Merry Macs Stand At Threshold Of Hardwood Immortality

Merry Macs Stand At Threshold Of Hardwood Immortality

Bloomington Daily Telephone

March 30, 1940

Today a very hard-fighting Indiana University basketball team stands on the very threshold of hardwood greatness.

From the March 30, 1940 Bloomington Daily Telephone

After six months of strenuous tolling under the careful guidance of Branch (Big Mac) McCracken, the Merry Macs are ready to match every trick at their command against the clever antics of Phog Allen’s successful quintet in the game which will determine the National Collegiate Basketball Champion at 8 o’clock tonight in Kansas City’s mammoth Municipal Auditorium.Since last October “Big Mac” has dreamed of Indiana competing in the National Collegiate finals against the vaunted Southern California, pride of the West Coast. Tonight, Mac’s vision will become a reality, but it will be the lanky Kansans, upset winners over the men of Troy in the finals of the Western playoff last week, who will bar the road to glory for McCracken’s merry men.The Crimson mentor and eleven of his performers left Bloomington late Thursday afternoon and arrived at the scene of battle early Friday morning going through a light drill yesterday afternoon in the Auditorium. In addition to McCracken and Ralph Graham, freshman coach, the Hoosier contingent is composed of Captain Marvin Huffman, Bob Dro, Bill and Bob Menke, Herman Schaefer, Paul (Curly) Armstrong, Jay McCreary, Andy Zimmer, Chet Francis, Ralph Dorsey, Jim Gridley, Trainer Jesse Ferguson.McCracken will probably start the same five which clicked so well in the Eastern playoff last week-end. This includes Schaefer and McCreary at forwards, Bill Menke at center, and Dro and Huffman at the guard spots. One last minute change, however, may see Armstrong, the team’s high scorer, start at forward instead of McCreary. Zimmer, the 6 foot, 5 inch reserve center, is also slated to see plenty of action in his showing in practice the past week means anything.Allen is expected to start five lettermen who have collected more than 700 points this season bowling over 14 opponents. Chief point-pourer for the Jayhawks is Ralph Miller, whose 204 tallies during the regular season earned him a berth on the all-Big Six Team. The other regular forward, Don Ebling, is the only regular who doesn’t come up to the six-foot mark. Bob Allen, son of the coach is the team’s quarterback and banged in 141 points this season. Howard Engleman and Dick Harp are the starting guards. It was Engleman who won the Southern California game by taking a pass from Allen and dropping in a fielder from the corner in the last 16 seconds of play. Harp was high point man against the Trojans, accounting for 15 markers.Tonight’s battle will be an encounter between race horse speed and well coordinated team play, and if the happy Hoosiers are in stride they may wear the tall Jayhawkers down early in the game. Otherwise, the game should be fairly close.