March Madness has begun. During the course of two weeks, there will be lots of magical moments, plenty of winning shots and lots of tears when Cinderella’s ride comes to an end.
Teams that win in March Madness can do two things well: play good pressure defense and will utilize the fast break.
Every team in the tournament should say a special thank you to a team that invited pressure defense and the fast break. The team was the 1929 Golden Bobcats from Montana State. They won the national title that year with a 36-2 record.
The Bobcats of that jump-ball era were one of the first teams to ever play pressure man-to-man defense. All that led to a Cats’ team that was noted for employing a fast break offense that embarrassed most teams they played.
They piled up the points and the wins. During a two-year period in 1928 and 1929, Montana State won 72 of 76 games outscoring their opponents by over 1,000 points.
Montana State won by an average margin of 13 points a game. This was during the jump-ball era when points were hard to come by.
In 1929, the Golden Bobcats set a national record by scoring over 63 points a game.
It would be the all-time high point production by a team in the jump-ball era that ended in 1938. The 1929 record would last until 1946 when it finally was surpassed by Kentucky.
The Helms Foundation, the noted guru of basketball at the time, named the Bobcats the 1929 national champions after they beat an AAU team from Kansas City called The Painters two of three games for the national title. At the time, college teams avoided playing AAU squads who consisted of former college stars of the game.
During the 1930 season, Montana State in an east coast swing beat Marquette, Purdue, Penn State and Nebraska. They also lost A one-point heartbreaker to Pittsburgh, the national kings that year.
Montana State was led by coach Schubert Dyche. They were recruited by Athletic director Ott Romney. The team was led by the legendary Cat Thompson. Other key members of the team included John Brick Breeden who later had the new MSU Fieldhouse, built in 1958, named in his honor. Inside the building, is Worthington Arena named after Max Worthington another player on the 1929 national champions. There were also Frank and Orlando Ward Rounding out the team.
Thompson, Breeden and Frank Ward were all named All-Americans following the 1929 season.
The year of 1929 was a magical moment in time for all Montana basketball fans. A team to recall, remember and cherish. The 1929 Montana State Golden Bobcats, national college basketball champions.