This is part of a continuing series examining pages from the 1953 Official NCAA Basketball Guide.

Naturally, the stats section in the book was one of the first things I turned to. If it was possible to get 51 rebounds in a game, then you can probably make the inference that a lot of shots did not go in back then. Indeed, as page 29 of the Guide shows, only three teams in all the land made over 40% of their field goal attempts. The “dunk shot” had not yet been popularized, obviously. In addition, no team could crack the 70% mark in free throw accuracy.

By the way, in today’s NCAA each basketball program is classified into one of three divisions for basketball. In ‘53, it was every school for itself. The intro to the major-college statistics section describes exactly how classification was determined.

Approximately 150 college basketball teams, which play most of their games against each other, are classified as “major-college” teams. They represent the field of so-called “big time” college basketball, as judged by the class of competition rather than seasonal strength. Teams of all other four-year colleges comprise the “small-college” field. An official list is issued annually.

Click on the thumbnail for a life-size image of page 29 and make note of that wacky defense Ole Miss is playing, guarding zones on the floor instead of individual opponents!