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Roundtable Wednesday: favorite tournament moment



We’re doing roundtable Friday two days early this week in case OSU, gulp, bows out by Friday.

The question for this week is “what is your favorite Oklahoma State NCAA Tournament memory?”

First up, OKC Dave…

OKC Dave

March 24, 1995

My dad and I had an annual tradition of watching some spring training games in Arizona. He always had a series of meetings to deal with during the week, then I would fly out on the weekend to join him and watch some baseball.

This particular year, my flight out to Phoenix happened to be right in the middle of the East Region semifinal game against No. 1 seed Wake Forest. We were both in agony: me, because I would be in the air during the game. My dad, because he would be in an airport waiting to pick me up.

Before I flew out, he said he would do his best to avoid the game on TV and radio. He bought a VCR in Phoenix, hooked it up to the hotel TV, and recorded the game. We basically sprinted out of the aiport, sped to the hotel without turning on the radio, and played the game (which was already over by that point).

I’ll never forget jumping up and down in a Phoenix hotel room with my dad as we watched Terry Collins seal the game with a dunk with a few seconds left — a couple hours after the game had ended.


For me, the best memories are your firsts: First album, first car, first beer, first…let’s move on.

My favorite memory is the entire NCAA Tournament in 1995. I was in the 5th grade & had yet to discover how much I loved college basketball.

That tournament, as you know, was a magical ride for OSU. My young brain evaluated OSU’s team[1. Pretty similar in caliber to this year’s team, ironically.]. All I remember, though, is thinking “Big Country scores when he wants” and decided they couldn’t lose.

This was my first real memory of following the tournament. And man, did this seem easy! Big Country just kept beating the best & advancing[2. Dominated a future NBA veteran in every round: Malik Rose, Antonio McDyess, Tim Duncan (!!!) & Marcus Camby.].

Of course, we all know the O’Bannon’s[3. The O’Doyle’s to OSU’s “Billy Madison”? The movie was released a month before this tournament. Coincidence?] took home the spoils.

But the tourney lived on years & years later. I got a Final Four t-shirt that I wore until it ripped. On the front it read, “THE BEST” & had the Final 4 team logos. On the back it read “THE REST”.

OSU didn’t win it all. But they were The Best. My t-shirt said so. And that was enough for 5th grade me.

And it was the first time I fell in love with March Madness


Talk about a trip down memory lane [asks Mrs. Pistols where the dust buster is, cleans house for 20 minutes, thinks ‘it HAS to be the dust in here that’s flaring up my allergies.’]

My favorite memory/team/player/shooter/coach/uniforms/everything came in 2000. It’s a strange thing I remember too. It wasn’t that OSU blitzing Hofstra (Speedy Claxton!), Pepperdine (Mason almost broke his arm on an oop in this game), and Seton Hall in succession wasn’t a good memory…it’s just that I don’t really remember it very vividly.

That regional final though, I remember it all. You can watch it all too.

I remember Desmond and Joe going 6-22. I remember Gottlieb not scoring in his last college game. I remember Mike effing Miller.

But mostly I remember #34 walking off the court for the last time and falling into Eddie’s arms (I wrote about that moment extensively here). I remember it because I realized, maybe for the first time, that all of this ridiculousness actually meant something to me.

That it affected me and that I was totally bought into this thing other from myself.

We can talk all day about whether or not that’s a good thing but it was (and kind of still is — though to a much lesser degree) true.

That Florida game[4. I still hate Florida hoops btw.] was the end of a terrific era. I felt like that team, more than any I’ve ever watched come out of Stillwater, played basketball the way basketball was meant to be played. They weren’t uber-talented or crazy athletic but they understood how the machine worked and they had a hell of a conductor steering the show.

Like I said, it’s odd that a loss is the punctuation mark of all my Oklahoma State tournament memories but sometimes teams — and seasons and eras and people — loom larger than the games themselves.

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