1988 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament


Image by/from NCAA/Weldon, Williams & Lick, Inc.

The 1988 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 17, 1988, and ended with the championship game on April 4 returning to Kansas City, Missouri for the 10th time. A total of 63 games were played.

Kansas, coached by Larry Brown, won the national title with an 83-79 victory in the final game over Big Eight Conference rival Oklahoma, coached by Billy Tubbs. As of 2018, this was the last national championship game to feature two schools from the same conference. Danny Manning of Kansas was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Even though the Final Four was contested 40 miles (64 km) from its campus in Lawrence, Kansas, Kansas was considered a long shot against the top rated Sooners because Oklahoma had previously easily defeated the Jayhawks twice that season—at home in Norman, Oklahoma and on the road in Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas’s upset was the third biggest point-spread upset in Championship Game history. After this upset, the 1988 Kansas team was remembered as “Danny and the Miracles.”

Kansas City returned as Final Four host for the first time since 1964, with Kemper Arena becoming the 25th arena to host it. 1988 saw two new host locations, in Chapel Hill, part of the Raleigh-Durham metropolitan area, and Pontiac, in suburban Detroit, which had never hosted games beforehand. The Silverdome became the seventh domed stadium to host tournament games. This would be the only appearance in the tournament for the Dean Smith Center, and would also be the last year hosting for Pauley Pavilion, the Joyce Center and Bob Devaney Sports Center.

(#) Kentucky was later stripped of its two NCAA tournament wins due to an ineligible player.

* – Denotes overtime period

(#) Kentucky was later stripped of its two NCAA tournament wins due to an ineligible player.