Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Streak: The Fourteenth Time, Out Of The Last 55 Times, That Clemson Lost A Basketball Game in Chapel Hill…

A. A. Milne was still alive and Tar Heels would go on to win the 1957 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Championship…

The Streak: Game 14, January 11, 1957 – North Carolina 86, Clemson 54.

The Tar Heels won their first official NCAA Championship under coach Frank McGuire in 1957, running the table at 32-0 and 14-0 in the ACC.  (UNC had been voted #1 in 1925 before there was a tournament to secure their first National Championship not under NCAA sanction.)

They were led by Lennie Rosenbluth  (the only player to be named NCAA National Player of the Year, ACC Player of the Year, ACC Tournament MVP, and NCAA regional MVP in the same season) and several other transplants from the New York City area. There were thirteen players on the roster – three from North Carolina and ten from New York and New Jersey.  Rosenbluth arrived in Chapel Hill via the Staunton Military Academy in Staunton, VA.

North Carolina defeated Clemson, Wake Forest and South Carolina in the ACC tournament.  The Heels knocked off Yale, Canisius, Syracuse, Michigan State and Kansas in what was then the Not As Big Dance.

C.D. Chesley, a Washington, D.C. television producer, piped the 1957 championship game played in Kansas City (so the Suits could keep an eye on things) to a hastily-created network of stations across North Carolina.  This proved to be a critical factor in the birth of the basketball  craze that has had a stranglehold on the state to this day.  

While it is well known that the National Championship game against Wilt Chamberlain's Kansas Jayhawks was the only triple overtime contest in championship history, many fewer remember that the semi-final game against the Spartans was also a Triple OT affair – UNC 74, Michigan State 70.

The Heels were ranked #1 in both the Coaches’ and AP polls at season’s end.

Clemson was 7-17 overall and 3-11 in the ACC. This was the first year for new coach Press Maravich.  

Maravich would coach at Clemson until 1962 posting a 55-96 record.  He would put in a brief stint at N.C. State before moving to L.S.U. where he would coach his soon-to-be famous son “Pistol” Pete Maravich.

Alan Alexander Milne was born in London on January 18, 1882. 

The English author was best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various children's poems. Milne was a noted writer, primarily as a playwright, before the huge success of Pooh overshadowed all his previous work.
The Pooh books were inspired by his son, Christopher Robin, and other characters inspired by his son's stuffed animals.  Most notable, of course, was the stuffed bear named Edward who was renamed Winnie the Pooh after a Canadian black bear at the London Zoo.

E. H. Shepard illustrated the original Pooh books, using his own son's teddy, as the model. Christopher Robin Milne's own toys are now under glass in New York.

Winnie-the-Pooh was published in 1926, followed by The House at Pooh Corner in 1928. A second collection of nursery rhymes, Now We Are Six, was published in 1927. All three books were illustrated by Shepard. Milne also published four plays in this period and dozens in his lifetime. 

The original stuffed animals that inspired Milne and Shephard.
The success of Winnie The Pooh would become a source of considerable annoyance to Milne, whose self-avowed aim was to write whatever he pleased and who had, until then, found a ready audience for each change of direction.

Milne retired to his farm after a stroke and brain surgery in 1952 that left him an invalid.  Labeled by some as “very old and disenchanted,” he died January 31, 1957. 

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