The 1956-57 Bradley basketball team, the first coached by Chuck Orsborn, brought the University its first national championship in winning the National Invitational Tournament title.
Prior to the 1956-57 season, Bradley had made five NIT appearances, including the first two, but had yet to win one. Then the jackpot was hit by a 19-7 team in the regular season.
Bradley destroyed Xavier University of Cincinnati, 116-81, in the first round, and then surged past Temple 94-66 in the semifinals.
In the title game against Memphis State, coached by Bob Vanatta who had just left Bradley after two seasons, a three-point play by the late Shellie McMillon in the final seconds let BU survive, 84-83.
The members of that historic team were McMillon, Barney Cable, Chuck Sedgwick, Bobby Joe Mason, Curley Johnson, Don Groves, Don Carothers, John Myers, Dick Dhabalt, Gene Herberger, Dave Emerson, Wes Mason, Gene Fox, Roger Dunn, Lynn Jager, Gene Morse, Joe Billy McDade and Al Doscher. Cable and McMillon, in their junior seasons, led the team in scoring with 506 and 337 points respectively, while Morse, a sophomore from Havana, had 308.
Sedgwick who had played on an Illinois state championship team at LaGrange (that defeated Peoria Central for the 1953 title) scored 265 points; McDade, a sophomore from Texas who was to remain in Peoria, became a lawyer and then a judge, had 220, and Mason, playing the final 12 games after becoming eligible at the semester, scored 207.