Monday night is the 2014 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship men’s basketball game. The University of Oregon owns a permanent place in NCCA championship history for their victory in the inaugural tournament in 1939. The Tall Firs, as they were known, defeated Ohio State in Evanston, Illinois, and took home the trophy (which had been broken during the championship game when 5’ 8” Oregon captain Bobby Anet tumbled into it while chasing a loose ball).
In his new book, March 1939: Before the Madness, former Oregonian sports columnist Terry Frei documents the Tall Firs’s winning season. The incipient NCAA’s tournament was a grand experiment that required teams to take multi-day train trips in order to play a single game. Frei places the story in its historical context by peppering the narrative with the events taking place in Europe that will eventually lead to WWII — events that the players, coaches, and student audience were watching closely on their way to the Championship.
Are you a fan of UO basketball? What do you know about the Tall Firs’s championship? What questions do you have for Frei?