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At a Glance
NCAA Champion--Oklahoma A&M (27-4; coached by Hank Iba/11th of 36 seasons with Cowboys).
NIT Champion--DePaul (21-3; coached by Ray Meyer/third of 42 seasons with Blue Demons).
New Rules--Defensive goaltending is banned, five personal fouls disqualifies a player (had been four since 1910), an extra foul is not allowed in overtime games, and unlimited substitution is introduced.
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--Howie Dallmar, G, Sr., Penn (10.2 ppg); Arnie Ferrin, F, Soph., Utah (17.4 ppg); Wyndol Gray, F, Soph., Bowling Green (15.1 ppg); Billy Hassett, G, Jr., Notre Dame (8.6 ppg); Bill Henry, C-F, Sr., Rice (20.7 ppg); Walt Kirk, G, Jr., Illinois (10.6 ppg); Bob Kurland, C, Jr., Oklahoma A&M (17.1 ppg); George Mikan, C, Jr., DePaul (23.3 ppg).
NCAA champion Oklahoma A&M defeated NIT kingpin DePaul, 52-44, at Madison Square Garden in an American Red Cross War Fund benefit game featuring the nation's two premier pivotmen--DePaul's George Mikan and A&M's Bob Kurland. Mikan fouled out of the contest after 14 minutes with the Blue Demons leading, 21-14. Cecil Hankins, the top pass receiver for A&M's Cotton Bowl winner, scored a game-high 20 points and Kurland contributed 14. Mikan had set a school record by pouring in 53 points against Rhode Island State in the NIT semifinals.
Incredibly, three of the NCAA consensus first-team All-Americans previously or later played an entire season for other four-year universities--Penn's Howie Dallmar (previously attended Stanford), Bowling Green's Wyndol Gray (played next season for Harvard) and Notre Dame's Billy Hassett (previously attended Georgetown). Elsewhere, Jim Jordan, the only unanimous selection to the All-Southern Conference team, became an immediate star for North Carolina after the Navy transferred him to the ROTC unit there from Mount St. Mary's, where he was the school's captain and leading scorer. . . . Hassett eventually became the first Notre Dame player to play for an NBA champion (Minneapolis Lakers '50). . . . Dallmar went on to coach his alma mater for six seasons from 1948-49 through 1953-54 before coaching Stanford for 21 seasons from 1954-55 through 1974-75.
Rice, coached by Joe Davis, managed its most lopsided victory in history (95-22 over Baylor) en route to a school-best 20-1 record. The Owls' lone defeat in a 33-game stretch was against NCAA champion-to-be Oklahoma A&M, 42-28, in the All-College Tournament in Oklahoma City. Bill Henry became Rice's third different first- or second-team All-American frontcourter in four years. . . . Winless Baylor (0-17) lost back-to-back games at Arkansas by a total of 126 points (90-30 and 94-28). . . . Texas lost three consecutive contests to service squads while Longhorn standouts John Hargis (Marines) and Slater Martin (Navy) served in the U.S. military. . . . Freshman George Kok averaged 18.7 points per game for Arkansas. . . . Nebraska (2-17) ended a school-record streak of 12 consecutive conference defeats by defeating Kansas, 59-45.
In a gigantic mismatch, Kentucky overwhelmed Arkansas State, 75-6, although Alex Groza, the Wildcats' standout freshman center, did not play in the game. Groza led Kentucky to an 11-0 start with an average of 16.5 points per game before he was inducted into the Army. . . . Mississippi coach Edwin Hale concluded his two-year stint with the Rebels. Hale was the last coach in the 20th Century to finish his Ole Miss tenure with a winning record (22-18).
Big Ten Conference champion Iowa, coached by Pops Harrison, compiled its best winning percentage in school history (.944) with a 17-1 overall record but declined an invitation to the NCAA Tournament. Iowa's Dick Culberson, a transfer from Virginia Union, became the first African American ever to play for a Big Ten team. . . . NCAA consensus second-team All-American Max Morris of Northwestern led the Big Ten in scoring in league games (15.8 points per game) after earning MVP honors for the Wildcats' football squad the previous fall as an end. . . . DePauw (Ind.) defeated Indiana for the second straight season. . . . Notre Dame forward Leo Klier sandwiched a year serving in the U.S. Navy between All-American seasons. The captain and leading scorer (16.1 ppg) of the Irish's 15-5 squad was freshman forward-center Vince Boryla, who later served two years in the U.S. Army before becoming an All-American for the University of Denver. Notre Dame's second-leading scorer was 5-7 Johnny Dee, who later coached Alabama and his alma mater.
Temple outlasted Penn State, 63-60, in five overtimes. . . . Dartmouth suffered its first losing record (6-8) in 25 years. . . . St. John's (21-3), coached by Joe Lapchick, finished in third place in the NIT although standouts Harry Boykoff, Dick McGuire and Max Zaslofsky were serving in the U.S. military. . . . Princeton started playing home games in a different arena after University Gymnasium was destroyed by fire. . . . Columbia defeated Fordham, 73-58, in a contest featuring several rules revisions designed to eliminate the zone defense and reduce the effectiveness of a tall center. The innovations were suggested by Columbia graduate Julian Rice and Oregon coach Howard Hobson. One change was to widen the foul lane from six to 12 feet. The other revision was to award three points for baskets scored from beyond an arc 21 feet away from the rim. Also, a fouled player had the option of shooting a free throw for one point from the regular 15-foot distance or shooting for two points from beyond the arc. During the game, the two teams combined for 20 "long goals" and eight "long fouls," and at halftime, the crowd voted its approval of the rules changes. Eleven years later, the wider lane was adopted as a rule, but it took 41 years for the three-point field goal to be implemented.
Oregon (30-13/coached by John Warren) had its winningest season in school history. . . . UCLA was in its 18th season as a member of the Pacific Coast Conference when the Bruins posted the best record in the South Division for the first time. League members Washington (10), California (seven), Southern California (six), Oregon (five), Stanford (five) and Oregon State (four) each had at least four divisional or conference crowns by that stage. . . . North Carolina began a stretch when the Tar Heels defeated South Carolina 23 times in 25 meetings to 1960. . . . Gordon Carver became an All-Southern Conference first-team selection for the second straight season after quarterbacking Duke to its first bowl victory (29-26 over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl). . . . Davidson compiled a .500 record (9-9), but sustained its most lopsided defeat in school history (89-20 at North Carolina). . . . Maryland also incurred its most lopsided defeat in history (85-22 to Bainbridge Navy). . . . Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (N.Y.) claimed to be the only undefeated team during the regular season, compiling a 13-0 record before losing to Bowling Green, 60-45, in the opening round of the NIT. . . . Five members of Brooklyn's team admitted they received $1,000 each and were promised $2,000 more if they lost a game against Akron. The gamblers were arrested and the game cancelled.
1945 NCAA Tournament
Summary: The era of the big man arrived. Bob Kurland, continuing his vast improvement in just a couple of years after showing up at Oklahoma A&M as the stereotyped awkward seven-footer, led the Aggies to the NCAA title with 17.1 points per game. They prevailed although Kurland was their only returning letterman. Oklahoma A&M won the national final against New York University, 49-45, although the Aggies hit just 5 of 15 free-throw attempts. Oklahoma A&M, which won the Cotton Bowl, became the first school to win a football bowl game and the NCAA basketball tournament in the same academic year. "Think and then act," A&M coach Hank Iba said. "Never act and then alibi." Oklahoma A&M was making its first NCAA Tournament appearance after losing three district "play-in" games in a four-year span (1939, 1940 and 1942).
Outcome for Defending Champion: Utah (17-4) was eliminated in the opening round, 62-37, when Kurland scored a tourney-high 28 points for A&M. One of the Utes' other three setbacks was by 28 points to Ohio State.
Star Gazing: Guard Doyle Parrack, Oklahoma A&M's fourth-leading scorer with 7.6 points per game, went on to coach Oklahoma City to four consecutive NCAA playoff appearances from 1952 through 1955. He also coached both the men's and women's teams for Oklahoma.
Biggest Upset: NYU, featuring just one senior on its roster, erased a 10-point deficit in the final two minutes of regulation on its way to frustrating Ohio State, 70-65, in overtime in the national semifinals.
One and Only: Oregon swingman Dick Wilkins is the only freshman to lead a single tourney in scoring average (22 ppg).
Celebrity Status: Wilkins, who scored a game-high 23 points for Oregon in a 79-76 loss to Arkansas in a West Regional semifinal and a team-high 21 points in a 69-66 consolation win over Utah, played several years of professional football as a wide receiver after being the top pass catcher with the Ducks for quarterback Norm Van Brocklin during their Cotton Bowl season in 1948. . . . Mel McGaha, the first player in Arkansas history to earn four letters in basketball and a sophomore backup guard for the Razorbacks' Final Four team, was manager of the Cleveland Indians (1962) and Kansas City Athletics (June 11, 1964-May 14, 1965). McGaha didn't play in two tourney games, but he was a swingman in 51 games in the 1948-49 season for the New York Knickerbockers of the Basketball Association of America. Teammates Mike Schymchyk (9th round as end by Los Angeles Rams in 1946) and Earl Wheeler (15th round as center by Washington Redskins in 1947), two of the Hogs' top four scorers who each tallied four points against Oklahoma A&M in the national semifinals, became NFL draft choices in ensuing years.
Numbers Game: Dolph Schayes became the Doogie Howser of Final Four players. He is believed to be the youngest Hall of Famer to appear in an NCAA championship game, joining NYU's varsity lineup in midseason as a 16-year-old freshman and helping the Violets reach the NCAA final against Oklahoma A&M two months before his 17th birthday. . . . Iowa refused an NCAA bid for the second straight season. . . . The Big Six (regular-season champion Iowa State) and Southern Conference (South Carolina before North Carolina won postseason tournament) did not have representatives in the NCAA tourney. The EIBL did not have a complete league schedule.
What Might Have Been: Kentucky (22-4) could have fared better in the playoffs if standout center Alex Groza wasn't inducted into the Army in mid-season.
Putting Things in Perspective: Arkansas' 79-76 victory over Oregon in the opening round shattered the previous two-team tourney scoring record by 36 points. Arkansas defeated champion-to-be Oklahoma A&M, 41-38, at Little Rock in mid-season.
NCAA Champion Defeats: At Temple (2-point margin), at NATTS Skyjackets (3), at Arkansas (3 in Little Rock), and at DePaul (2).
Scoring Leader: Bob Kurland, Oklahoma A&M (65 points, 21.7 ppg).
Highest Scoring Average: Dick Wilkins, Oregon (44 points, 22 ppg).
Most Outstanding Player: Bob Kurland, C, Jr., Oklahoma A&M (37 points in final two games).
Championship Team Results
First Round: Oklahoma A&M 62 (Kurland team-high 28 points), Utah 37 (Satterfield 14)
Regional Final: Oklahoma A&M 68 (Hankins 22), Arkansas 41 (Kok 12)
Championship Game: Oklahoma A&M 49 (Kurland 22), NYU 45 (Grenert 12)