History of the Early Southern Conference Atlanta Basketball Tournament
- 1931 -


First Round: (Friday, February 27, 1931)

Quarterfinals: (Saturday, February 28, 1931)

Semifinals: (Monday, March 2, 1931)

Finals: (Tuesday, March 3, 1931)


1931 Southern Conference Program
The University of Georgia entered the tournament leading the league standings in the regular season with a 15-1 regular season record. But there was concern over their star Bill Strickland, who was still recovering from a persistent cold.

Other highly regarded teams included Maryland (8-1 regular season), Alabama (11-2) and Kentucky (8-2).

Kentucky was the first team to arrive in Atlanta, and practiced at Georgia Tech after they arrived. They were led by their first-year coach Adolph Rupp. Rupp would later go on to become college basketball's all-time winningest coach, a title he held between 1967 and 1997.

The month prior to the tournament, it was announced that Clemson football and basketball coach Josh Cody was returning to his alma mater, Vanderbilt University, as a football line coach. Cody would end up reassuming the role as head basketball coach of the Commodores the upcoming (1931-32) season.

Appointed to the tournament committee was chairman H.J. Stegeman of Georgia, William Alexander of Georgia Tech, C.P. Miles of Virginia Polytechnic, S.A. Boles of the University of Kentucky and W.C. Smith of Tulane. They were to worked with the Atlanta Athletic Club's Al Doonan. The A.A.C. served as heardquarters for the tournament.

"Within the walls of the City Auditorium where at various and sundry times wrestlers writhe and squirm, pugilists exchange wallops, grand opera singers strain their tonsils and adenoids, orators proclaim their political panaceas, and preachers and atheists meet in joint debate, the annual annual southern conference basket ball tournament got away Friday.

If you have never witnessed one of these indoor classics we urge you to pay a visit to the Auditorium during the four days of the meet. Basket ball is a simple game, so far as learning the fundamental idea - which is to drop the ball in the basket. Therefore a novice can figure what it is all about in a short time. And the color and pageantry of the spectacle will grip him. Sixteen teams, representing great universities and technical schools in the south are competing for the highest honor in Dixie basket ball - the championship of the southern conference. And plenty of fireworks, hair-raising situations, close and exciting games can be guaranteed." - ("Sportanic Eruptions: Well, They're Off!," by Morgan Blake, Atlanta Journal, February 28, 1931.)

Individual Games

Friday, February 27, 1931 - First Round

Saturday, February 28, 1931 - Quarterfinals

1931 Tournament Bracket after Friday's games

Monday, March 2, 1931 - Semifinals

1931 Tournament Bracket leading into Semifinals

Tuesday, March 3, 1931 - Finals

1931 Southern Conference Tournament Champions - Maryland Old Liners
Seated (l to r): Morris Cohen, Edward Ronkin, John Pitzer, Charlie May, George Chalmers
Standing: Assistant Coach Faber, Jack Norris, Louis Berger, Bob Wilson, Head Coach H. Burton Shipley


1931 All-Tournament Team

Louis "Bozey" Berger was another player who not only earned All-American honors, but went to enjoy a major league baseball career. He played six seasons with the Indiana, White Sox and Red Sox until he entered the military prior to World War II. He remained in the military until he retired.

The tournament won over converts among the sportswriters and citizens of the city. Noted Edwin Camp (Ole Timer) about the game of basketball:

"The more we see of basket ball tournament competition the more convinced we are that it is the best method of determining a championship. We think it much more preferable to a league. If there could be uniform courts arranged for a league might be all right. As it is now there are almost as many different kinds of home courts in the conference as there are teams. A team playing on its own course has a ten-point advantage over the opposition before the first tipoff. That is responsible for so many weird upsets during the pre-tourney season.

"But in the tourney all the teams play on a neutral court which is regulation in size. And the strain of competition is so keen and the excitement so intense that a team to come through victorious in four games not only has to possess its share of speed, passing ability and natural skill, but also a lot ABOVE THE EARS AND UNDER THE BELT. Smartness and courage are vital requisites for a championship aggregation. The tournament test is the appeal to all the manhood a young man has." - ("Sportanic Eruptions: Above the Ears and Under the Belt," by Morgan Blake, Atlanta Journal, March 1, 1931.)

An assembly in College Park, Md. to honor the returning champions from Atlanta


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