Dressler Was Key to Victory for Tigers in 1980
March Madness means two things to Mark Dressler. His job at Columbia Insurance Group gets busy, and NCAA basketball reaches a fever pitch with its postseason tournament.
It's a time when little known schools and little known names have a chance to shine. It's a time that takes Dressler back 26 years, when he escaped obscurity and made his stamp on Missouri's basketball program.
"The team was just focused," Dressler says, "We wanted to put in a good showing. Notre Dame was a nationally touted team. I believe all five of their starters, in fact, their sixth person as well as their five starters went on and played in the NBA."
Facing a favored Notre Dame team in the second round, Missouri coach Norm Stewart looked for a mismatch, and he found one in Dressler.
Jon Sundvold, a teammate of Dressler, says, "The neat thing about it was that Norm Stewart said the day before that if we moved well enough on offense, he didn't think Notre Dame could guard us, particularly the guy that was gonna guard mark."
The Tigers exploited Notre Dame's weakness again, and again, and again. The teams traded shots throughout and the game went to overtime where Dressler scored six of his game high 32 points to secure a three-point win over Notre Dame. Unlike his famed teammates Sundvold and Stipanovich, dressler's number isn't retired at Mizzou, but he's left an indelible mark on its basketball program.
Dressler says, "Today, I'll get asked, are you the Mark Dressler that played in the Notre Dame game, and I'm like, 'yes', and from one end you kind of get tired of it, but you sit there and say 'you know that's pretty neat that somebody still remembers you from 20 years later or 30 years later."
Dressler hit 77% of his shots in the 1980 tournament, the fifth highest percentage in tournament history. It was an unforgettable performance, one worth celebrating even today. Dressler followed the Notre Dame win with a 21-point effort in a loss to LSU in the next round. His play earned him a spot on the Midwest all-regional team.