ARTICLE

It was 55 years ago today, San Francisco beat Iowa in the national-championship basketball game

Bill Russell dominated Iowa, and everyone else, in 1956
Bill Russell dominated Iowa, and everyone else, in 1956

We were all younger then. Well, I wasn't even born.

March 24, 1956. Iowa vs. the San Francisco Dons for the national-championship of college basketball. USF had Bill Russell and K.C. Jones. Russell is one of the best centers -- one of the best players -- of all time. Jones is the only person to play on NCAA and NBA championship teams and to coach an NBA champ, with the Boston Celtics.

Iowa had the Fabulous Five.

Sharm Scheuerman, Bill Logan, Carl Cain, Bill Seaburg and Bill Schoof. Logan was from Keokuk, the other four from Illinois. They all averaged double-figures in scoring in the 1955-56 season. They won back-to-back Big Ten titles, and were ranked fifth in the nation entering the 1956 NCAA tourney.

Then, the tourney had just 16 teams. Iowa hosted the first round and quarterfinals, beating Morehead State 97-83 and Kentucky 89-77. The Final Four was in Evanston, Ill., if you can believe that. College basketball wasn't always domed stadiums and four television networks airing NCAA tourney games simultaneously in the early rounds.

The Hawkeyes defated Temple, 82-76, to reach the final and the unbeaten San Francisco powerhouse. There would be no North Carolina State-over-Houston or Villanova-over-Georgetown type of story.

Russell had 26 points and 27 rebounds. The Dons beat the Hawkeyes, 83-71, for their second-straight national-title and 55th-consecutve win, then an NCAA record.

Iowa has been to one Final Four since, with a fourth-place finish in the 1980 event in Indianapolis. It came within a victory of the 1987 Final Four, and has been no closer ever since.

San Francisco's men's basketball program hasn't made much noise in a long, long time. It did go 19-15 and play in the Collegeinsider.com Tournament this year.