "Lovellette's individual feat paralleled the last-quarter team crescendo," reported The Kansas City Star. "He hit eight, six and seven points in the first three periods and then loosed a 15-point outburst in the slam-bang finale."
Feb. 19, 1952 – Kansas 66, Oklahoma State 46
Kansas coach Phog Allen earned his 700th career win "but he's too interested in the Big Seven conference stretch drive to do much gloating about it," reported the AP. Kansas' 66 points were the most in 31 games between the two schools, breaking the previous record of 49. Clyde Lovellette scored 27 points after never scoring more than 18 against Oklahoma State.
Feb. 25, 1952 – Kansas 65, Missouri 54
Thanks to an off night for Kansas State, Kansas reclaimed the Big Seven lead as it improved to 8-1 in the conference with a win over Missouri, while Kansas State was a half-game behind at 7-1. Clyde Lovellette broke the Kansas scoring record with 550 points after scoring 29 against Missouri. "While Lovellette maintained his national scoring pace, he had what was for him a fairly rough night," reported the AP. "He connected for only 12 of 34 shots or 35 per cent [sic]."
March 1, 1952 – Kansas 74, Oklahoma 55
The Jayhawks shot a blistering 57.7 percent on 30-of-52 shooting as Clyde Lovellette led the way with 30 points. Bob Kenney, the national leader in free throw shooting, missed the game with strep throat but Kansas still had "the most magnificent shooting exhibition ever seen here in the 24-year history of the Oklahoma fieldhouse," reported The Kansas City Star.
March 7, 1952 – Kansas 78, Kansas State 61
Kansas moved one step closer to clinching an outright Big Seven championship and a spot in the western NCAA playoffs by beating rival Kansas State. Clyde Lovellette scored 33 points. The Jayhawks earned at least a share of the conference title with the win. "In the event of a tie for the title, Kansas and Kansas State will meet in a playoff game for the western NCAA bid at Hutchinson, Kan., Junior College next week-end [sic]," reported the AP.
March 10, 1952 – Kansas 72, Colorado 55
On a big night in Lawrence, Kansas, the Jayhawks clinched the Big Seven championship outright and an NCAA berth as Clyde Lovellette set a record with 41 points. "The onslaught virtually assured Lovellette of the national scoring title since he needed only twenty-seven tallies to maintain his average which had led the national all but one week," reported The Kansas City Times.
March 21, 1952 (NCAA tournament) – Kansas 68, TCU 64
"Both favorites, Kansas and St. Louis, advanced to tonight's title round of the N.C.A.A. sectional play-off in the Municipal Auditorium, but not without experiencing troubles as both the Jayhawks and the Billikens had their ragged moments," reported The Kansas City Times. Clyde Lovellette set a Western playoff scoring record with 31 points, including a personal 6-0 run that helped the Jayhawks lead 68-54, before TCU ended the game on a 10-0 run.
March 22, 1952 (NCAA tournament) – Kansas 74, Saint Louis 55
Saint Louis led Kansas in the first quarter but the game was tied at halftime before the Jayhawks pulled away in the second half to win by 19. "Clyde Lovellette, heralded as the greatest big man in basketball, did a convincing job of living up to his billing last night as he dumped in a record total of forty-four points," reported The Kansas City Star. Lovellette made 16-of-24 shots in the game as Kansas shot 52 percent for the game.
March 25, 1952 (NCAA tournament) – Kansas 74, Santa Clara 55
"[Clyde] Lovellette, with 18 points in the first half and in the last two periods, paced a Jayhawk attack that ran up a 24-point lead early in the first quarter at 65 to 41," reported the AP. "A belated rally by the Broncos against a reserve-studded Kansas team brought the Californians within 12 points at 66 to 54 with four minutes to play, but from there on the first stringers for Kansas held the lead safe."
March 26, 1952 (NCAA tournament) – Kansas 80, St. John's 63
"Kansas rules the world of collegiate basketball and big Clyde Lovellette wears the crown," reported the AP in the lead of its game story. Lovellette scored a game-high 33 points to earn tournament MVP honors. He scored the first point of the game on a free throw and the Jayhawks never trailed. "The 6-foot 9-inch Lovellette ran his four-game NCAA playoff scoring total to 141 points," reported the AP. "He had broken the old record of 83 points in the first three games. It had been set by Don Sunderlage of Illinois last year. He also set a new free throw record of 35 for the four games."
Individual player awards, honors
- 1952 Final Four Most Outstanding Player
- 1952 Helms Foundation Player of the Year
- 1952 consensus First Team All-American
- 1952 NCAA scoring leader
Kansas players drafted into the NBA
1952 NBA Draft
- No. 10 – Clyde Lovellette, Minneapolis Lakers
1953 NBA Draft
- No. 56 – Dean Kelley, Fort Wayne Pistons
1954 NBA Draft
- No. 22 – B.H. Born, Fort Wayne Pistons
- No. 56 – Alan Kalley, Milwaukee Hawks
1987-88 Kansas Jayhawks Quick Facts
After Kansas won its first national championship in 1952, it took 36 years until the Jayhawks won their second after they finished as the national runners-up in 1953 and 1957. Kansas, led by All-American Danny Manning and coach Larry Brown, became the first school to win the national championship as a No. 6 seed.
Here's everything you need to know about the 1987-88 Kansas Jayhawks.
Coach: Larry Brown
Conference: Big 8
Record: 27-11 (9-5)
Conference Finish: 3rd
Conference Tournament Finish: Lost in semifinals
NCAA Tournament Seed: No. 6 seed
NCAA Tournament Region: Midwest Region
Kansas' roster turnover before the 1987-88 season
In the 1986-87 season, Kansas went 25-11 (9-5 Big 8), which is ironically very similar to the Jayhawks' performance the following season when they won the national championship. They earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament and reached the Sweet 16 before losing to No. 1 seed Georgetown. After the 1987 season, Kansas lost several notable players, including its second-leading scorer Cedric Hunter.
Kansas lost six players from its 1986-87 roster:
- Cedric Hunter, 6-0, guard: 16.5 ppg, 8.7 apg, 7.2 rpg
- Mark Turgeon, 5-10, guard: 5.0 ppg, 2.9 apg, 1.6 rpg
- Mark Randall, 6-8, forward: 4.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg
- Mark Pellock, 6-9, center: 2.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg
- Sean Alvarado, 6-10, center: 1.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg
- Robert Coyne, 6-8, center: 1.0 ppg, 0.9 rpg
The Jayhawks then enrolled two freshmen in the fall of 1987:
- Mike Maddox, 6-8, forward
- Mike Masucci, 6-10, center
Here is Kansas' roster from the 1987-88 season
Kansas' player stats from the 1987-88 season
Scroll to the right to view the complete stats.
Kansas' AP Top 25 poll rankings from 1987-88
The 1988 NCAA tournament bracket
The 1988 NCAA tournament was the 50th edition of March Madness. Kansas won the national championship, beating Oklahoma 83-79 in the title game. Find the bracket, scores and more below.
Since the tournament's expansion to 64 teams in 1985, the 1988 Jayhawks are the only No. 6 seed to win the title. Senior forward Danny Manning led the tournament in scoring, including 31 points against the Sooners in the championship game to be named Most Outstanding Player.
Oklahoma was one of two No. 1 seeds in the Final Four. No. 1 seed Arizona and No. 2 seed Duke rounded out the 1988 Final Four.
Upsets weren't as frequent in this postseason as six double-digit seeds recorded wins. However, four of those six came from No. 11 Rhode Island and No. 13 Richmond, as both reached the Sweet 16.
1988 NCAA tournament: Bracket