In the years before the NCAA Tournament, bracket battle, and March Madness, college basketball’s champion was crowned at the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). The NIT was held at Madison Square Garden and in 1948, the New York University (NYU) Violets squared off against the upstart team from Saint Louis University (SLU), called the Billikens. 

Led by coach Ed Hickey and 6-foot 8-inch center “Easy Ed” Macauley, SLU defeated NYU 65-52 to win the title and finish the season 24-3. The team’s victory really made a strong Show-Me “state”ment – almost all the Billiken players were from high schools in the St. Louis area, including five who had graduated from Saint Louis University High School. 

Based upon content from the book Missouri 365: This Day in Missouri History by John W. Brown, broadcaster and Missouri historian. Get your copy at Reedy Press.

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