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Oklahoma State All-Time Basketball Team Tournament: 1946 vs 2000

The 2000 Oklahoma State Cowboys are coming off of a Wild Card win in our little tourney, and now they're are looking to upset the 1-seed 1946 Oklahoma A&M Aggies. Can it be done?

Our All-Time Tournament continues, and half way through the Elite Eight, the tourney has yet to yield a single upset. Will the favorites continue to dominate as we head over to the Orange Division? Well... that's for you to decide.

[4] The 2000 OSU Cowboys

RECORD: 27-7 (.794)
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. The Cowboys entered the NCAA Tourney as the 3-seed in the East Region. They cruised past Hofstra and Pepperdine and won a nail-biter against Seton Hall before losing to Florida in the Elite Eight. The Pokes ended the year as the #14 team in the AP Poll.

In the All-Time Tourney, the '00 Cowboys defeated the 1983 Cowboys in the Orange division's Wild Card round. The duo of Doug Gottlieb and Desmond Mason led the '00 Pokes to an easy victory against Leroy Combs and the '83 squad.

[1] The 1946 Oklahoma A&M Aggies

RECORD: 31-2 (.939)
KEY PLAYERS: Bob Kurland, A.L. Bennett, Weldon Kern

The 1945-'46  Aggies were fresh off of a national championship and were out to earn another one behind senior center Bob Kurland. In what was a truly magical season, the Aggies posted the best record in school history, ending the season at 31-2. The Aggies defeated Kansas, Baylor, and Cal on their road to the NCAA Tournament Finals, coming out of the Eastern Region unscathed. In the championship, they were to play the North Carolina Tar Heels, who just came off of an overtime win over Ohio State. A&M squeaked by UNC 43-40 in front of a Madison Square Garden crowd of 18,000. Kurland scored 23 points and was recognized as the Most Outstanding Player, becoming the first one to win the award two times in a row. The Aggies also became the first team to win back-to-back national championships; these two seasons earned OSU's only two national championships in basketball.

The Aggies featured a strong roster, including future All-American A.L. Bennett and 5'9" defensive specialist Weldon Kern. The team also featured Bob "Pee Wee" Williams as a student manager, who was recently recognized in Oklahoma State's 2013-2014 basketball season. Each of the team's five starters comprised the All-Missouri Valley Conference first team, which has not been done before or since. Still, while the team had multiple talented players, there was only one star. Bob Kurland shined in his senior season, and he had many notable season performances. None were bigger than his dominating performance in the 86-33 drubbing against St. Louis University. Legend has it that Henry Iba was not fond of the opposing team's coach and instructed Kurland to go guns a' blazing until the final whistle. Kurland did not disappoint, putting up a school-record 58 points. Ed Macauley, Kurland's victim and future NBA star, had this to say in a Tulsa World interview looking back at Kurland's overpowering performance:

"Every time I thought I needed to be humble, I would look at that box score and remember I was the guy who held Kurland to 58 points."

Kurland finished the season averaging 19.5 PPG; he was also first in the nation in points scored with 643. The 1946 season was one to remember, and Kurland's efforts solidified his legacy as Oklahoma State's most iconic basketball player.

Match Up Preview

The 2000 Cowboys would certainly be the underdogs going into this contest. They would need to find someone to guard Kurland, and would probably use a combination of Fredrik Jonzen, Brian Montonati, and Alex Webber. They could also use 7-footer Jason Keep off the bench, although he wasn't as skilled as the others.

The battle between Gottlieb and Weldon Kern would be an important one, as Kern was the Aggies' peskiest defender; in an interview, teammate Paul Geymann spoke of Kern's ability to mentally time an opponent's dribble and perfectly execute a steal at the most opportune moment.

Finally, the '46 Aggies would need to find someone to guard Desmond Mason. They had some forwards that could match Mason's size, but none of them would be fully up to the task. If the Cowboys want to win this game, they must make sure that Mason outperforms Kurland in total points.

If right about now you're thinking the 2000 squad doesn't have a chance against the 1946 National Champions, in the worlds of Lee Corso, 'not so fast my friend'.

The 2000 team has two significant advantages, and I mean HUGE advantages.

First the shot clock. The 35 second clock is a snooze fest by today's standards, but just knowing it's there could effect the '46 team. They've never played with it before, and it in the back of their minds could cause them to play rushed. They'd be more likely to try and force more looks, and settle for bad shots.

Second? The three point line. This is an absolute game changer. Literally. The '46 team never defended the perimeter, because well... there wasn't one. We mentioned that Gottlieb would have to contend with Kern, but you also have to consider that Kern will in no way be prepared for Gottlieb and Co.'s range. Not that Gottlieb is known for actually having range by today's standards, but some is a heck of a lot more than none. Only one team practiced shooting from that far out, from that marked distance over, and over, and over.

The three-point line would more than likely draw the 1946 team out of position on defense. Spacing, sets, everything is different when you introduce the arc to the game, and there to capitalize on 1946's errors will be arguably the greatest dunker in Oklahoma State history, Desmond Mason.

So could the 2000 team pull the upset? Let's put it this way, it wouldn't even be fair to call it an upset.

Who do you think would win this match between the Cowboys and the Aggies? Be sure to vote and voice your opinions in the comments!