1946 College Basketball Recap
With the war over, soldier-athletes came back to campuses around the country to find coach Hank Iba's Oklahoma A&M team at the top of the heap in college basketball and determined to stay there.
Big Bob Kurland, who had led A&M to an NCAA championship in '45, was back for his senior year and the Aggies, once known for their deliberate style of play, were now scoring points with a very unIba-like abandon. Paced by Kurland, who led the country in scoring (58 points in his final game against St. Louis), A&M went 12?0 in the Missouri Valley, 28?2 in the regular season and 3?0 in the NCAAs. They beat North Carolina in the final, 43?40, as Kurland, winning his second straight MVP award, outscored the Tar Heels' Bones McKinney, 23?5.
Southeastern Conference champion Kentucky won the NIT when freshman guard Ralph Beard sank a free throw in the final seconds of the championship game to beat Rhode Island, 46?45.
Like Kurland, George Mikan (a 5th year eligible) returned in '46. Mikan was an All-America again, but the 19?5 Demons didn't play in either tourney.