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Greatest College Basketball Teams: Spotlight 1960 Cincinnati
The 1960 Cincinnati Bearcats basketball team went 28-2, but for the second year in a row lost in the Final Four to California. The Bearcats were ranked number one in the nation from the beginning of the season to the end. They outscored their opponents by an average of 86.7 to 64.7 per game and outshot them by an average of 51.1 percent to 38.4 percent. The Bearcats were led by arguably the greatest college basketball player ever, Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson.
Robertson attended all-black Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis. Crispus Attucks won the Indiana State Basketball Championship Robertson's junior and senior years with records of 31-1 and 31-0.
The Big O led the nation in scoring and was national player of the year in each of his three varsity seasons. Today, the national player of the year trophy bears his name. 'In his time, he was the greatest,' said Cincinnati assistant coach Ed Jucker. Kansas coach Dick Harp agreed. 'He had unbelievable control of a basketball game. He had the size, the quickness, everything.' After seeing Robertson score 56 points in a game as a sophomore, St. John's coach Joe Lapchick said 'There's never been one like him.' Robertson holds the Cincinnati records for points, field goals made, field goals attempted, free throws made, and free throws attempted in a game, in a season and in a career.
The records of which Robertson is most proud are his rebounding records. He holds the Cincinnati records for rebounds in a season and in a career. 'It was tough going in there against guys 6-10 or bigger,' Robertson said. 'To rebound against them, you had to out-quick them, out-think them.'
Robertson holds the Cincinnati record for assists in a season. 'Oscar was a great passer,' California coach Pete Newell said. 'He brought the ball up even though he was playing forward.'
In 1960, his senior year, Robertson averaged 33.7 points, 14.1 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game. After the season was over, he was co-captain of the gold medal winning USA Olympic basketball team.
Robertson was Rookie of the Year his first year in the NBA, averaging 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and 9.7 assists per game. In his second season, Robertson became the only NBA player ever to average a triple double for a season. He averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists. Robertson was a 12 time NBA all-star and three time all-star game MVP.
The Bearcats were no one-man team. Senior guard Ralph Davis (13.7 pts, 4.4 ast) ran the Bearcats' fast break offense. He was an excellent passer and a good outside shooter. The other guard, junior Carl Bouldin (5.8 pts., 1.7 ast), 'had a good shot and could handle the ball,' Robertson said. At 6'9', sophomore center Paul Hogue averaged 12.2 points and 11 rebounds per game inside. 'He was a big guy,' Robertson said. "They couldn't push him out of the post.' Bob Wiesenhahn (7.5 pts., 6.8 reb.) and Larry Willey (8.1 pts., 4.8 reb.) shared the power forward position. In 1961, after Robertson had gone on to the NBA, Wiesenhahn, Hogue and Bouldin were the three leading scorers on Cincinnati's first NCAA Champion team.
The Bearcats ran a fast break offense. In the first game of the 1959-60 season, the Bearcats crushed Indiana State 107-62. Robertson scored 45 points, grabbed 22 rebounds and made 10 assists. After four more easy wins, the Bearcats faced number 5 Bradley on December 22, 1959. Cincinnati won easily, 86-71, behind 42 points, 22 rebounds and 10 assists from Robertson.
The Bearcats were 13-0 the next time they met Bradley. The second time around, Bradley won 91-90. It was Cincinnati's only loss of the regular season.
In the NCAA Tournament, the Bearcats crushed DePaul 99-59 in the first round game. Robertson had 12 assists. In the second round game, the Bearcats beat Kansas 82-71.
In the Final Four, the Bearcats faced California for the second year in a row. Despite a triple double by Robertson (18 pts., 10 reb., 10 ast.), the Bearcats lost 77-69. 'I wasn't that upset about the loss,' Robertson said. 'We did the best we could.'
In the consolation game against NYU, Robertson had another triple double (18 pts., 10 reb., 10 ast.). The Bearcats won, 95-71. Robertson was named to the All-Tournament team.
Name Pos Class Pts Reb Ast
Oscar Robertson F SR 33.7 14.1 7.3
Ralph Davis G SR 13.7 2.0 4.4
Paul Hogue C SO 12.2 11.0 0.6
Larry Willey F/C SR 8.1 4.8 1.0
Bob Wisenhahn F JR 7.5 6.8 0.7
Carl Bouldin G JR 5.8 1.8 1.7
Sandy Pomerantz F SO 3.6 1.8 0.3
Tom Sizer G SO 2.0 0.9 0.7
Mel Landfried C JR 1.8 2.5 0.6
Jim Calhoun G SO 1.7 0.8 0.4
How would the 1960 Cincinnati Bearcats do against the teams of today? How would they handle the shot clock and the three pointer?
Oscar Robertson is one of the greatest players ever. He could score inside and outside, he could handle the ball, he could rebound and he could pass. Guards Ralph Davis and Carl Bouldin were both also good outside shooters. The 1960 Bearcats would have been deadly from beyond the three point line. Although the Bearcats were small by modern standards, they offset their lack of size with their quickness. The Bearcats ran the fast break to capitalize on their quickness. Averaging 86.7 points per game, they would have no trouble with the shot clock. The Bearcats were a good defensive team and would use their quickness to deny the inside pass. If opponents did manage to get the ball inside, 6'9' Paul Hogue could hold his own under the basket. The Bearcats would be a very, very good team today.
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