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On This Date in Sports March 27, 1945: March's First Dynasty

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

 

Led by Hank Iba, Oklahoma A&M wins the NCAA Tournament, beating New York University in the championship game 49-45 at Madison Square Garden. Bob Curland leads the way for the Aggies, with a game-high 22 points to earn the Most Outstanding Player award. In 1946, Oklahoma A&M would become the first team to win the NCAA Tournament in consecutive years, with Curland also winning the MOP again. 

Coached by Hank Iba, Oklahoma A&M became the first dynasty in the NCAA Basketball tournament. A different school won the tournament in each of its first five seasons. The NCAA Tournament was much smaller in the early days with eight teams. There was also no Final Four. Instead, the quarterfinals and semifinals took place with the championship game in New York City.    

The Eastern Regionals took place at Madison Square Garden, while the Western Regionals were placed at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. In the East Region, NYU beat Tufts 59-44 in the quarterfinals, while Ohio State defeated Kentucky 45-31. In the Eastern Regional Finals, New York beat the Buckeyes 70-65 in overtime.

In the Western Regional, it was Arkansas slipping past Oregon 79-76 in the quarterfinals, while Oklahoma A&M, who entered the tournament with a 24-4 record, crushed defending champion Utah 62-37. The Aggies would dominate the Western Regional Final again, beating Arkansas 68-41. 

NYU had the homecourt edge in the championship game at Madison Square Garden, with its campus just a short subway ride away in Greenwich Village. The Aggies were led by the deadly combo of Bob Curland, who had 22 points and Cecil Hankins, who had 15. The Violets of New York University were led by a balanced attack as Al Grenert had 12 points, and Don Forman had 11 points. Frank Mangiapane and Dolph Schayes had six points apiece. It was not enough for NYU, as Oklahoma A&M won the game 49-45. 

The Aggies would run through the NCAA Tournament again in 1946, beating North Carolina 43-40 in their first appearance in the championship game. Bob Curland would win his second Most Outstanding Player Award. Hank Iba would coach in Stillwater for 36, becoming one of the winningest coaches in NCAA history with a record of 755-340 as Oklahoma A&M later became Oklahoma State. Oklahoma A&M appeared in the 1949 championship game, but have yet to win another NCAA Basketball Championship.