1949: Kentucky successfully defends NCAA title

1949 Kentucky team photo
1949 team photo

This series counts down the greatest basketball teams of all time. No. 1 will be revealed in the Kernel’s basketball season preview edition on Nov. 7. Here is No. 4: 1948-49.

Even when the Fabulous Five was reduced to the Fantastic Four, the results at season’s end were the same. Holdovers Alex Groza, Ralph Beard, Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones and returned to add a second national title.

After capturing the 1947-48 national championship, the Cats would become the second team to successfully defend a title. Since then, only six other schools have accomplished this feat.

Adolph Rupp’s 19th season at started where his 18th left off, with the team tallying eight straight victories. UK’s first of only two losses on the year would come in a 42-40 defeat at the hands of St. Louis in the Sugar Bowl Championship tournament in New Orleans.

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