|#52||Vernon Hatton (L)||G||Sr.||6-3||195||Lexington, KY (Lafayette)||All-American [Converse (1st), Helms (1st)]; All-NCAA Final Four Team; All- NCAA Regional Team; All-SEC [First Team (Coaches); Second Team (AP)];|
|#24||Johnny Cox (L)||F||Jr.||6-4||185||Hazard, KY (High)||All-NCAA Final Four Team; All- NCAA Regional Team; All-SEC [First Team (Coaches); Second Team (AP)];|
|#32||John Crigler (L)||F||Sr.||6-3||180||Hebron, KY (High)||All-SEC [Third Team (AP)];|
|#50||Adrian Smith (L)||G||Sr.||6-0||178||Farmington, KY||-|
|#34||Ed Beck (L)||C||Sr.||6-7||188||Fort Valley, GA||-|
|#40||Earl Adkins (L)||G||Sr.||6-4||180||Ashland, KY (High)||-|
|#54||Don Mills (L)||C||So.||6-6||185||Berea, KY (High)||-|
|#14||Phil Johnson (L)||F-C||Jr.||6-5||190||Lexington, KY (University High)||-|
|#10||Lowell Hughes (L)||G||So.||6-0||175||Prestonsburg, KY||-|
|#12||Billy Ray Cassady (L)||F-G||Sr.||6-2||191||Inez, KY||-|
|#10||Lincoln Collinsworth (L)||G||Sr.||6-3||185||Salyersville, KY||-|
|#33||Harold Ross (L)||G-F||Sr.||6-3||175||Hickman, KY||-|
|#20||Dick Howe (L)||C-F||Jr.||6-5||210||Carbondale, IL||-|
|#88||Bill Smith (L)||F||Sr.||6-5||200||Walton, KY||-|
| Schedule | Player Statistics | Game Statistics |
Front Row (l to r): Head Coach Adolph Rupp, Adrian Smith, John Crigler, Ed Beck, Don Mills, Johnny Cox, Vernon Hatton, Asst. Coach Harry Lancaster
Season Review - Basketball (Kentuckian)
From barn dance fiddlers to Freedom Hall violinists might serve as a description of the 'Fighting Five' which took the NCAA national championship. Early in the season Coach Rupp said his boys were fair fiddlers but weren't violinists who might appear in Carnegie Hall. After the championship game he took back that statement.
Fans expected this would be a banner year for the Wildcats before the season opened. But after a few games they changed their minds as the Wildcats had to fight for their lives. This was the case throughout the season. After finally taking their 18th SEC title, the Wildcats jelled in the tourney.
Though the Big Blue finished with the second worst season record in Rupp's career here (19-6), when the schedule they played is perused it becomes clear why it was so.
The Wildcats finished in ninth place in the final Associated Press weekly poll. They played five of the other nine clubs in the top ten. They lost to first place West Virginia in the UKIT, gave fifth-place Temple two of its three losses, lost to 6th-place Maryland, knocked off eighth-place Notre Dame and 10th-place Duke.
They also played three teams in the next ten clubs as they downed Mississippi State the 15th club, lost to 16th Auburn by one point and blasted 18th place Seattle for the title.
For the first time in years not one Kentucky player appeared on an AII-American team.
And yet this club allowed Coach Rupp to keep his promise that he wouldn't retire until he accepted a championship cup from the officials which suspended his outstanding '52-'53 club.
This was the top coaching job turned in by the Baron during his long stay at the University. He'll have to go some to top it.
DUKE: The season's opener was a tough one. The Blue Devils were out for blood and almost got it. The Wildcats held off a stiff rally to win 78-74. Duke finished strong, rating sixth in the nation.
OHIO STATE: The Wildcats helped the Big Ten's Buckeyes dedicate their new fieldhouse by downing them 61-57 before about 14,000 fans.
TEMPLE: The Owls provided the most exciting game of the season before bowing out 85-83 in a triple overtime contest. A 50-foot last second shot by Vernon Hatton spelled the difference as the second overtime shot kept the Cats alive. The Owls finished third in the country, losing only to the Cats and Cincinnati.
MARYLAND: A top-notch group of Terrapins handed the Ruppmen their first loss at College Park, 71-62. It was an expected letdown after three tough games. The Terrapins also went on to the NCAA.
ST. LOUIS: UK rebounded from its first loss to tag St. Louis with its first defeat 73-60 in St. Louis.
SMU: This was a real upset. The Mustangs didn't show much early in the season and caught the Cats napping. They pasted the Big Blue with a 65-64 defeat in Dallas. SMU tied for the Southwest Conference crown.
The 1957 University of Kentucky Invitational Tourney was the best ever in several ways. The payoff to each team was the largest and the teams were the best in the country. Of the four participants, only Minnesota was unranked. North Carolina was rated number one and owned a 36-game winning streak. West Virginia was number five and the host Wildcats were number nine.
The Mountaineers stormed into Memorial Coliseum opening night and slashed the Wildcats with a fast break to win 77-70. The Tarheels had a tough time getting rid of Minnesota in the other game. In the championship match, West Virginia ignored the Tarheel record and broke their win streak with a 75-64 romp. The Wildcats recovered by pasting Minnesota, 78-58 in the consolation contest.
UTAH STATE: The game with the outclassed Redskins was strictly no contest as the 92-64 score should indicate.
LOYOLA (Chi.): Every so often the Chicago teams get around to upsetting Rupp's boys. This was one of the years. After they took a 75-42 licking in Lexington, the Ramblers caught UK in Chicago Stadium and edged it with a last second shot when it looked as if the Wildcats had the game in the bag. Loyola 57 - Kentucky 56.
GEORGIA TECH: It's reached the point where Kentucky fans are saying each year, "Oh, no, not those Yellowjackets again!" Yes, they did it again this year. After being battered in Carnage Canyon, 76-60, they returned to Atlanta to await the Wildcats. . . and they proved to be as pesky as their nicknames would indicate. The Wildcats were stung, but good, 71-52 for the worst loss in several years.
VANDERBILT: The Commodores lost to the Cats twice during the '57-'58 season. The first time an explosive 25 point performance by reserve Earl Adkins - 23 of them in the last half - staved off Vandy in Nashville, 86-81. In Lexington the story was much the same with UK taking away a 65-61 victory.
LSU: The Bengals are beginning to hate Memorial Coliseum by now one would imagine. They were massacred again, this time by 97-52.
TULANE: Touted as a pretty fair ball club, the Green Wave found the Wildcats pretty rough going and was trampled 86-50.
TENNESSEE: The Volunteers have every right to be bitter towards Kentucky. Fielding the best ball club in years in Knoxville, they figured to give the Bluegrass boys a run. In Lexington they took it on the chin, 77-68 after a stiff fight. They showed an 11-0 home mark when the terrors of the SEC pulled into Knoxville to close the season and Alumni gym. The Cats clawed the Vols 77-66 to take the SEC crown.
GEORGIA: The Bulldogs got a shot at the Cats in Atlanta only two days after the Yellow jackets finished with them. The Bulldogs didn't fare so well, losing 74-55.
FLORIDA: The Gators hadn't lost on their home floor until the Ruppmen pulled into town. When they left, Florida had its first home loss, 78-56, thanks to 35 points from Vernon Hatton.
MISSISSIPPI: A real runaway was this one as John Crigler hit 26 to lead the Big Blue to an easy 96-65 romp.
MISSISSIPPI STATE: Bailey Howell, the SEC's star, tossed in 28 points, but the Maroons didn't have enough and fell . before the Cats 72-66. Johnny Cox tabbed 22.
ALABAMA: A John Crigler shot in the final two seconds of an overtime period led the troops to a 45-43 squeaker over the Crimson Tide in Montgomery and gave them their 10th trip to the NCAA. The Tide played without the services of star Jack Kubiscyn.
AUBURN: We almost pulled another one out, but this time fell a little short. With three seconds remaining, Johnny Cox took a jump shot which hung on the rim, then dropped off. Auburn had won its first basketball game from Kentucky, 64-63.
The Wildcats came into the Mideast Regional at Memorial Coliseum after a two-week rest and clawed the opposition to pieces to take the Regional title and move on to the NCAA finals in Louisville.
Before play opened in the regional, few people thought the cats would last past the first game and some doubted if they would win the first game. Indiana had just finished winning the Big Ten crown by taking its last four games, all on the road. Notre Dame came in with a team reputed to be the best in 20 years and a 24-5 record. Miami of Ohio knocked off Pitt in an upset in the first round and looked dangerous.
The Big Blue opened with Miami in the first round and ripped the Redskins by a surprising 94-70. The Fighting Irish eliminated the Hoosiers 94-87 with Tom Hawkins and McCarthy starring.
After Notre Dame and Kentucky, old rivals, had finished play, few were able to believe what their eyes told them. The scoreboard read: Kentucky 89, Notre Dame 56. The Wildcats had tied up the terrific Hawkins with 15 points and Vernon Hatton had cashed in 26 for the Cats. Indiana took third place by downing Miami 98-91. The Ruppmen were ready to go for the NCAA title.