Before we get going in our second Wild Card match-up in the All-Time OSU Basketball Team Tournament, I would like to remind everyone that this isn't as easy as picking the more successful team on paper. This is about ignoring the missed shots, and missed opportunities. This is about, if they played today, which team would come out the victor. We have to consider player match-ups, coaching styles, and more. So let's get into it!
Catch All The Tournament Action
Catch All The Tournament Action
Introducing The 2000 OSU Cowboys
Record: 27-7 (.794)
Conference Record: 12-4 (.750)
Head Coach: Eddie Sutton
Key Players: Desmond Mason, Brian Montonati, Fredrik Jonzen, Doug Gottlieb
The Cowboys finished the regular season 4th in the Big 12, but were ranked in the Top 15 in the country. They went into the conference tournament looking to build momentum for the Big Dance. They trounced Kansas in the opening round, but fell to the regular season Big 12 Champion, the Iowa State Cyclones, in the second round.
The Cowboys entered the NCAA Tournament as a 3-seed, and drew 14-seed Hofstra in the first round. The Cowboys cruised past the Pride in a twenty point win, and then marched through 11-seed Pepperdine in the second.
The Sweet 16 brought some trouble though. Seton Hall came to play, and they weren't just going to roll over for the Pokes. Eddie Sutton was able to keep everyone’s heads level down the stretch, and the Cowboys escaped with a two-point win.
"It was good for our team to be tested," Gottlieb said. "Obviously, we didn't execute as well as we would have liked to, but they're a good team and they're playing undermanned. Three guys played 40 minutes. That shows that they've got it inside their hearts. Seton Hall played as hard as they could play."
The Cowboys were headed to the Elite Eight, and were just one win away from basketball greatness. The 5-seed Florida Gators had other plans though, and were too much for the Pokes following their emotional win.
It was a strong tourney run for the Cowboys, and Coach Sutton and company finished with a #14 rank finish in the AP Poll.
Introducing The 1983 OSU Cowboys
Record: 24-7 (.774)
Conference Record: 9-5 (.643)
Head Coach: Paul Hansen
Key Players: Leroy Combs, Lorenza Andrews, Matt Clark, Bill Self, Raymond Crenshaw
Finishing off the 1983 Big 8 campaign, the Cowboys walked into the conference tournament with the 3 seed. What happened next would end up being one of the better performances in Cowboy history. The Cowboys started the tourney with a dominant 75-61 win over Kansas State before going on to face the Kansas Jayhawks. The Cowboys would walk away with a convincing 90-83 win. From there, the Cowboys entered a match up with Mizzou in what would be an instant classic. The Cowboys and Tigers would duel it out beyond 40 minutes and into not one, but two overtimes before capturing the Conference Tournament championship, 93-92.
While the strong conference tournament earned them a #5 seed, the Cowboys would drop their first NCAA tourney game in heartbreaking fashion to #12 Princeton, 53-56.
This team featured 5 players scoring in double figures, 7 players averaged 21+ minutes, and 3 players averaging 7+ rebounds per game. If freshman Joe Atkinson had stayed healthy (redshirted after 5 games due to a fractured wrist), who knows what this team could have accomplished.
This game features an interesting matchup of somewhat similar styles of play. Eddie Sutton's 2000 squad brings together a stronger front court in Desmond Mason, Brian Montonati, and Fredrik Jonzen, with Doug Gottlieb running the offense. Paul Hansen's 1983 squad relied heavily on C/F Leroy Combs and Guards Lorenza Andrews and Matt Clark to create most of the opportunities on the offensive end. Neither squad was a huge threat from deep, and relied on slashing and dishing to create offense.
The low posts and wings would feature some pretty key personnel matchups. Leroy Combs (83's leading scorer with 17.1 ppg) would have the advantage against Fredrik Jonzen, but this would leave Raymond Crenshaw and Charles Williams to defend one of the all-time best OSU slam dunk specialists and NBA Slam Dunk champion Desmond Mason, and Brian Montonati. These last two one-on-ones would be very difficult for the '83 squad.
However, the most interesting matchup comes with Sutton's record assisting point guard, Doug Gottlieb (#1 in career assists), and Hansen's leader on the floor, Matt Clark (#4 in career assists). While neither player was a big threat from the outside, they were premier distributors and defenders. Gottlieb posted 293 assists (#2 in a season) and 53 steals in 99-00, while Clark put up 201 assists (T4 in a season) and 61 steals in 82-83. An interesting side note is junior guard Bill Self, who played in all 31 games, averaging almost 22 minutes and just under 6 ppg.
Vote for who you think would win in the poll below, and feel free to make your case in the comments!
Don't wait to vote, The poll closes at midnight!