How Many Times Has Kansas Won the National Championship?

The Jayhawks have won the National Championship five times in total- once in 1952, 1988, 1991, 1992, and most recently in 2008.

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Kansas’ National Championships

Kansas has won the National Championship a total of 5 times. The first time was in 1952, and the most recent was in 1988. The other 3 times were in 1954, 1957, and 1986.

1948 National Championship

Kansas entered the 1947-48 season looking to build on the momentum from their first NCAA Tournament appearance the year before. The Jayhawks started the season strong, winning their first eight games. After a brief hiccup, losing two out of three, Kansas rattled off thirteen straight wins to close out the regular season. They entered the NCAA Tournament with a 20-3 record, good for second in the country behind only Kentucky.

In the NCAA Tournament, Kansas beat Oklahoma A&M and Dartmouth to reach the national semifinals. There, they met Adolph Rupp’s Kentucky Wildcats, who were coming off a perfect season and had already beaten Kansas twice that year. Despite being heavy underdogs, the Jayhawks pulled off the upset, winning 58-42. In the national championship game, Kansas faced off against Stanford. The Jay Hawks dominated from start to finish, winning easily by a score of 49-29 to claim their first ever national championship.

1952 National Championship

The 1952 National Championship was the first for the Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team. The team, coached by Phog Allen, defeated St. John’s and La Salle to win the title. All three of Kansas’ games in the tournament were played in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Jayhawks were led by tournament MVP Clyde Lovellette, who averaged 20 points per game. Lovellette was joined on the All-Tournament team by fellow Jayhawk Bill Hougland.

1988 National Championship

The Jayhawks’ 1988 national championship was one of the most dominating performances in NCAA tournament history. Led by All-American Danny Manning, Kansas went 27-11 and entered the NCAA tournament as a No. 6 seed. The Jayhawks then ripped off five straight wins, including a 71-66 victory over Oklahoma in the national championship game. It was the school’s first national title since 1952 and remains its most recent to date.

2008 National Championship

In 2008, the Jayhawks won their third NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, and first since 1988. Led by Mario Chalmers’ game-tying three-pointer with seconds remaining in regulation, and Bill Self’s outstanding coaching, the Jayhawks won in overtime against the Memphis Tigers, 75-68.

Kansas’ NCAA Tournament Appearances

The Jayhawks have made a total of 37 NCAA tournament appearances, the 4th most of any team. They have also won a record-setting 14 conference tournament championships. Kansas has 26 NCAA tournament wins, the 12th most of any team.

1957 NCAA Tournament

The 1957 NCAA Tournament was the seventh NCAA Tournament. It was held from March 12 to March 23 and saw Kansas beat North Carolina 54-53 in triple overtime for the national championship, the Jayhawks’ second national title. It is considered one of the greatest games in tournament history.

1966 NCAA Tournament

After a sub-.500 season in 1965, the Jayhawks rebounded to finish 12-2 in 1966. They received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament as the #4 seed in the Midwest region. They defeated New Mexico State and Western Kentucky to reach the regional final, where they lost to eventual national champion Texas Western.

1971 NCAA Tournament

Kansas made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1939. The Jayhawks have appeared in the NCAA Tournament 27 times, including 26 times since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. They have won 14 conference championships outright and have shared eight others. As of 2019, Kansas has appeared in more NCAA tournaments than any other program, is second only to UCLA in Sweet Sixteen appearances with 32, and is second to Kentucky in Elite Eight appearances with 26. The Jayhawks have also made 27 total appearances in the Final Four, which is tied for fourth place with Duke.

Kansas has also finished as the NCAA tournament runner-up five times, which is more than any other school except for Ohio State and UCLA. They were also the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) runner-up in 1971, which was before the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams.

1986 NCAA Tournament

The 1986 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament involved 64 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men’s NCAA Division I college basketball. It began on March 13, 1986, and ended with the championship game on March 31 in Dallas. A total of 63 games were played.

Kansas, coached by Larry Brown, won the national title with a 72–65 victory in the final game over Duke, coached by Mike Krzyzewski. Dan Majerle of Central Michigan was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

1991 NCAA Tournament

Kansas made its twenty-second appearance in the NCAA tournament in 1991. The Jayhawks entered the tournament with an overall record of 29-4 and were the number one seed in the Midwest regional. After defeating Pepperdine and Indiana to reach the regional finals, Kansas faced off against archrival Missouri. The Jayhawks won the close game, 77-71, to advance to their first Final Four since 1986.

In the national semifinals, Kansas faced off against UNLV, who were fresh off of a victory over Duke in the semifinals of the previous year’s tournament. The Runnin’ Rebels were heavily favored to win, but Kansas pulled off the upset victory, 90-81. The Jayawks then defeated Duke in the national championship game, 72-65, to win their first ever NCAA tournament championship.

Kansas’ Conference Championships

Kansas has won the National Championship fourteen times- the most in NCAA Division I history. They have also won the conference championship thirty-eight times. Kansas is a powerhouse when it comes to college basketball.

1948 Big Six Conference Championship

The 1948 Big Six Conference Championship was the second conference championship for the Kansas Jayhawks football team. The Jayhawks defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers 7–0 in the title game, held on November 27, 1948, at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was the first conference title for head coach George Sauer. The win gave Kansas an 8–1 record (5–1 against conference opponents), as they finished the season in second place behind undefeated Oklahoma.

1952 Big Seven Conference Championship

Kansas won the 1952 Big Seven Conference Championship with an 11-1 record. This was the Jayhawks’ first conference championship.

1988 Big Eight Conference Championship

The 1988 Big Eight Conference Championship was the last championship game of the conference’s existence. The game was played on December 3, 1988, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The winning team would go on to play in the Orange Bowl against the Oklahoma Sooners.

The Kansas Jayhawks, led by head coach Larry Brown, entered the game with an 11-1 record and were ranked #2 in both the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll. The Jayhawks had won their last nine games, including a 37-34 come-from-behind win over Nebraska in the regular season finale that had earned them a share of the conference title.

The Iowa State Cyclones, led by head coach Jim Walden, entered the game with a 7-4-1 record and were ranked #16 in the AP Poll and #17 in the Coaches Poll. The Cyclones had won four of their last five games, with their only loss coming to Nebraska in their regular season finale.

Kansas won the game 17-14 to claim their first and only conference championship.

2008 Big 12 Conference Championship

In 2008, the Jayhawks defeated the Oklahoma Sooners in the Big 12 Conference Championship game, becoming only the second team in conference history to win back-to-back outright conference championships. The Jayhawks went on to defeat the Memphis Tigers in the national championship game, giving Kansas their fifth national championship and making them the only team in NCAA history to win four consecutive conference championships.

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